1844 Evidence of Thomas John Hungerford, Land Agent, Skibbereen, of Pre RIC Policing, A Large Sum Paid to Baronial Constables Levied as a Tax, and Black Jack Fitzgibbon (Lord Clare 1749-1802) Success in Ridding Dublin of Them and Creating One of the World’s First Metropolitan Police Forces.
Pre RIC Policing was carried out by Parish Constables almost exclusively Protestant. Often broken down NCOs or Half Pay officers from the British Army. They were noted for laziness and incompetence.
The cess a local tax amounting perhaps to 12% of rent was collected by Baronial Constables (not policemen) and their retinue of proctors and drivers.
In Dublin in the 1770s the much reviled Black Jack Fitzgibbon, a member of the Junta decided to eliminate them. He encountered enormous opposition, as the ratepayers did not want to pay for a proper police service and other vested interest were involved. He persevered and within a year of the establishment of a proper metropolitan police force there was a dramatic drop in crime in Dublin.
Incidental evidence to a Parliamentary Commission on Land taken at Skibbereen, 1844: