Sir Robert Peel established the nine principles of law enforcement also known as the Peelian Principles in 1892 under the base of patrol functions defined as deterring crime, enhancing the feeling of public safety, and making law enforcement officers available for service. Police departments today use these nine principles as a foundation of maintaining positive relationships with citizens and their community (FBI, 2012).
The Metropolitan Police Act (MPA) of 1829 was established by Sir Robert Peel during his term as the Secretary of England. Peel’s theory rests mainly on his quote “The key to policing is that the police are the people and that the people are the police.” The concept behind the Peelian Principles is preventing crime, not fighting crime. In order for community policing to be proved successful, Peel first established the Metropolitan Police. Because of the success in community policing, today’s police agencies still base their ethics and policies around the nine Peelian Principles as listed below.
The first Peelian Principle explains the basic mission of police existence; prevent crime and disorder. The concept of prevention of crime is to the alternative factor of control by legal punishment or military style force (Nazemi, 2012). Most individuals consider the consequences prior to committing a criminal act. The majority of the individuals who do make the decision to commit a crime are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The second Peelian Principle explains the necessity of public approval and to maintain public respect in order for the police to have full capability to perform their duties (Nazemi, 2012). Society demands accountability of officers’ actions on and off duty. When Peel formed his principles, he had no idea of the drastic media exposure that would be present in today.
The third Peelian Principle explains police must always recognize that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public also means safeguarding the willing cooperation of the public in the task of security observance of the law. Legislation is responsible for creating and presenting laws that society accepts and votes into law. If laws are created unreasonable, the police would have a difficult time in maintaining law and order (Nazemi, 2012) .
The fourth Peelian Principle is based on the fact of how police must always recognize the extent to which the cooperation of the public can be secured, diminishes, proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives (Nazemi, 2012). The fourth principal is best related to the 1992 acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers on trial for the videotaped beating of King. When the verdict of the trial was made public, riots broke out in the city that led to numerous assaults, murders, arsons, and looting because of public disapproval.
The fifth Peelian Principal is to and preserves the public favor. Public favor cannot be done by impartial service to the law but in independence of policy and procedures, without regard to the justice or injustice of individual laws (Nazemi, 2012). Ethical and moral obligations are important for every police department. Respect for law enforcement from a community and its local justice system is deriving from maintaining non-prejudice standards for all.
The sixth Peelian principle explains the importance of physical force to only be used to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law and to only resort to when persuasion, warnings, or advice are found to be insufficient (Nazemi, 2012) . The public, media, and the courts scrutinize such action if the result is by death or severe injury used by police.
The seventh Peelian Principle explains that police must maintain and secure a positive relationship with the public that gives reality to the tradition, police are the public, and the public are the police (Nazemi, 2012). Officers are individual citizens of the community and have been given the opportunity and task to be trained and employed by the community, state, or federal government to uphold the laws, protect, and serve the public.
The eighth Peelian Principle explains that police should always direct their actions strictly toward their functions and never appear to assume the powers of the judiciary (Nazemi, 2012). When a suspect is arrested for a crime, police are to conduct the investigation and protect the subject’s constitutional rights of innocent until proven guilty. Upon completion of the investigation, officers are responsible for presenting the facts and evidence to the proper judicial system.
The ninth Peelian Principle explains that police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder in a community, not the visible actions of the police dealing with crimes and disorders (Nazemi, 2012) . The unlawful violation of writing minor traffic citations or disobedient ordnances under a quota system is directly a detriment to a community by not focusing on crime prevention.
Peel’s principals are currently used by today’s city, state, federal, and worldwide law enforcement agencies to maintain concepts of professionalism and pride in a department and community (Larrabee, 2012). Deterring criminal acts can be accomplished by saturating a community with police presence such as patrol units, foot beat, and in some instances horse mounted police. When police presence is consistent throughout a community, the public is ensured by feelings of safety. If citizens believe they are secure and safe, there is no hesitation or intimidation to contact law enforcement when a crime is occurring or has been committed.
FBI. (2011). Perspective Peelâ€™s legacy. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/december-2011/perspective
Larrabee, A.K. (2012). Law enforcement: Sir Robert Peel’s concept of community policing in today’s society. Retrieved from http://voices.yahoo.com/law-enforcement-sir-robert-peels-concept-community-638595.html?cat=17
Nazemi, S. (2012). Sir Robert Peel’s nine principals of policing. Retrieved from http://www.lacp.org/2009-Articles-Main/062609-Peels9Principals-SandyNazemi.htm
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