Sir Robert Peel’s Position on Policing


Policing is an activity that goes back many years in history. It is an important undertaking of any government designed to ensure the safety of citizens and to promote growth and development in countries across the world. Sir Robert Peel is one of the key individuals accredited with the establishment of the police force (Cronkhite, 2012). Arguably, very minor changes have been made to the foundation made by Robert Peel.

This paper examines the challenges faced by the criminal justice system in present day society. It also looks at some approaches that are currently being used by law enforcement officers in different countries to deal with the rot in society without being unfair to anyone. Toward the end, the paper looks at whether the principles of law enforcement presented by Sir Robert Peel can be used to bring order and organisation to the police department today.

Cultural Concerns and Influences of Today’s Societies on the Criminal Justice System

To a large extent, modern day society is more aware of their rights. As a result, people are willing to risk their lives in many ways to get their voices heard. Over the years, the media, as well as the Internet, have played a very critical role in educating people concerning different things that affect their lives and this includes how they are supposed to be treated by law enforcement agencies. In addition, constant technological changes have been very instrumental in changing the mode of interaction and access to vital information. A combination of all these factors is responsible for the creation of a new cultural system that has greatly revolutionized the criminal justice system.

To a large extent, the present day criminal justice system has to pay close attention to the cries and wishes of the public. Everywhere in the world, civil society groups exist to ensure that the rights of ordinary citizens are not interfered with. According to research findings, most people are educated about the criminal justice system through the media and the Internet. Although it is apparent that face to face encounters with the criminal justice system is quite rare, individuals have continued to increase their knowledge of law enforcement as well as the criminal justice system through options such as the television, print media and the Internet. Members of the public have thus been socialized and made aware of what is expected of the criminal justice system. For most people, the closest encounter with the criminal justice system has been through television and social media.

Unfortunately, the criminal justice system has in some cases been portrayed very negatively by the media. While the actions of law enforcement agencies were completely hidden from the general public in the past, they are today exposed through different channels. Consequently, people can easily judge the fairness of the criminal justice system. Because of negative publicity through the media, some people have tended to lose trust in the work of those entrusted with enforcing the law.

For this reason, it is imperative for law enforcement officers throughout the world to have a solid understanding of the ever-changing cultural setup to work effectively. In the contemporary world, law enforcement officers have no choice but to deal with a more enlightened group of people in society. Consequently, this calls for a deeper understanding of their problems and how they can be addressed without affecting any member of the public negatively. In present-day society, law enforcers and those responsible for ensuring that justice prevailed for all can not afford to act maliciously. With the media doing everything possible to expose any form of unfairness in the criminal justice system, everyone has an opportunity to air his or her grievances. As noted by Sir Robert Peel, an important responsibility of the law enforcement team is to ensure that citizens are treated with respect and dignity (Cronkhite, 2012).

Culture and the Criminal Justice System

By and large, cultural changes have greatly affected the administration of both justice and security in the world. Most people in the past knew very little about the operations of the criminal justice system. Because of the shortcomings associated with the old justice system, unfair judgments could easily be passed by the courts. Due to lack of exposure, most people had no guts to question court rulings. For this reason, people were made to suffer innocently.

In the modern cultural setup, however, things are somehow different for several reasons. First, access to information has been enhanced with the proliferation of media practitioners. Information is freely available through television, print media, the Internet and mobile devices. Citizens all over the world are today more aware of the operations of the criminal justice system. While the above options of accessing information have ushered in a new era where access is greatly simplified, it has complicated the work of law enforcement officers. Unlike in the past, citizens are now fully aware of their rights and law enforcers have to be very careful when dealing with them. In present-day society, it is not uncommon to come by members of the law enforcement team being charged in a court of law for failing to uphold dignity while carrying out their daily routines.

Contemporary Methods used in Societies of Mixed Cultures

Over the years, different approaches have been adopted by the police department to help improve the process of security administration in the modern society where people from different cultures have to live together. A common strategy that has been used by many governments across the world is community policing. The general idea behind community policing is to break the barrier that earlier existed between the police department and ordinary citizens. With time, law enforcement officers have realized that the best approach when it comes to dealing with cases of insecurity is to actively engage members of the public. People tend to know so much about their neighbours and this can be used to the advantage of the police department.

By actively engaging with members of the public, law enforcement officers can very easily draw out critical information from citizens. Once the information is in their possession, it can then be used to track down criminals and to ensure that justice prevails. This is certainly in line with Sir Robert Peel’s principle number two which alludes to the fact that law enforcement officers can only succeed in their work by working closely with those they are meant to serve. Arguably, their effectiveness is tightly linked to their approval by the public. To some extent, the public has a keen interest in seeing a responsible police force in place. Law enforcement officers are generally expected by the public to be people who are disciplined and concerned about the needs of those they are serving.

Another strategy that is used by law enforcement officers involves the application of technology. The development of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp has made it easier to communicate and pass information from one end to another. Among other benefits, the use of social media networks is widely available as long as an individual can access the Internet. Principle number three presented by Sir Robert Peel requires all police officers to do everything within their powers to win the confidence of the public and to get their full cooperation in different matters that have to do with security. Although very challenging, the police are expected to ensure that individuals willingly cooperate. Without a doubt, social media networks have brought in a new generation where so much information can be passed around quite easily. Law enforcement officers should thus make every effort to reach out to as many members of the public as possible.

Relation of Influences and Considerations to Non-Discrimination Practices

Both the law enforcement officers, and the public would like justice and fairness to prevail when dealing with the public. Influences and considerations are very closely related to non-discrimination practices. It is important for the police department as well as the criminal justice system to be allowed to perform their work without being influenced by their superiors.

Evidently, there are times when law enforcers have acted in a certain way due to influence from their superiors. According to Sir Robert Peel’s principle number five, the police are required to be completely fair and must not be influenced by anyone while carrying out their duties (Cronkhite, 2012). They should extend kindness to all and seek to be friends with members of the public. Peel also maintained that there should be a very thin line to separate the police from the public. It is the responsibility of members of the police force throughout the world to meet the security needs of every member of the public. In executing their duties, police officers are expected to remain impartial and to treat every citizen with respect and dignity.

Could Sir Robert Peel Use the Nine Principles to Organize a Police Department Today?

In my opinion, Sir Robert Peel can use the nine principles of law enforcement to create order and organisation in police departments today. As has been explained in this paper, the principles highlight very important virtues that should be embraced by all law enforcement officers if they are to be effective in their work. For this reason, it is beneficial for police departments across the world to refer to these principles as they go about their duties.


Sir Robert Peel’s principles provide a very strong foundation for the work of law enforcement officers, and they should be embraced by police departments. Through his principles, Peel brings out a very clear picture of how the police department should conduct its affairs. Examining Peel’s principles shows that the key responsibility of law enforcement officers is to create an environment where everyone feels secure. However, members of the public have a responsibility toward the police and the criminal justice system. As argued by Peel, the success of police departments depends on the support that can be received from members of the public.


Cronkhite, C. L. (2012). Law Enforcement and Justice Administration. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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