Essay On The Impacts of Sir Robert Peel on American Policing Essay
Impacts of Sir Robert Peel on American Policing and its History
Sir Robert Peel is credited for drafting the Peelian Principles that led to the introduction of modern policing. In 1829, he successfully established an ethical police force, the Metropolitan Police Force, so as to reduce crime rates and enforce law and order in London. The idea of policing was an instant success, which prompted the formation of similar police forces across all cities in the United Kingdom. This paper evaluates the impact of Sir Robert Peel and the Peelian Principles on the history and development of the United States policing system.
Throughout the 1820s, Sir Robert Peel was deeply involved in codifying and advocating for an organized and controllable police force. Prior to the introduction of the Peelian Principles, law enforcement in both England and America had been left in the hands of the sheriffs, constables, watchmen and the general public. Hence, it was not only informal but unorganized. Previous attempts in the formation of an organized police force that was not bent on harassment of the general public had been made as early as 1215 through the Magna Carta. However, the rapid progress, made in urbanization due to industrialization, heavily weighed down on any semblance of law and order. Hence, there was a need to come up with a new strategy that would suit modern times.
There were several outstanding issues that both England and the United States faced in law enforcement. First, there was a need to recruit qualified and competent policemen. Secondly, the new law had to establish a uniform body so as to deal with official misconduct and apply penalties in cases, where the officer was found guilty. Thirdly, there was a need to control the police force through an independent body. This would eliminate bias since some constables enjoyed the backing of politicians or their seniors. Peel, having analyzed these issues, proposed comprehensive solutions, which he documented as the Peelian Principles.
Sir Robert Peel’s strategy involved nine principles. So as to clinically evaluate the relationship between these principles and the modern police force, there is a need to analyze the intention of these principles. The first principle sought to prevent rampant crime and disorder. The second principle suggests that an effective police force must enjoy the approval and acceptance of the public. The third principle seeks both the policemen’s and public’s co-operation and willingness to obey the laid down laws so as to win each other’s respect. The fourth principle stipulates that the increased use of force leads to lower degrees of co-operation. The fifth principle points out that the police force can only win the public’s favor by being impartial and treating all members of the society as equals despite their wealth or background. The sixth principle declares that the police force should result to the use of force only after exhausting all other means so as to obtain the public’s compliance. The seventh principle reiterates that the police force constitutes of members of the public, who are under obligation to safeguard the welfare and interests of the public. The eighth principle states that the police force is charged with the responsibility of enforcing already formulated laws and should, therefore, not impose any punishment whatsoever. Last but not least, the police force would only be deemed as successful due to the absence or reduction of crime and disorder and not through police activity (Johnson & Wolfe 2003).