North Yorkshire Police came into being back in 1974, although the North Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary dates back to 1856.
The development of policing in England from 1750 can be roughly divided into three phases.
Initially, between about 1750 and 1850, what has become known as the 'Old' Police was in operation. This was a system of amateur/semi-professional parish constables and night watchmen.
While reputedly ineffective, this system actually worked remarkably well in some areas. Then, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, following the setting up of the Metropolitan Police in 1829, a more consistently professional system - the so-called 'New' Police - was developed. It took almost thirty years of experimentation to consolidate this new style of policing, and there have been numerous debates about its purpose among historians. Some argue that it was a rational response to rising crime in rapidly-growing cities, while others claim that it was in fact a tool via which the middle classes ensured the sanctity of their newly-earned property, and point to its 'social control' function.
By 1870, however, the new system was firmly established, leading to what has popularly been conceived of as a 'Golden Age' of policing, between about 1890 and 1950. Yet police forces went through many further changes during this period, and struggles with the Home Office over centralisation, often violent clashes with demonstrators and pickets and disputes over pay and were at least as typical as the amiable approach of TV's 'Dixon of Dock Green'.
The North Riding Constabulary was established on 14 October 1856, and consisted of a Chief Constable and 50 men of all ranks.
North Yorkshire Police came into being in 1974, made up of parts of the York and North East Yorkshire Police with parts of the West Riding Constabulary.