Detection: The Runners at Work, 1765–1792

J. M. Beattie

in The First English Detectives

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199695164
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738746 | DOI:
Detection: The Runners at Work, 1765–1792

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter begins with an analysis of the financial support provided by the government for the policing work of the runners. The accounts of the office show the runners earning enough to provide the foundation of an income that was supplemented by other sources, including private clients, an income that enabled many of them to enjoy long careers at Bow Street. Stability of tenure and long experience improved their detective skills, the subject of the second part of the chapter, which examines the way they went about their business, their collection of criminal information and use of informers. Finally, the chapter examines the dangers of the job, and the courage they not infrequently showed in making arrests and bringing accused offenders to Bow Street to be examined.

Keywords: Bow Street; accounts; incomes; detection; informers; courage; apprehension

Chapter.  18359 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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