- Established 1740 by Sir Thomas de Veil: the most active Justice in London, breaking up gangs of robbers, implementing the 1736 Gin Act, and prosecuting frauds on the revenue
- Ensured that Londoners could be certain of finding a magistrate at fixed hours with one building near...yup! Bow Street, near Covent Garden.
- 1750 his successor, Henry Fielding (yes, the novelist), formed the Bow Street Runners.
- Initially nicknamed Robin Redbreasts (they wore scarlet waistcoats) the original eight Bow Street Runners were London's first constables.
- They served writs, did detective work and arrested offenders.
- The Bow Street Runners traveled over England in search of criminals and gained a reputation for honesty and efficiency.
Old Bailey Online