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Early eighteenth century England saw the criminal element bargaining with magistrates and lawyers to be released or receive lenient sentences. Neither party could be trusted and the situation grew worse. Enter famed author Henry Fielding, who had a strong social conscience and served as a magistrate. In addition to this treatise, he began a register of convicted criminals, and recruited six full-time, paid constables - known colloquially as "The Bow Street Runners" and hailed as the forerunners of the modern police force. - Summary by Lynne Thompson