Sir Robert Peel’s Position on Policing

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Sir Robert Peel (2004) is most remembered for his contribution to reforming British criminal law, the penitentiary institutions, the police service, the fiscal policies, and the economic policies. Because of his pragmatic approach to social and political problems, he managed to make government an instrument for social reform. His career as a politician started blossoming in 1809 after he had graduated from Oxford University. At the time when Lord Liverpool became the Prime Minister, Peel got a coveted opportunity to become the chief secretary of Ireland during which Ireland realized turbulent times of social and religious upheavals. During his tenure as secretary of Ireland, he established a permanent Irish police force. When Sir Peel became home secretary in Lord Liverpool’s government during the ‘age of liberal Toryism’, he gave in to the demands of Bethamite and evangelical reformers. These reformers had objected to the government’s legal and penal system that made use of threats to prevent citizens from committing a crime.

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Peel favored reforming criminals as a sure way of preventing crimes as opposed to punishment. During his tenure as home secretary, savage death penalties for petty offences were abolished. Criminal laws were made simple and humane during his realm as the home secretary. The central government was entrusted with supervision of prisons. The enactment of the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 saw the birth of a professional police force. London police force was established by this act. The members of this police force were called Peelers after Sir Robert Peel. Sir Robert came up with nine principles for policing. The principles directed that police are there to prevent crime and disorder, and that performance of police is influenced by public approval of their actions. To obtain the respect of the public, the police have to cooperate with the public. The use of physical force by the police diminishes the degree of the corporation of the public. Policemen should never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary. The efficiency of the police can only be tested when there is no crime and disorder.

The Justice system is made up of the police, the correctional facilities, and the courts. The model of the system emphasizes relationships among different agencies. Different agents that make up the criminal justice system should ideally be unanimous in their operation to deliver justice (Pettit and Sykes, 2008). This does not always happen as the police, the courts, and the correctional units at times fail to cooperate. This has brewed mutual mistrust between the constituent agencies that comprise the criminal justice system. These agencies have continued to relate with each other with some degree of suspicion. The criminal justice system should always endeavor to protect the citizenry, maintain order and stability, investigate criminal activities and apprehend the perpetrators of crime, control crime, put in place structures where guilt or innocence of perpetrators can be proven, and for sentencing convicts. The system should have protected the defendant’s constitutional rights.

Shaw (2007) focused both on the death penalty and the role of race in the criminal justice system. He decries the constitution’s anti-discrimination provision and likens it to the equal protection clause. Shaw posits that when Fourteenth Amendment was coming into force, the Privileges and the Immunities Clause was more favored than Equal Protection Clause. However, with time, the Equal Protection Clause encouraged discriminatory tendencies. The Equal Protection Clause stipulates that “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law”. Shaw regrets that the constitution has provided a perfect launching pad for racial discrimination. He associates “societal discrimination” with discrimination where no one is held responsible and has no remedy. Shaw points that black and brown students are segregated on grounds of their racial background and their economic status. They attend inferior schools where they get hooked on criminal activities and finally find themselves in prisons. Jurisprudence is convinced that there is no connection between the maintenance of desegregated schools and court orientation.

Therefore courts can do nothing in doing away with discrimination in public schools. Shaw regrets that jurisprudence that is supposed to make a fair-minded person rally against the injustice of the American constitutional tolerance of racial discrimination fails to achieve its intended purpose. He asserts that the constitution and the civilians have both failed to curb racial discrimination. Shaw says that the decisions made by conservative Supreme Courts create dilemmas for the citizenry because the judges fail to make vigorous and aggressive interpretations of the federal constitution. Wrongful interpretation of the constitution has left the black, the brown, and other people who are not white without the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ineptitude of the criminal justice system has bred racial profiling, death sentences, and staging of war against drugs by the government on the African-Americans. African Americans from the lion share of the death row convicts. Thirty-four percent of people who have been executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 have been African Americans. The worrying trends are that percentage of blacks and white who engage in crime are equal but it’s only blacks who are executed.

Chaires and Lentz (2001) say that reverse discrimination has found its way into the United States Supreme Court. Modern public sector employment is determined by central government federal balancing. Laws that protect and empower employees attempt to equalize race, ethnicity, and gender. In 1930, federal power dramatically expanded in the workplace. The private sector was transformed by National Labor Relations Act and Fair Labor Standards Act. In the 1960s race and gender were factored into federal civil rights. The 1860’s federal civil rights law shifted the balance of federalism from state sovereignty. The face of criminal justice, the policemen, the attorney, and the prison officers reflect the demographic face of America. The policies and practices of the state and the local criminal justice are supposed to provide a leveling experience. Limiting the jurisdiction of the federal courts in matters that relate to public employment creates a lot of problems.

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The relationship that is there between voting rights and public sector employment is that voting is a fundamental right whereas employment is not. Chaires and Lentz distinguish the differences between civil and human rights by saying that civil rights borders on those things that the government cannot do to its citizens whereas human rights are the government must do. On many accounts, civil and human rights clash just like individuals’ economic rights may be subordinated to a group’s collective needs. Such a position may spark loads of criticism from capitalists who term such a move as socially inclined. SECTION 31(a) of the Californian constitution outlaws discrimination and or preferential treatment to the citizens based on racial background, sexual orientation, and skin color in public institutions. Data suggests uneven change when gender is involved. Women in state and local police agencies have increased from 10.6 to 13.3 between 1990 and 1997. Blacks are subjects of American penal control.

French and Wailes (2008) say that law enforcement – cultural training and psychological screening are important because of the need for international policy initiatives. The assessment of police and correctional personnel has become a universal problem. Political interference normally obstructs the application of clearly articulated scientific methods. Protracted legal battles that try to dilute objective measures infiltrated by fear of disclosure of intimate aspects of a person being tested, police evaluation, security, and officers taking part in correctional services. Commission for the accreditation for law enforcement agencies is the standard of recognition in the United States. The criminal and educational backgrounds of individuals considered in the United States military have been relaxed to lure more volunteers. This has seen neo-Nazi and racial extremists getting a chance in the US military. Neo-Nazis serving in the military are difficult to identify as they are not as open as other members of criminal gangs. However, rules for recruiting individuals taking up positions in the United States army were tightened after the Oklahoma City bombing when it was revealed that the perpetrators were trained in the United States army. Terrorists have also undergone US military training like Eric Rudolph. Rudolph got his training from Air Assault School. Racism is fuelled by high-ranking officers who give a node for violence and abuse of civilians and perceived enemies. Military officers have been implicated in the rape and murder of vulnerable populations like children as witnessed in a case where the 14-year old girl was raped in Iraq.

Munoz and Freng (2008) posit that researchers have increasingly examined interactions between various combinations of legal and extralegal variables to explain ineptitude in criminal sentencing agencies. White male convicts are often forced to part with a lot of money as fines. The young, young adults and adults who belong to minority ethnic groups and races receive other punitive measures on top of fines after they have been proven guilty of having committed a crime. This depicts rife discrimination in the criminal justice system where punishments are given based on skin color. Racial and ethnic bias has greatly affected the dispensation of justice in lower courts. Ethnic sentencing disparities can only be gotten rid of by using concepts of contextual discrimination and focal concerns. Contextual discrimination entitles the aggressor to severe punishment. These address social-psychological focal concerns of the judiciary.

Challenges (Pettit and Sykes, 2008) that the criminal justice system faces in the 21st century include prevention of delinquency and effective administration of juvenile justice, and alleviation of the pain of victimization. The general public and the politician find it difficult when it comes to subjecting children to the justice system. Authorities find it very difficult in choosing whether to be tough on such children or nurture them into responsible citizens.

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Hasisi (2008) posits that minorities are characterized by political disagreements. The disparity in perception of majority and minority is attributed to both political variables and cultural differences as witnessed with native and immigrant minorities. The interaction between the minority and the police is heavily influenced by cultural pluralism. The political difference between the Jew and the Arabs influences the Arab minority perception of the police. The way the Arab minority groups relate to police is not unanimous because of the existence of political and cultural differences.

Reference List

Chaires, R. H., & Lentz, S. A. (2001). A divided land: Probable impacts of current affirmative action and employment law trends on criminal justice staffing patterns in 2010. Justice Professional, 14(1), 43.

French, L. A., & Wailes, N. (2008, Summer). Accessing and training police and security personnel relevant to ethnic and cultural sensitivity. Jackson State University Researcher, 21(4), 51-71.

Hasisi, B. (2008, Spring). Criminology: Police, politics, and culture in a deeply divided . Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 98(3), 1119-1145.

Muñoz, E. A., & Freng, A. B. (2008). Age, racial/ethnic minority status, gender, and misdemeanor sentencing. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 5(4), 29-57.

Pettit, B., & & Sykes, B. (2008). The demographic implications of the prison boom. Conference Papers — American Sociological Association, 1-16.

Shaw, T. M. (2007, Fall). Maintaining hope in the struggle against the constitutional tolerance of racial discrimination. Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 39(1), 59-73.

Sir Robert Peel. (2004). In Encyclopedia of World Biography (pp. 181-183). Detroit: Gale.

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