The title to this post is a quote attributed to Sir Robert Peel.
Known as the “Father of Modern Policing”, Sir Robert was the man responsible for the creation of what many believe to be the first modern professional police department — the Metropolitan Police Force in London.
Prior to Sir Roberts little experiment, the British in the 1800’s had a strong antipathy for the idea of a full-time police department — matter-of-fact, it was seen as a threat to liberty and a (and this is a direct quote from JP Smith): “…disturbance of all private happiness.”
Nonetheless, everyone — from the man in the street to the last politician — agreed that the old system of watchmen simply wasn’t working. Matter-of-fact, the perception was that crime wasn’t only rampant, but that it was sharply rising.
Enter Sir Robert.
In order to mollify those who believed that professional police were “a curse and a despotism”, and secure their aid in creating his professional police force, Sir Robert Peel developed what became known as The Peelian Principles; which are considered to be the basic foundation for all modern policing:
1) The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
2) The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
3) Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
4) The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
5) Police seek and preserve public favor not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
6) 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.
7) 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 being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
8) Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
9) The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
My academy devoted two days to the study of Sir Robert and his Principles of Policing. I am of the firm opinion that these Principles should be Gospel for every Peace Officer.
There are times, though, when I am forced to wonder if some of my fellow Peace Officers have even heard of the Peelian Principles.
And I guaran-damn-tee you that a whole bunch of politicians and police administrators (but I repeat myself) have never heard of #9.
Anyone who doubts this should listen to the next District Attorney, County Commissioner, Representative or any other critter cite the rising number of arrests as proof that their pet anti-crime law is working.