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6.2: Sir Robert Peel

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    The 19th century in England heavily influenced the history of policing in the United States. Not only did policing radically change for the first time in over six centuries, but the father of modern policing, Sir Robert Peel, set up the stage for what is known today as modern policing. Sir Robert Peel, the British Home Secretary, coined the term ‘bobbies’ as a nickname for cops and he believed policing needed to be restructured. In 1829 he passed the Metropolitan Police Act, which created the first British police force and what the 21st century knows for today’s modern-day police. [1]

    Sir Robert Peel

    Sir Robert Peel is best known for the Peelian Principles. He did not create the twelve principles but used a combination of previous codes that he expected police to follow. The exact historical origins of the twelve listed principles below are unknown, but it has been theorized that the principles were slowly created over the years by academics studying Peel.

    1. 1- The police must be stable efficient, and organized along military lines;
    2. 2- The police must be under government control;
    3. 3- The absence of crime will best prove the efficiency of police;
    4. 4- The distribution of crime news is essential;
    5. 5- The deployment of police strength both by time and area is essential;
    6. 6- No quality is more indispensable to a policeman than perfect command of temper; a quiet, determined manner has more effect than violent action;
    7. 7- Good appearance commands respect;
    8. 8- The securing and training of proper persons is at the root of efficiency;
    9. 9- Public security demands that every police officer be given a number;
    10. 10-Police headquarters should be centrally located and easily accessible to the people;
    11. 11-Policemen should be hired on a probationary basis; and
    12. 12-Police records are necessary to the correct distribution of police strength


    1. Cordner, G., Novak, K., Roberg, R., & Smith, B., (2017). Police & Society. New York: Oxford University Press.
    2. Cordner, G., Novak, K., Roberg, R., & Smith, B., (2017). Police & Society. New York: Oxford University Press.

    This page titled 6.2: Sir Robert Peel is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Alison S. Burke, David Carter, Brian Fedorek, Tiffany Morey, Lore Rutz-Burri, & Shanell Sanchez (OpenOregon) .