Upto the year 1829, that is only about a hundred and sixty-five years ago, there was no policeman in England. Before that, old watchmen (very often men too old to work and with lanterns at night, like our Indian chowkidars) went about the streets of the towns to see that all was safe. But they were of not much use, and very often spent most of the night sleeping. In 1829 the first London Police force was made.
The English police force is now one of the finest in the world. Even the common policemen are well-educated, clever men; and they are all very tall and strong. They are also noted for their politeness, their kindness to people in trouble, their good humour in managing large crowds, their courage, and their good work.
The duty of the police is to keep order and see that the law is obeyed, to find out crimes and arrest criminals, and to protect life and property. They also have other duties, such as looking after the traffic in city streets. The only weapon a policeman carries is his “truncheon”, a short, strong, heavy stick, but he does not often use it. When, however, policemen have to take up dangerous criminals, they are allowed to carry revolvers.
The British brought their police system to India, and there is a regular Indian police force. Now all the Policemen are Indians including Inspectors, Inspector-Generals, and Superintendents. The duties of the police here are the same as in England.
It may seem strange that people obey a single policeman. When he puts up his hand on the road, carriages and motorcars must stop. When he arrests a man, the man generally obeys, though he knows the policeman is unarmed. The reason for this is that the single policeman has all the force of the law behind him. People are not afraid of him as a man, but they are afraid of the great power of the law that he stands for. So a few unarmed policemen are able to keep order, as a rule, and keep us and our houses safe.