He built an estate in the West End (now part of Kelvingrove Park) and on 22 July 1775, married his cousin Janet, the daughter of James Colquhoun, the Provost of Dumbarton. Between 1782 and 1784, Patrick Colquhoun himself served as the Lord Provost of Glasgow. He also founded the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturing during that time, and made himself the first chairman. He was awarded an honorary LL.D. by the University of Glasgow in 1797.
Colquhoun was an avid statistician, and collected economic data. He used this information to lobby the government on behalf of the country’s industries, particularly cotton and muslin. His findings formed the basis of numerous pamphlets and treatise that he wrote promoting legal reform and business generally. On one occasion, he traveled to Manchester and compiled statistics on the cotton trade. He presented his findings to Prime Minister William Pitt in 1789, but they were not acted upon because of the war with France. These activities brought Colquhoun increasingly into contact with the political sphere and to the attention of government and in 1785 he moved to London to seek a government position, and was appointed Magistrate in the East End.
Nevertheless, Colquhoun reported to his backers that his force was a success after its first year, and his men had “established their worth by saving £122,000 worth of cargo and by the rescuing of several lives.” Word of this success spread quickly, and the government passed the Marine Police Bill on 28 July 1800, transforming it from a private to public police agency. Colquhoun published a book on the experiment, The Commerce and Policing of the River Thames. It found receptive audiences far outside London, and inspired similar forces in other countries, notably, New York, Dublin, and Sydney.
The idea of a police, as it existed in France, was considered an affront to the liberal English, particularly during this period of upheaval. For the government then, it was not only a matter of saving money, but that there was significant opposition and little support from political constituencies. In building the case for the police in the face of England's firm anti-police sentiment, Colquhoun framed the political rationale on economic indicators to show that a police dedicated to crime prevention was “perfectly congenial to the principle of the British constitution.” Moreover, he went so far as to praise the French system, which had reached “the greatest degree of perfection” in his estimation.
As impressive as Colquhoun’s salesmanship of the public police idea was, his main contribution is recognized as the introduction of crime prevention, or preventive policing, as a fundamental principle to the English police system. His police were to be a deterrent to crime by their permanent presence on the Thames. He came to this conclusion through viewing policing as a science, and in utilitarian fashion, attempted to press that science into the service of the national political economy. He published two dozen treatises on a variety of social problems, but the most significant is his 1797 A Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis.
The Marine Police Force continues to operate at the same Wapping High Street address. In 1839 it merged with the Metropolitan Police Force to become Thames Division; and is now the Marine Support Unit of the Metropolitan Police Service.
To Romania, withCdetermination: his dream was to go to Antarctica. Instead he has spent his life challenging totalitarianism, and its aftermath. Patrick Colquhoun talks to Mary Lean.(Profile)(Brief biography)
Dec 01, 2006; YEARS AGO, when he was living in Oxford, Patrick Colquhoun rode his bike at full speed into the back of a truck. He went on down...