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Old 7th October 2019, 10:11 AM   #41
theprestige
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I think that in feudal and proto-feudal societies, there's going to be some blurring of the lines. The family responsible for holding a feudal domain as tenants is also responsible for maintaining law and order on behalf of their liege. So policing duties would probably have been family duties, rather than the duties of an independent professional constabulary.
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Old 7th October 2019, 10:19 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Icelandic sagas describe a society without police officers. There were the equivalent of courts and judges, but actually determining and detaining the guilty party, and carrying out the sentence, was mostly up to the victim's relatives and allies.

They also do a pretty fair job of describing the consequences of this system: escalating feuds spreading through generations and sometimes wiping out extended families.
Iceland now barely has a police force. Our hotel in Reykjavik was next to the main police office and we saw police officers only twice. It is also the only time I have stayed in a capital city and there was never the sound of sirens.
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Old 7th October 2019, 10:37 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Iceland now barely has a police force. Our hotel in Reykjavik was next to the main police office and we saw police officers only twice. It is also the only time I have stayed in a capital city and there was never the sound of sirens.
Of course as a "city" with only 120K people in a nation with 300k where everyone is related(see apps in iceland to help prevent you from dating your cousin) might not be typical.
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Old 7th October 2019, 10:37 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Iceland now barely has a police force. Our hotel in Reykjavik was next to the main police office and we saw police officers only twice. It is also the only time I have stayed in a capital city and there was never the sound of sirens.

Lucky for them.

There's a police substation about a half mile east on the street where I live, and a firehouse about a mile and a half west. The street itself is the only connector between two main four lane roads for about a three mile stretch. Also the shortest.

Sirens are a regular occurrence. Several times a day is common.

I sometimes amuse myself by trying to guess which direction the sirens are going when I'm on the opposite side of the house from the road. It's surprisingly difficult.

Sometimes they are actually going both ways.



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Last edited by quadraginta; 7th October 2019 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 7th October 2019, 11:58 AM   #45
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Did Native American societies have anything resembling today's police forces before the colonies?

How about other aboriginal societies?
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Old 7th October 2019, 12:02 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by DragonLady View Post
Did Native American societies have anything resembling today's police forces before the colonies?

How about other aboriginal societies?
The note was that formal police forces tend to be about cities and not smaller communities where everyone knows everyone else. So I am not sure that the cities that would fit such descriptions were well documented in the historic records we have available.
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Old 7th October 2019, 12:04 PM   #47
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Plenty of Scottish islands have no police presence and if you have to describe a society without police then it needs to be peaceful and honest in the first place, so it barely needs police.
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Old 7th October 2019, 12:04 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by DragonLady View Post
Did Native American societies have anything resembling today's police forces before the colonies?
I would expect that the large urban societies did but the more tribal and less urban societies did not.
Quote:
How about other aboriginal societies?
Australian I assume, I'd guess not much as I'm pretty sure they were mostly nomadic or semi nomadic hunter gathers.
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Old 10th October 2019, 03:54 PM   #49
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From the little exposure I've had to one Australian indigenous culture.

There are tribal counsels which can dish out punishments.
(Everyone has heard about the spear-in-the-leg for example)

Uncles are responsible for disciplining children (not the parents).

Generally, everyone is supposed to do what the elders say.

But, I haven't seen anything like police.

Unless you consider community police officers who are an extension of the regular police. (i.e. part of the aboriginal community, but not created by the community)
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Old 10th October 2019, 04:26 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
From the little exposure I've had to one Australian indigenous culture.



There are tribal counsels which can dish out punishments.

(Everyone has heard about the spear-in-the-leg for example)



Uncles are responsible for disciplining children (not the parents).



Generally, everyone is supposed to do what the elders say.



But, I haven't seen anything like police.



Unless you consider community police officers who are an extension of the regular police. (i.e. part of the aboriginal community, but not created by the community)
Well that's pretty cool.

You say you haven't seen seen anything like police. Have you seen anything like the kind of situation where you'd normally expect to see police? If so, how did people handle it, without police?
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Old Yesterday, 02:45 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Beyond village-sized societies, the need for some sort of law enforcement becomes apparent rapidly.
In the lack of organized law enforcement, vigilantism tends to become the norm. The problem with that is that generally “vigilance committees” tend to abrogate human rights.

The larger a society gets, the more “anonymity” the people experience, and the more opportunity for crime of various sorts. In small village societies where everyone knows everyone... Hard to get away with crime.
The town I live in isn't 'tiny' (about 16,000 people), but it is in a small geographic area, so everyone knows everyone is a truism here. We have small police force that is by and large unarmed. If someone commits a crime, it ain't the police they need to worry about, not by a long shot. There is an actual system of vigilantism led by the village religious elders. Because of this, my town is unbelievably safe despite the country as a whole being one of the most dangerous on the planet-though that statistic is heavily skewed by the fact that most of the populace, and therefore crime, lives in and around Guatemala City.

Last edited by chrispy; Yesterday at 03:42 PM. Reason: typo
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Old Yesterday, 04:26 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Well that's pretty cool.

You say you haven't seen seen anything like police. Have you seen anything like the kind of situation where you'd normally expect to see police? If so, how did people handle it, without police?
Not seen as such.

Bear in mind, in these modern times, we have Community Police Officers who are members of the South Australia Police, and also members of the local indigenous community (or one of the local communities at least*).

Prior to Western influence I believe it went like this.

1. Someone does bad thing (or things).
2. Community members complain to the elders.
3. The elders decide on a punishment.
4. The community inflicts the punishment.

Punishments could range from tribal members refusing to speak with the offender, banishment from the community altogether, to various physical punishments up to and including, death.

* Note that this gets very complicated, very quickly. Where I worked in the desert, there were four distinct cultures among the local indigenous groups, and a lot of different languages below that.
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Old Yesterday, 04:30 PM   #53
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Here's a link re: Community Constables.

So in this case, they are the link between cultures that don't have "Police" and a culture that does.
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Old Yesterday, 07:12 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Plenty of Scottish islands have no police presence and if you have to describe a society without police then it needs to be peaceful and honest in the first place, so it barely needs police.
Yes, I saw a documentary about that. They had to send some policeman from the mainland to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl, and where the policeman got there he found some decidedly filthy goings on. Britt Eckland lived there and so did Christopher Lee!
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Old Yesterday, 07:29 PM   #55
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I'd argue that a society below Dunbar's Number where everybody basically knows everybody isn't a, semantics aside, "society" in the way the term is being used.

Conflict is a very different thing when ever interaction is with someone you know personally. Perhaps societies of that nature can exist with interpersonal mediation and no declared enforcer of the rules, but it's so far away from any situation anyone in this discussion is in to be beyond academic.
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Old Yesterday, 07:54 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Yes, I saw a documentary about that. They had to send some policeman from the mainland to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl, and where the policeman got there he found some decidedly filthy goings on. Britt Eckland lived there and so did Christopher Lee!
Talk about a strawman!
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Old Yesterday, 09:16 PM   #57
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Without police, society would either be lawless, or exceedingly lawful. Of course you might not like the exceedingly lawful society.
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Old Yesterday, 10:04 PM   #58
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You might not call them police, but there will always be some people with more power and authority than others. It will happen organically if it isn't done intentionally.
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