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St John’s watch book collection Photo by: ireland.anglican.org

Ireland’s earliest police records from 1724 go online

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St John’s watch book collection Photo by: ireland.anglican.org

Irish police records dating back from 1724 have been digitized and are now available online. The records are from the parish of St. John’s in Dublin and have been made available by the Church of Ireland's Representative Church Body (RCB) Library.

The records are comprised of two account books dating from 1724-1785 and seven registers dating from 1765 to 1780. They offer details of crimes committed in the area and the sentences handed down, as well as the names of constables and watchmen.

Archivist Dr Susan Hood said the 18th century records offer an insight into security measures across Ireland, at a time when policing happened at parish level prior to the introduction of the Dublin Police Act, 1786.

"As the pages of each of these volumes are turned in the digital presentation, local society in 18th century Dublin and the activities of parish watch system, come to life," she said.

"They chronicle the activities of the parish watch of this particular inner city parish - one of 21 parishes into which the city of Dublin was divided."

"It includes the earliest surviving register of baptisms, marriages and burials, dating from 1619, and an even older vestry minute book, commencing in 1595," she added.

A spokesman from the Irish police said: "An Garda Siochana are delighted to have collaborated in the online publishing of these rare documents which trace the origins of modern policing in Ireland."

Click here to view the records.

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