In common law, a hue and cry (Latin, hutesium et clamor, "a horn and shouting") was a process by which bystanders were summoned to assist in the apprehension of a criminal who had been witnessed in the act of committing a crime.
By the statute of Winchester, 13 Edw. I cc. 1 and 4, (1285) it was provided that anyone, either a constable or a private citizen, who witnessed a crime shall make hue and cry, and that the hue and cry must be kept up against the fleeing criminal from town to town and from county to county, until the felon is apprehended and delivered to the sheriff. All able-bodied men, upon hearing the shouts, were obliged to assist in the pursuit of the criminal, which makes it comparable to the posse comitatus. It was moreover provided that a hundred that failed to give pursuit on the hue and cry would become liable in case of any theft or robbery. Those who raised a hue and cry falsely were themselves guilty of a crime.