Associations for the Prosecution of Felons

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In the 18th and early 19th centuries, before the creation of a national police force, rural communities formed mutual subscription societies to prosecute criminals. These evolved out of resolutions passed at parish vestry meetings to prosecute felons out of the public purse. Printed handbills declaring the intentions of such bodies and offering rewards for information leading to an arrest are sometimes found in local record offices, and notices of the activities of such associations are reported in local newspapers. See Jim Sutton, ‘Protecting Privilege and Property: Associations for the Prosecutions of Felons’, Local Historian, 34/2 (2004).

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