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Principles of Law Enforcement

Sir Robert Peel and the Principles of Law Enforcement (1829)

Before looking at Blue Knight, it may help to remind ourselves of the ideas expressed by Sir Robert Peel as the Principles of Law Enforcmeent in 1829, as a foundation for the, then, newly formed Metropolitan Police of London.

  1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder (my note: prevent, not catch after the event)
  2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police existence, action, behaviour and the ability of the police to secure public respect
  3. The police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain public respect
  4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes, proportionately, the use of physical force
  5. The police seek and preserve public favour, not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice, or injustice, of the substance of individual laws; by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of society without regard to their race or social standing
  6. The police should use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to secure order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient
  7. The 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 are the only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interest of the community welfare
  8. The police should always direct their actions toward their functions and never appear to usurp the power of the judiciary by avenging individuals or the state
  9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action dealing with them.
© D K Hitchins 2017