Things of Middle-earth
Type: Offices & Ranks
The Hobbit police force that patrolled within the Shire.
The only real official in the Shire at this date was the Mayor of Michel Delving (or of the Shire), who was elected every seven years.... [The] offices of Postmaster and First Shirriff were attached to the mayoralty, so that he managed both the Messenger Service and the Watch. These were the only Shire-services....
The Shirriffs was the name that the Hobbits gave to their police, or the nearest equivalent that they possessed. They had, of course, no uniforms (such things being quite unknown), only a feather in their caps; and they were in practice rather haywards than policemen, more concerned with the strayings of beasts than of people. There were in all the Shire only twelve of them, three in each Farthing, for Inside Work. A rather larger body..., was employed to 'beat the bounds', and to see that Outsiders..., did not make themselves a nuisance.
The Lord of the Rings, Prologue, Of the Ordering of the Shire
The only thing that [Frodo] did as Deputy Mayor was to reduce the Shirriffs to their proper functions and numbers.
The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens
Contributors: Elena Tiriel 20Jul07, 14Mar10