Course: Introduction / Policing
The Frankpledge System was a system of policing used in England during the Early Middle Ages whereby communities were divided into small groups (tithings) that were collectively responsible for the conduct of all members.
The Frankpledge System was an early system of policing used in England during the Middle Ages. This system was introduced by King Alfred in the late ninth century as a way to maintain law and order in his kingdom. The system was based on the idea that every man in the kingdom was responsible for the behavior of his neighbors and that by working together, they could ensure that their communities were safe and secure.
Under the Frankpledge System, communities were divided into small groups called tithings, each of which consisted of around ten families. Each member of the tithing was responsible for the behavior of the others, and they were required to present any wrongdoers to the local court for punishment. If a member of the tithing failed to present a wrongdoer, he could be held responsible for the offense himself.
In addition to the tithings, the Frankpledge System also included the office of the constable. The constable was appointed by the local lord or other authorities to oversee the tithings and to ensure that they were carrying out their responsibilities. The constable had the power to arrest wrongdoers and to bring them before the local court for trial.
The Frankpledge System was an effective way of maintaining law and order in medieval England, but it had its limitations. The system was only effective in small, rural communities where everyone knew each other. In larger towns and cities, it was much more difficult to maintain control, and crime rates were often much higher.
Over time, the Frankpledge System was gradually replaced by other forms of policing. The introduction of professional law enforcement agencies, such as the Metropolitan Police in London in 1829, marked the beginning of a new era in policing. These agencies were much more effective at dealing with crime in large urban areas, and they paved the way for the modern police forces that we know today.
Despite the fact that the Frankpledge System is no longer in use, it remains an important part of the history of policing in England. The principles of community responsibility and collective action that underpinned the system continue to influence modern policing practices, particularly in the area of community policing.
The Frankpledge System was a system of policing used in medieval England that was based on the idea of community responsibility and collective action. The system was effective in small, rural communities, but it had its limitations in larger towns and cities. The Frankpledge System paved the way for modern policing practices, and its principles continue to influence policing today.
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Last Modified: 07/17/2021