Golden Gate University Law Review


The first two sections of this article deal with the historical development of controls over public police in England and the United States. It is the thesis of the first section that a centralized police system was adopted in England with considerable reluctance, despite an obvious need for the replacement of the existing methods for dealing with crime and disorder. This reluctance was overcome only by an agreement to impose strict controls and limitations on police power. Our discussion of public police in the United States concludes that Americans, who were perhaps even more hostile than the English to the establishment of police forces, also turned to police when traditional institutions proved inadequate to deal with urban unrest in the mid-nineteenth century. Unlike the centralized English police forces, American police forces were kept under local jurisdiction. A consequence of such fragmentation has been the institution of a wide variety of controls which have been tried sporadically in the United States during the past hundred years. However, the recognition of the need for and the imposition of controls has paralleled the growth in the size and importance of public police forces in the United States. The last sections of this article examine the controls private police in the United States are subjected to, and show that there has been, in fact, very little control exercised.

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