Victorian London - Police and Policing - Perception of - Failure

Open any newspaper at hazard, and you will find in it nothing but accounts of nocturnal outrages. Here it is a woman who is robbed in Oxford Street, by the glare of lamps which flood with light the entrance ot a much-frequented music-nail; there it is the imprudent possessor of a watch, the chain of which he allowed to be seen, who was three-parts strangled in passing from Bond Street into Piccadilly.. You will ask me what the authorities are doing all this time, and what has become of that London police which was said to be the best organized in the world. It would seem that nobody knows... Sir Richard Mayne has increased the number of policemen; but the misfortune is, that they are never to be found where their presence is desired. It is certainly very good-natured, on the part of the authorities, to post up, Notices to the Public, advising every one to provide for his own safety; but you will admit that the advice is not very encouraging. It has, in any case, the fault of proving that the taxes are very heavy in proportion to the good that is derived from them. If every one is to be his own policeman, why should any one contribute to pay the police.

Louis Blanc, Letters on England 1862