Historical Laws and Security

The Code of Hammurabi was established in 1750 B.C. by Babylonian King Hammurabi. It contained 282 clauses that regulated a variety of obligations, professions, and rights, including clauses pertaining to commerce, slavery, theft, and debts. The punishment for violating any of the clauses, were at the very least, barbaric when compared to the punishment given today for the same crime.

Draco’s Law was written in 621 B.C and is named after the Greek citizen who wrote the code of law for Athens. The laws were the first laws written for Greece (Clifford, 2004). It is important to recognize these laws because they were the first ones to introduce the notion that the state, not private citizens should be responsible for punishing a person accused of committing a crime. The Law of the Twelve Tables was written in Rome in 450 B.C.

The laws were meant to govern Romans. The laws were considered as the foundation of modern public and private law. The laws helped to organize how crimes would be prosecuted and began a system in which the victim could seek compensation from the offender. These laws were written to protect the lower classes from an aggressive government; particularly when it came to the enforcement of debts (Clifford, 2004). It was at this point that Roman law was written so the judges could not interpret them anyway they chose. Emperor of Byzantium, Justinian (A.D. 529) wrote a series of books called Corpus Juris Civilis that were the codification of Roman law and are a good example of early codified law (Clifford, 204). Legal maxims derived from these books are still used in the modern legal system.

The code was the foundation of civil law and continues to be used today. The Magna Carta was created in 1215 during the reign of King John of England and is the basis for “due process” as we know it. The Magna Carta had 61 clauses but of those 61 the 39th was the most important. It declared that no person would be captured or imprisoned except by lawful judge or by law of the land (Clifford, 2004).

The Magna Carta became the basis for English Citizens rights and a foundation for the U.S. justice system. Seventy years would pass before the next major contribution to the legal system would come. The Statute of Westminster (1285) was developed in England under King Edward. It called for three measures that focused on the security of citizens: (1) the watch and ward, (2) the hue and cry, and (3) the assize of arms.

The requirement was that the night watchmen maintain order and prevent crimes, the citizens to blow a whistle or yell to attract the attention of the police when a felony had been committed, and that all males between the ages of 15 and 60 keep a weapon in their home (Clifford, 2004). All of these laws have had an impact on both private and public security forces. The most important being the Magna Carta. If not for this charter, the legal system in the United States would be completely different than the one we know. What all of these laws have in common is the safety and protection of the public.

Public police departments, although successful with regard to social work and providing a certain degree of protection, cannot are not able to protect citizens at all times and thus private security is a needed service. Police departments are cutting the number of officers available to protect the public due to financial issues and the public has been left to protect itself with private security companies. Reference

Clifford, M. (2004). Identifying and exploring security essentials. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.