were English statutes
, in the era before modern policing
, allowing for night watchmen
those found on the city streets and hold them until morning. As an example, the Statute of Winchester, adopted in 1285 and readopted or amended several times until its repeal in 1827, stated that "if any stranger do pass by them, he shall be arrested until morning." Such power was interpreted to extend not only to the watchmen themselves, but also to assistants, and allowed the arrest and detention of all persons.