Sir Robert Peel, The Founder of Modern Policing
"The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only
members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are
incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence"
-Sir Robert Peel. The oldest son of a wealthy cotton manufacturer, he was educated
at Harrow and Oxford, and with his fathers money, a parliamentary seat was found for him as soon as he became
of age in 1809. One year later he was appointed undersecretary for war and colonies. Two years later he accepted
the difficult position of chief secretary for Ireland. It was during this term in Ireland that he introduced the Act of
Parliament which would bring about the formation of the Irish Peace Preservation Force.
On his return to England he accepted the post of secretary for the home department and a seat in the Cabinet.
His first task was to meet the long-standing demands for a comprehensive reorganization of the criminal code.
Rising crime statistics proved to him that there should be some improvement in the methods of crime prevention.
To this end, in 1829 he brought about the Metropolitan Police Act and with it the first disciplined police force for
Greater London. They soon became known as Bobby's boys or "bobbies".
Prior to this, in his capacity as Home Secretary, he was again involved in Irish matters. This time he introduced
the Constabulary Act in 1822, and the Constabulary Police of Ireland was formed, replacing the earlier peace
keepers. Both of these police forces exist today. The London Metropolitan Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, was also the founder of the Conservative Party, and served as Prime Minister from
1834-35 and 1841-1846. He was considered incorruptible, and was well know for his great capacity for work. He
died as a result of a riding accident.
SIR ROBERT PEEL'S NINE PRINCIPLES
- The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
- The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of
- Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of
the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
- The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of
the use of physical force.
- Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating
absolute impartial service to the law.
- Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only
when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.
- Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition
that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who
are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of
community welfare and existence.
- Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the
powers of the judiciary.
- The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in
dealing with it.
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