The British police force was founded in the 19th Century for the purpose of crowd control at public executions and Queen-worshipping events. Dressed in tweed and sporting a remarkably tall top hat, a policeman was a dapper addition to every street corner. The hat was the policeman’s secret weapon, containing a periscope, a stick, a brandy flask, a pencil case, a whistle (for umpiring urchin-races) and a thinking pipe (for partaking of tobacco while puzzling over the latest daring escapade by a dashing gentleman thief).In the early days, policemen were known as ‘bobbies’ because the standard police haircut was an attractive bob. Their stylish look led to them being called pigs, which was an acronym for People in Glamorous Suits. They were also known as ‘coppers’ because they could be rented at a reasonable rate of 1d for 20 minutes or 2d for an hour. This led to another nickname, ‘peelers’, since policemen were often hired by busy housewives to help with food preparation.
The police have changed substantially since the early days. Modern police constables carry gamma rays and can interrogate suspects through telepathy. They are trained in a wide range of skills from victim support (‘They stole your legs! Let me get you a chair’) to kettling, which is making tea for protestors.