Thus, the chief constable
of Chester states: -- "We had five stout fellows came from Manchester,
notorious thieves ; there was no doubt that they came for the purpose of plundering.
They were sent for seven days, and their hair was cropped-they were afterwards
apprehended ten or twelve miles distant, and it was known that they had been in
our gaol. I recollect Booth the constable taking them ; they had been in our
gaol one day, and he had got them taking to Knutsford the next.
"What legal right have you to apprehend them and crop their hair?-The
Mayor, who is a man of few words, says he crops them for cleanliness.
"Do you think that system is effectual with the vagrants you get from the
various districts?-Yes.
"Then the town itself is very little infested?-Very little indeed-we do not
in fact allow them to beg-I do no mean to say we have no beggars.
"Before the Police was established, this town was infested, both with vagrants
and migratory depredators from other towns, was it not?-Yes it was, and others
used to go to a distance, and commit robberies, and come here to spend their
money and their time. At Chester Races we have had 800 known thieves.
"How have you dealt with them?-They dare not come near us now-I adopted the plan of apprehending them before the races, and keeping them in custody till
the races were over.
"What law had you for that?-I took that upon myself.