Why Are British Policemen Called 'Bobbies'?


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The first British police service was the Metropolitan Police Force of London which was introduced by Sir Robert Peel, the Home Secretary at the time in the Conservative government of Lord Liverpool, in 1829. It had been introduced in response to a growing concern about rampant criminality in London. Only two years before, Peel had been forced to use the army to quell riots in the streets that resulted from a severe economic downturn which had left many people in desperate straits. Following its introduction, the new police force was judged to be a success and the other parts of Britain began to set up their own police forces too before long.

The nicknames given to British police derive from the name of Robert Peel. 'Bobby' is the best known of these. For a long time, police were also described as 'Peelers' and, even today, in some parts of Britain, this slang term is still used.

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