From its controversial start, the
Metropolitan Police gradually became part of the London scene.
Its numbers grew as London grew and as the government realised
the usefulness of having a civilian force ready for all kinds
of duties. Other police forces too gradually acquired public
support once early reservations had been overcome. The Victorians
were convinced that most crime was committed by recidivists.
Just as the ordinary constables had to work out the best way
of operating, winning the respect of the public, so did Chief
Constables. They were aware that the public looked to them
to get crime under control, and sometimes overstepped the
law. The Acts of 1871 and 1879 put this supervision on a legal