During his term as chief secretary of Ireland (1812-18) Robert (later Sir Robert) Peel was responsible for a major modernisation of the police system in Ireland. Peel masterminded an Act, 54, George III, c.131, passed on 25 July 1814, “To provide for the better execution of the Laws in Ireland, by appointing Superintending Magistrates and additional Constables in Counties in certain cases.” On foot of this Act, Peel formed the Peace Preservation Force. The PPF was at the disposal of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for use in any district that had been ‘proclaimed’ in a disturbed area. The first resident magistrates were appointed under the 1814 Act.
Sir Richard Willcocks (1768-1834) a former Dublin Magistrate and Special Government Magistrate (1808-1814) was the first-appointed Chief Magistrate of the Peace Preservation Force (1814-1822) and allocated to the Barony of Middlethird, Co. Tipperary with twenty constables who were ex-cavalry sergeants operating from a base at Cashel. He was appointed Inspector General of Munster of (1822-1827) & Stipendiary Magistrate (1827-1834) – He died in Dublin and he is buried in Chapelizod Church of Ireland Cemetery
The cost of the PPF operation had to be paid for by the area ‘proclaimed’, and when tranquility was restored the force would be either withdrawn or disbanded. Between 1814 and 1922 a total of 4 members of the Peace Preservation Force were killed on duty, namely, Sub Constable Thomas Manning was shot dead on 16 August 1821 when his patrol challenged a gang of insurgents; Chief Police Magistrate Richard Going, aged 52 was shot dead on 14 October 1821 by a gang of four men while out riding; Sub Constable Hugh Colligan was killed on 31 January 1822 when his barracks was attacked; Sub Constable Thomas Knox was killed on 10 March 1822 whilst on sick leave and identified as a policeman.