Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, August 4, 2016



Yesterday, London's Metropolitan Police unveiled new uniforms for their beloved Bobbies. Boy, do they look different! Instead of the standard wool coats, Bobbies are now wearing grey Kevlar body armor. Instead of the black billy clubs, they are now carrying Sig Sauer MCX machine guns and Glock 9mm sidearms. Heck, some don't even walk anymore...they drive customized black BMW motorcycles. Don't panic: For the time being, only a fraction of patrolmen will don the new uniforms. Traditional Bobbies are still present.

With all the issues the US is facing regarding Police Presence, this item provides a great opportunity to review the history of the world's first cop squad. It all began in 1829. At the time, London had no formal law enforcement. Rather, the city had a mix of night-watchmen, private constables and Royal Army officers...all operating for their own motives. It did not work. As the city grew and grew into an industrious powerhouse, things became more and more dangerous in the streets.

Then came a new British Home Minister, Robert Peel. His vision was to create a completely new police force. Although under the control of the government, it would also be accountable to the people. From a building on a small alley named Scotland Yard, he sent his new regimens out into the streets. Armed with only a whistle and a baton, they tirelessly walked regular routes. They stopped to meet and greet people and eventually gained the trust of everyday citizens. In a nod to their creator, they were called "Peelers." This moniker didn't stick, and so they used his first name and were termed 'Bobbies."

As today, Londoners in 1829 complained about being policed. They said their personal liberties were being restricted by the Bobbies. In response, Peel quipped: "I want to teach people that LIBERTY does not consist in having your house robbed by organized gangs of thieves." At the time, massive factories demanded more and more employees. Workers streamed into London, creating a new, morally-challenged society. Peel's reply: "We shall not leave our principal streets in the nightly possession of drunken women and vagabonds."

Currently, London is again under siege from a new menace: Terrorism. Neighboring France and Belgium have been hit hard by random attacks recently, so England must be prepared. Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe called it the "reality of having to deal with armed and deadly attackers everyday." He feels it is a question of "when, not if." While some Londoners admit to feeling "more nervous than secure," the vast majority understand this is just all part of our new era. Welcome to what the DAILY MAIL calls the "Age of Terror."


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