The field of policing involves the implementation or enforcement of law within a defined society. For policing to be successful in the society, it is important that those involved in policing and those who are being policed understand the existing laws that define legality of certain actions. The field of policing has entirely undergone lots of transformation since its inception. This owes to the fact that the policing becomes complex as the population size increases. It is important to understand that the existence of policing is practically linked to existence of those who contravene the laws through engagement in activities marked as criminal. Arguably, the number of crimes increases as the population grows; and this necessitates the need to consider the issue of police to population ratio which is the standard gauge for the level of protection given to a particular community by police (Katz, 2008). Community policing is one of outcomes of transformations in the field of policing. To better understand policing and its application in the United States of America, it will be important to get into a discussion of early roots of policing and Sir Robert Peel’s nine principles.
Early Roots of Policing: Associated With Sir Robert Peel
Throughout societal civilization, individuals have been concerned with the protection and security of themselves, their families, and property. This kind of protection was ensured by members of a family. Later, at the start of 1820, the enforcement of law in the United States of America and the English region was entrusted to citizens who volunteered to provide security, night security guards, constable and the sheriffs. The enforcement of law was generally not well organized and applicably informal.
The modern police force is associated with individuals like Henry Fielding, Sir Robert Peel, and Patrick Colquhoun. Noteworthy is the contributions made by Sir Robert Peel in putting into place the first modern and organized police force in the English region through an Act that was drawn and passed in parliament in the year 1829. The act established a single jurisdiction that was initially policing the regions of London city. The police force commenced its work with a membership of only one thousand police officers who were categorized into six parts which were centrally managed and headquartered in the Scotland Yard.
The members of the troupe were known as “Bobbies” and had uniforms for identification; they came up with new features of policing that served as the foundation for the contemporary policing. At this point, the transformation of the policing filed started taking a rapid mode. In 1839, a County Police Act was formulated and this Act enabled the establishment of similar police forces in the rest of other regions.
Sir Robert Peel’s (1820s) Nine Principles
Sir Robert Peel came up with nine principles in the field of policing (Dempsey and Forst, 2009). These principles are outlined as follows:
- The primary rationale for which the police force is established is to stop crime and disorder.
- The public agreement with the actions of the police determines the capability of the police officers to undertake their obligations
- The police officers as a whole must secure the collaboration of the public in voluntary law enforcement so that they are able to sustain the public respect for the force.
- The level of collaboration of the public members that can be achieved diminishes relatively to the necessary use of physical power.
- The police seek and maintain public favor by continuously exhibiting neutral service to the law.
- The only situation under which the police officers can relevantly engage the use of physical force to ensure observance of law or order are cases where persuasion, advice, and or warning have become ineffective.
- The police should ensure a link with the members of the public that offers historic practices premised on reality that “the police are the public and the public are the police.”; the implication is that the police are the members of the public paid to be fully concerned with each citizen in the interest of ensuring the wellness of the community members and existence of such members.
- The police should never seem to tap into the powers and authority of the judiciary, but should discharge their actions strictly within their jurisdiction.
- The measure of the efficiency of the police is the non-existent of offenses and disorder, but not the empirical evidence of the police actions taking care of it.
The Connections of the Principles to Modern Day Policing
The modern policing in America gained its pace in 1830 based on the policing model of England. Big and varied urban centers, comparable to those in industrial regions of England, made great contributions to the establishment of professional policing which commenced in Boston and New York. Social order in the United States of America coerced the civilian administration to take some measures, although at a slow pace and lack of trust by uniformed agents in such a setting. The impact of Sir Robert Peel’s principles was experienced and the progress was significant in the states towards Northeast.
The process, through which the modern day American policing has undergone, is littered with several failed attempts and false beginnings since the advent of Sir Robert’s nine principles. It is acknowledgeable that the principles have served as the premise on which the theorists and criminologists have formulated the ideas of modern law enforcement.
The American policing field has encompassed community policing in which the police is also involved in the security provision of major events, which may be private or public (Palmer and Whelan, 2007). According to Palmer and Whelan (2007) community policing takes place in the context of what they call ‘communal space’ (Webster, 2008).
Nonetheless, it is important to point out that the establishment of community policing, in its all respect, is attributed to Sir Robert Peel. The development and evolution of community policing had a great influence in which the enforcement of law is discharged (Reed, 1999).
The American policing field has changed in form; and one of the factors that have led to this is the fact that mass private property ownership is gradually changing into communal space hence necessitating communal policing. In communal policing, it is important that the civilian cooperate with the police in the process of offering solutions to criminal activities (Webster, 2008: Lombardo and Lough, 2007).
The policing field has its origin in England (Champion, 2005) and has developed through the ideas of Sir Robert Peel and his peers. Since its inceptions, it has undergone lots of transformations that have ensured that it remains relevant to current social status. In the United States of America, policing has expanded to include community policing in which the policing process requires the partnership between the community members and the police force. The extent to which policing takes place cannot be estimated since it is a field that is continuously expanding to meet new challenges that arise within the society, especially the Americans (Webster, 2008).
Champion, D. (2005). The American dictionary of criminal justice: key terms and major court cases. United States: Scarecrow Press.
Dempsey, J. & Forst, L. (2009). An Introduction to Policing. New York: Cengage Learning.
Katz, W. (2008). Police and Society: The Police in America (6th ed.). United States: The McGraw-Hill.
Lombardo R. & Lough T. (2007). Community Policing: Broken Windows, Community Building, and Satisfaction with the Police. The Police Journal, Volume 80. USA.
Palmer, D. & Whelan, C. (2007). Policing in the ‘Communal Spaces’ of Major Event Venues. New York: Routledge.
Reed, E. W. (1999). The politics of community policing: the case of Seattle. United States: Taylor & Francis.
Webster, R. A. (2008, September 1). Walking the beat: Community policing efforts in New Orleans. United States: New Orleans CityBusiness (LA).