Hue and cry
A widespread clamour or public outcry that dates back to Norman times when it was an Old French expression hu et cri. The modern French huer to shout derives from the same source. In those far-off days, any citizen or constable could raise the hue and cry, which it had become by the late Middle Ages, a term for a public alarm, indicating that a crime had been committed and thereby initiating the pursuit and possible apprehension of the perpetrator. In this sense, it was similar to the American posse of the Old West. The hue and cry remained a feature of English law and order until 1827 when it was repealed following the introduction of permanent police forces.