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hue and cry

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The practice in medieval England whereby a person could call out loudly for help in pursuing a suspected criminal. All who heard the call were obliged by law to join in the chase; failure to do so would incur a heavy fine and any misuse of the hue and cry was also punishable. The system was regularized by Edward I in the Statute of Winchester (1285), which rationalized the policing of communities. The obligation on the public to assist the police in the arrest of a suspect has survived in principle to the present day.

Subjects: History

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