Just how far removed from this have we become?
Britain used to take pride in the fact that our police officers were servants of the public. These days they have begun to look and behave increasingly like a paramilitary force, with flak jackets and headcams.
It's not just the look of our Police that has changed beyond recognition. Bit by bit the role and purpose of our police has been changing, too.
Every time an atrocity happens the pressure is on to find out who was to 'blame' (apart , that is from the guilty party themselves ); so that for instance the Police took nearly as much criticism for the Soham murders as the murderer himself.
Instead of tackling the root cause - liberal sentencing regimes that mean violent offenders who would once have gone to jail for ever are walking the streets- we have blamed the Police.
This has led to a much greater use of intelligence and observation; and a massive increase in the level and detail of information held by Police and other authorities and the increasing tendency to use 'profiling' techniques to identify people with the potential to commit offences such as sex crimes and violence, as well as terrorism.
So bit by bit we have moved from a situation where the Police have a duty to serve, assume we are innocent unless proven guilty, and act as a deterrent to crime by their presence on the street and more and more to a situation where the Police are only there when a problem has already occurred, have a duty to prevent crime using all available means, and will frequently assume we are guilty unless we can prove otherwise.
A whole range of crimes are now covered by legislation that has shifted the onus of proof from prosecutor to defendant - from money laundering to drink-driving the assumption has become that if you become a suspect, you are guilty unless you can prove your innocence.
And now the Home Secretary wants to derogate from Human Rights legislation and re-introduce stop-and-search laws that would be seen as unacceptable in several totalitarian countries including Iran and China.
For those of us just old enough to remember our police as a reassuring, friendly presence this is an unacceptable development. I want to live in a free country where I can walk the streets without fear of being mugged - but not in fear of being harassed by Police demanding to know my business either.
The courtroom is the place where justice should be done; not the streets.