Police work before the 20th century was not as effective as it could have been. In the early modern period, from 1485 to 1750, there was no money for improvements so the old ways of working had to continue. In the industrial period, from 1750 to 1900, there was a small amount funding for the work of the Fieldings but this was only temporary. However, in the modern age, from 1900 to present day, everything changed a great deal.
The work of the police has changed in every way it could. There is now constant funding for the police force, from taxes, which helps more than anything because if there is no money nothing can be paid for, bought or made leaving all the changes made, impossible. In addition, police acts were bought in to help the police force.
The 2 major ideas in this period were the bringing in of community policing and having different departments for different crime areas. The idea of community policing was a very successful one. They made people cooperate and reassure the public that they are living in a fairly safe area. However, there was one major incident which made people doubt community police, the case of Steven Lawrence.
The Steven Lawrence case was a very important one. A black teenage boy was beaten up and killed by a mob of white males. For one reason, his race. The police force at this time was also racist, as many police officers did not do what they could to work out what had happened to Steven. They would not go and question anyone because they claimed that ‘ it was too late’. Many people thought that this was stupid as if it was a white person killed by a mob of black males they would not think twice about questioning people. The community police received a lot of complaints about this and changes have been made in the police force to stop this happening again there are now lots of black police officers on the force where as before there were hardly any.
The other major idea was having different departments for different crime areas. This was another very successful change. There are now specialists for all sorts of crime including traffic police drugs department and C.I.D. Where as before there were a group of police officers that dealt with every crime that was present at that moment in time. This lets the community police get on with their job.
Another major change was technology. The uniform changed from long black coats, boots, trousers, tall black top hats and gas lamps from the industrial period. To shirts, jackets, bulletproof vests and helmets that are no longer made from very heavy metal used in modern day circumstances. In addition, weapons changed from batons that broke on contact to easy held guns. Transport revolutionized as before horse drawn carriages were used now helicopters, cars, vans and boats are the common transport.
Communication transformed as undercover cops became more common needing smaller microphones, headphones and wires as well as tracking devices.
The last major change was the type of person allowed to become a police officer. Before the 20th century, only white males were allowed to become police officers. Where as now males, females, white or black people are allowed to become police officers. Anyone can join the police force as long as they have the correct qualifications needed and as long as they have a clean criminal record.
Therefore, as you can see the police work did change dramatically in the 20th century. Each and every one of these changes has made the police force a better one and no one can disagree that it has changed for the better.