August 15, 2011
Sir Robert Peel and American Policing
The history of policing dates back several thousand years ago when there was no order or peace and inhumane acts upon citizens was the norm with religious, political, or military police acting as the law. Policing was unstable and unorganized. Citizens took the law into their own hands and served as judge, jury, and executioner. There was not such a thing as being “innocent until proven guilty.” If the community believed an individual was guilty of a crime then the community would handle the offense themselves. American policing stems from the English heritage; crime prevention and control, preventive patrol, and the quasi-military organizational method became the policing structure. The English colonists brought a criminal justice system as part of their cultural baggage (Walker & Katz, 2008, p. 24). In addition, American policing also used other features from the British system. A member of England’s elite social and political class fought to improve the structure of the law enforcement for more than 30 years. History expresses itself and acknowledges this member as the “father” of modern policing, otherwise known as Sir Robert Peel (Walker & Katz, 2008, p. 25).
After the collapse of the England law enforcement in the early nineteenth century, Sir Robert Peel took a stand to control order and organization in the law enforcement system. He fought for many years for this and finally convinced the English Parliament to create the London Metropolitan Police in 1829. The officers became known as “Bobbies” in honor of Sir Robert Peel. The London Police Department set in motion three new elements that became the structure for modern policing; mission, strategy, and organizational structure. The mission was to prevent crime before it started rather than to respond after the crime has already taken place, known as crime...