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Sir Robert Peel looked at the police force, arguably, as some people do today. He believed that peoples behavior was influenced by what they saw police do – as they were seen as authoritarian figures. Not only that, but there was no real police force when Peel began his journey. The English people were scared that being policed meant that their rights would be taken away. This, lead him to create some guidelines for policing that focused on, “community relations.” However, the reform that he tried to create was not immediately embraced and Peel’s, “principles of policing,’ were met with much distain from the created police force and the English people alike.
Peel envisioned a police force where the police were close with community and vice versa. He didn’t want the English people to be scared of having police around, but he also didn’t want the police force to be corrupt. He thought the only way to achieve this goal would be to have a police force that was dedicated to the community and focused on community relationships. It took him about seven years to make this happen, as that was how long the bill took to go through to parliament and get accepted in order to created a paid police force.
Still, Peel’s principles exist today, and they are welcomed with open arms. One of these includes creating one of the first paid police forces, but that’s not the most important one. Arguably one that is very important to us today is that he reduced the number of crimes punishable by death. Without his reform of those crimes, we may still be putting people to death for petty crimes. Eventually, Peel’s police force caught on and the British police even started getting nicknamed ‘peelers’ or ‘bobbies’ after him. In the 1840’s, the United Stated adopted what Peel and England were doing with their police force and most cities began adopting police forces too. Slowly but surely, Peel’s ideas had spread across multiple countries.
While Sir Robert Peel’s ideas still exist, though, the police force is just as corrupt as it was when it first started. It became tied with politics and politicians, crime and criminals, and just straight up greediness. Peel had good intentions with his principles of policing, but they, unfortunately, didn’t turn out that way.
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