Peel`s Rules of Policing

In 2012, the UK government`s Home Office stated that policing by consent was “the power of the police derived from the collective consent of the public, as opposed to the power of the state. This does not mean an individual`s consent” and added an additional statement outside of Peel`s principles: “No individual may choose to withdraw consent to the police or any law.” [11] The Ministry of the Interior has defined the legitimacy of policing in the eyes of the public as being based on a general consensus of support stemming from the transparency of its powers, its integrity in the exercise of those powers, and its accountability to them. [15] A 2021 study described the notion of consensual policing in three terms: “that police officers are `citizens in uniform`; whereas the main task of the police is for the public and not for the State; and that the use of force is the last resort. [16] Another study compares consent policing to “law policing” and states: “Although the basic premise of policing in Britain is consent, the British police system as it currently exists is more of an inverse process, with more power invested in people by law than in policing by consent. As such, policing in Britain has now become policing by law, but one that requires a police force accountable to the public. In the early 1800s, London had a population of nearly one and a half million, but was only monitored by 450 police officers and 4,500 night watchmen from many different organizations.[17] [1] Several parliamentary committees have investigated policing in London and made suggestions to further develop the existing situation. [6] The concept of professional policing was taken up by Robert Peel when he became Secretary of the Interior in 1822, emphasizing a rigorous and less discretionary approach to law enforcement. The approach reflected in these principles is commonly referred to as consent policing in the United Kingdom and other countries such as Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Police officers no longer see themselves as members of a “helping profession” as conceived by Sir Robert Peel, but as “law enforcement”. While law enforcement has always played a minor role in policing, the paradigm shift toward “law enforcement” is evident in the many bellicose metaphors currently used: “war on crime,” “war on drugs,” and now “war on terror.” It is not their fault, but ours.

We have placed higher and higher demands on our police officers and blamed them for social problems beyond their control. The recent increase in accountability is due to the designation of the police as the first line of defence against acts of terrorism. No wonder they have become increasingly militaristic, both in uniform and in thought. It will not be easy to reverse police militarism because it has become so entrenched and reinforced by the constant drumbeat of the “war on crime,” the “war on drugs,” and the “war on terror.” Unless serious efforts are made to reclaim policing, Peel`s nine principles will never become a reality. Historian Charles Reith explained in his New Study of Police History (1956) that Sir Robert Peel`s principles represented an approach to policing “unique in history and throughout the world because it does not stem from fear, but almost exclusively from public collaboration with the police, deliberately provoked by them by behaviour. who ensures and maintains their consent. Respect and affection for the public.” [11] [14] Some countries, such as Finland, Norway and other Nordic countries, have developed a consensus model of policing independent of the Peel principles. [32] [33] [34] In this policing model, police officers are considered uniformed citizens. They exercise their powers to monitor their fellow citizens with the implied consent of those fellow citizens. “Policing by consent” means that the legitimacy of policing in the eyes of the public is based on a general consensus of support derived from the transparency of its powers, its integrity in the exercise of those powers, and its accountability to them.

Dempsey, J., & Forst, L. (2008). An introduction to policing. Belmont, California: Thompson-Wadsworth, 7-8. The nine principles of policing derive from the General Instructions, which were issued to each new officer of the Metropolitan Police from 1829 onwards. [11] [12] Although Peel discussed the spirit of some of these principles in his speeches and other communications, historians Susan Lentz and Robert Chaires have found no evidence that he compiled an official list. [9] The Home Office indicated that the instructions were probably not written by Peel himself, but by Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne, the joint commissioners of the Metropolitan Police, when it was formed. [11] [12] Calls to systematically arm police officers with firearms have been consistently rejected in the UK. With a long history of unarmed policing, police use of firearms in the UK is much more limited than in many other countries.