Sir Robert Peel’s Position on Policing
In 1829, Sir Robert Peel created the Metropolitan Police when he served as Home Secretary of England. According to Peel, the real key for policing is “the police are the people and the people are the police”. Peel believed that prevention of crime could be accomplished without intruding into the lives of citizens. With the development of the Metropolitan Police, Peel established nine principles to his theory of policing. These nine principles are as relevant today as they were in the 1800’s. Community policing is based on Peel’s concept of prevention.
Community policing has been embraced by many law enforcement organizations across our country. Community policing is based on its goal to prevent crime and promote better police-community partnerships. Community policing requires an investment in training with special attention to problem analysis and problem solving, facilitation, community organization; communication, mediation and conflict resolution, resource identification and use, networking and linkages, and cross-cultural competency. (Patterson ) Prevention Sir Robert Peel’s first principle was that the “basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder”.
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Peel established the police, also known as “Bobbies” . The introduction of “beats” were performed by Bobbies as a form of patrolling. Our law enforcement agencies still have police patrolling the streets with the goal of preventing crime. James Q. Wilson and George Kelling’s wrote an article, “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety” and called for a “return to the nineteenth-century style of policing in which police maintained a presence in the community by walking beats, getting to know citizens, and establishing the feeling of public safety and trust. (Siegel, 4th Ed. ,) Wilson and Kelling asked Police administrators to get their officers out of depersonalized patrol cars and play an active role in the community by identifying the neighborhoods’ problems and needs, and set a course of action for an effective response. Public Approval Public approval and cooperation are the basis of Sir Robert Peel’s next five principles of effective policing.
Peel stated that the ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions and they 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. In our diverse society, it is necessary for police to understand the different cultures that make up the communities that they patrol. This can be accomplished through multi-cultural training and education. If police can relate to and understand the different cultures of the community, they will be able to successfully gain public approval.
Public approval of the police will increase the effectiveness of law enforcement. The next two principles deal with force. Peel stated “the degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force and that 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. ” This is very relative to our society when force is used by law enforcement.
Excessive force has been a public concern and the first sign of community mistrust in the police. It can take years to gain the trust of a community and one incident to lose that trust. It is necessary for the police to have the cooperation of the public in order to function effectively. By providing adequate training on the use of force and having the public’s trust and respect can ensure that force is only used to the extent necessary. When individuals have little or no respect towards the police, they are most likely to ignore the requests or demands of officers.
This can lead to the officer having to use force in order to gain control of a situation. When police are faced with dispersing large crowds, it is necessary for the public to have the respect to follow police orders. When individuals lack trust and respect for the police, riots may occur, which can also lead to arrests, serious injuries, and even death. Community Policing Sir Robert Peel’s principles and Community Policing go hand in hand and share the same concepts and goals in policing. One of the distinct similarities between Peel’s approach and Community Policing is that prevention of crimes is the number one priority.
Community Policing has many underlying principles. It bases the theory that crime prevention is the responsibility of the total community and that police and the community share ownership, responsibility, and accountability for the prevention of crime. When police work with the community and focus on the their concerns relating to crime, they form an effective relationship when dealing with crime. It is necessary for the police to respect all different types of cultures that make up the community in order to gain the respect from those individuals that make up the neighborhoods they are working in.
Mutual trust between the police and the community is essential for effective policing. Community policing requires a large investment in training with special attention to problem analysis and problem solving, facilitation, community organization; communication, mediation and conflict resolution, resource identification and use, networking and linkages, and cross-cultural competency. Mistakes in Community Policing In order to learn from the past, we must examine the mistakes made in community policing and correct them in the future. In some cases, lack of planning has been found to be a mistake in instituting community policing.
In many cases, programs are more determined by the availability of grant funding and the need to appease certain neighborhood groups. Providing these community policing programs without an effective plan of strategy or establishing them just to appease a certain group will never be effective due to lack of commitment and interest by the police. Another mistake often made is when budgets are cut; the community policing programs are the first to go. Even though it is necessary to make cuts, if a program has proven to be effective, it could be more cost effective to keep it.
Communicating within our Diverse Population In training provided by the New York State Regional Community Policing Institute to the police officers of Niagara Falls, communicating with diverse populations and groups was among the fundamentals of community and problem oriented policing. In the participant workbook provided by the institute, explanation of the importance of effective communication requires a shared base of experience and a common set of rules about the meaning of not just words, but how you sound when you say something, the order of your words, volume, pauses, facial expressions and gestures.
This is also caused by not knowing or understanding other people’s cultures and can in turn lead to distrust, loss of credibility, and an inability to work together effectively. Some of the tips for effective communication given in the training included eye contact, which can be determined in different ways based on different cultures. In the United States, it is considered to be rude when you do not give eye contact, but in other cultures such as Latin and Asian, averting your eyes is a sign of respect.
Another form of communication looked at was the use of facial expressions and gestures. Many expressions and gestures have different meanings among the diverse cultures in our society. Many cases of miscommunication are a result of not understanding what the other person meant. With proper training and the effectiveness to communicate, law enforcement will be able to achieve their goals. Conclusion Since Sir Robert Peel introduced his nine principles of policing in the early 1800’s, our country has continued to follow his ideas of effective policing.
Community policing has been a main focus in policing. Law enforcement has had many challenges throughout the years, including the increase of cultural diversity among our communities. Sir Robert Peel established that police and the people of the community are equal in terms of effective policing. It is extremely necessary to have effective communication between the two in order for any concept to be successful.