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  • Writer's picturecaitlyncallery9

Finding justice wasn't always easy




In “The Smuggler’s Daughter,” Adam and Catherine set out to find the gang of treasonous smugglers who are helping Napoleon raise a new army to avenge Waterloo. He believes the head of the gang is Catherine’s father, and she joins the investigation to try to prove him wrong.

In Regency times, people often did their own investigating in this manner, because there was nobody else to do it for them. Although each parish was obliged to provide two constables, these people were not paid for the job, which they did in their spare time. They were drawn from the local population and served in the post for one year. They were often reluctant to do the work, even paying others to take their shifts for them. The constables might also know the perpetrator and, either through fear or friendship, be unwilling to find evidence to incriminate him or her. They weren’t averse to bribes, either, and a perk of the job was the profit it could bring.


Most places also had night watchmen, or Charleys. Again, they were unpaid. They did detect crimes and arrest criminals, as well as locking up rowdy drunks, or escorting home less troublesome ones. They also had the duty of crying the time through the streets. However, the Charleys were usually elderly, decrepit men and wholly ineffective.

 

From 1751, there were the Bow Street Runners, also known as Robin Redbreasts because they wore red waistcoats. These men were armed, but they were really little more than bounty hunters, rather than detectives.


It wasn’t until 1828 that there was a paid police force in England, and for the first few years of its existence, police officers were forbidden, by law, from actually investigating crimes. They could arrest perpetrators caught in the act, or act on accusations made by victims and their families, but could not collect clues or try to solve a crime where the criminal was not immediately obvious.


Adam and Catherine face no such restrictions, and they are determined to see justice done. You can follow their investigations, and read their story, here.


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