Hereward Senior is a professor of history at McGill University and the author of several studies of transatlantic subjects, including the United Empire Loyalists, Orangeism, and Fenianism. His most recent book is The Last Invasion of Canada: The Fenian Raids, 1866-1870.
The insular character of Britain delayed the creation of professional police until the 19th century. This volume traces the course of British amateur policing until that time, at which point it deals with the foundation of the London Metropolitan Police and efforts to create similar professional urban institutions in New York and Montreal.
Due attention is also given to the fact that very different conditions in rural Ireland necessitated the creation of a para-military type of force, which in turn served as the model for police in the countryside throughout the Empire.
The nature of these derivative organizations and the way they were able to serve the needs of such varied societies as India, Australia, South Africa and Canada are examined. The several alternatives to Irish-style police which were attempted in the United States - Texas Rangers, private detective agencies, sheriffs, marshalls, and vigilante committees - are also considered. The point of this work is to present a comparative study of law enforcement agencies with a Common Law tradition working in otherwise considerably different countries.