September 29th, 1829
Scotland Yard was founded along with the Metropolitan Police by Sir Robert Peel. Legislation introduced by Peel reorganized the London police force and policemen were affectionately nicknamed 'Bobbies' and 'Peelers' after him.
Originally, there were only 1,000 constables employed. Although at first unpopular, they proved very successful in cutting crime in London and by 1835 all cities in the UK were establishing their own police forces.
A principled man (and overseer of the foundation of the modern Conservative party), one of Peel's more memorable principles was:
"Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence."
Nice to see our modern boys in blue keeping alive the spirit of that sentiment. (Especially you, Cressida Dick.) Although we quite like the one of Peel's that goes:
"The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it."
Image from Anthony Hardham's Flickr photostream