In this paper I will be describing the impact that Sir Robert Peel made on the American Police and how they still continue to use it today. Sir Robert Peel was a member of England’s elite police force. In the early 1800’s England was home to over 450 law enforcement officers. These officers were the cornerstone for the new age modernized police force. Sir Robert Peel set forth to establish a police force that not only caught and punished criminals but he wanted them to work at lowering the crime rate of the given area that they were responsible for.
In 1828 Peel established what was later called the London Metropolitan Police. This new police force was perfect to start the reforming of the way the police would enforce the law. Peel was met with resistant from England’s Parliament due to a fear of the police turning into more of a military style similar to the French style of law enforcement. In 1929 Parliament passed the “Metropolitan Police Act” establishing funds to enlarge the force of police from the near 450 to up to 1000 officers. These officers were to follow a set of strict standards of conduct.
They were to be disciplined and professionals. The police force started out with two “Commissioners/Magistrates”. The officers of the new police force were organized using a standard military structure and utilized a clear chain of command and rules of conduct. The officers were required to wear uniforms and badges so the public would be able to identify them easily. Their badges were required to have an identification number on it to easily keep track of each individual officer. These officers were required to show and demand a high level of professionalism and accountability.
These new law enforcement officers were employees of the state and not just the sworn in citizen of the past. They were charged with the obligation to assist in the apprehension of those that broke the laws governing the populace. There are many different law enforcement styles around the world but many of them used Peels style as a baseline for their new modern style. Sir Robert Peel had a listing of rules and regulations for the officers to follow. These were known as the “Principals of Policing” this set of rules contained 12 basic principles for the law enforcement officer to follow and dhere to. Below you will find a listing of these very principles as listed in “Law Enforcement in the 21st Century. ” 1. The police must be stable, efficient, and organized along military lines 2. The police must be under government control 3. The absence of crime will best prove efficiency of the police 4. The distribution of crime news in essential 5. The deployment of police strength both by time and area is essential 6. No quality is more indispensable to a policeman that a perfect command of temper; a quiet determined manner has more effect than a violent action 7.
Good appearance commands respect 8. The securing and training of proper persons is at the root of efficiency 9. Public security demands that every police officer be given a number 10. Police headquarters should be centrally located and easily accessible to the people 11. Policemen should be hired on a probationary basis 12. Police records are necessary to the correct distribution of police strength The modern day police force that is at work in the United States has been tremendously affected by the principles of Sir Robert Peel’s police force of the 1800’s.
The start of the Modern U. S. police force began back during the early years in the time of the first 13 colonies. Since the first colonies were from England and the European community it was natural that the law enforcement of the new American land would take shape along the lines of English law enforcement. In each town and city they would have a constable or a sheriff that would have the same general powers as the commissioners of the old country. The new land called for a little more development of law enforcement.
Some of the larger cities passed laws to require that the public be responsible to help the law enforcement officials capture criminals. If you look back at the 12 principles that Peel set forth for the English Police, you can take each one and apply it to the police of today. Let’s look at one or two of these principles. The first principle requiring a stable and efficient organization, this is the basis of all police agencies of the United States. Most police training is conducted in a military manner and the chain of command is structured almost exactly as the military is structured.
Another principle that is still in effect in today’s police force is the giving of all police officers a number. These numbers are inscribed onto the badge that each officer is given. This number is unique to the individual officer. No other officer will have this number on his/her badge. That way if you have more than one officer with the same name all you have to do is look at the number and the administration will be able to find out exactly who you are talking about.
These principles set forth all the rules and regulations that affect the modern police force today. In closing I have talked about the beginning of modern policing and where it initially started. This included the description of London Metropolitan Police, and the major affect that Sir Robert Peel had on the law enforcement of the 1800’s. I explained that this system that Sir Robert Peel created in England had moved over to the United States and helped to create the law enforcement policies of today’s police force.