Police History: Robert Peel

The Impact of Sir Robert Peel on American Policing

Sir Robert Peel served as the Prime Minister in 1834-1835, as well as 1841-1846. Peel played an important role in modernizing the economic and social policies of the British government. In 1846, he also sponsored the repealing of the Corn Laws. Sir Robert Peel was also among the 19th-century great tradition administrative reformers. Although he was not a doctrinaire, Peel drew on the most modern thinking of his days in his reforms on the economic and fiscal policies, British criminal law, the police and the prison system. Through his pragmatic approach to political and social problems, as well as through making government an instrument of social reforms, Peel made important contributions in shaping the ideology of the modern day Conservative party.

While serving as Chief Secretary for six years, from 1813 to 1818, Peel founded a reputation for a pleased mixture of compassion and firmness. Among many other reforms, he pioneered the establishing of an Irish police force, which is permanent, and laid the grounds for famine relief.  He was recalled in 1821 to a noble office as Home Secretary in the government of Lord Liverpool. He served in that office until 1830, with a brief interlude of 1827-1828. As a result of his contribution, this period is called the “age of liberal Toryism”. Evangelical and Benthamite reformers had for long argued against the penal and legal system of Britain, which tried little more than committing crimes not to frighten citizens. Peel made considerable achievements in meeting the demands they had. He met them through establishing a system that was focused on preventing crimes, as well as reforming criminals instead of simply punishing them.

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In 1829, Robert Peel came up with the Metropolitan Police while serving as Home Secretary of England. He also came up with the noble modern police force, and the Metropolitan Police in London. In Peel’s view, policing’s real key is “the police are the people and the people are the police” (in Siegel, 2005).

The Relationship between the U.S. Government and the Policing Organizations

Police in the United States is organized in two levels. These are State and Federal levels. The Federal Level is a composition of organizations such as the Customs and Immigration Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Drug Enforcement Administration among others. Such organizations acquire their authority and power from section 8 of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. This is the one that ensures Congress’ authority to interstate commerce and regulate taxes. The FBI, for instance, pursues criminals likely to cross country and state boundaries. The DEA, on the other hand, enforces laws concerning substances, which have tax bans on them. At the State level, there are three Sub-levels of police. These are Local/City Police, County Sheriff, and State Trooper. State Troopers, is also known as Highway Patrol and State Police, have policing authority (Jurisdiction) across the entire state. It is mainly concerned with patrol areas as well as projects which are operated and maintained by State Level agencies, for instance, State Government Premises and the Highways. County Sheriffs operate and maintain county Jails as well as patrol unincorporated areas in a county. They also provide policing to Cities that contract, as local police, the Sheriff’s department. Certain Departments, for example, Sheriff’s Department in California of San Bernardino County provide rescue and search services. Local/City police patrol in City limits and serve cities. All State Policing organizations follow Penal Code of the state. County Sheriffs follow county mandates. City Police follow city ordinances and county mandates. Each state is self-governing thus has different penal codes from the rest.

American police department is setup in administrative styles and organizational structures that are bureaucratic organizations. These bureaucratic forms exist because they are the most effective ways to date which have been developed for directing and organizing different activities in pursuit of common goals (Siegel, 2005). Even if, these setups are considered the most efficient, there are certain problems associating with such form of arrangement. First, the inability to respond to external changes and inflexibility has made it impossible for the department to respond to advancements in crime. Secondly, department communication breakdown makes it hard for important information to reach the people that need it. Third, since they are self-serving, the department is kept out-of-touch of community concerns. Fourthly, they lead to morale issues and problems. Another problem is the informal aspects. These consist of informal relationships, hierarchies, friendship patterns, cliques, as well as temporary collaborations that conflict the professionalism, which the department should exhibit, following written rules of the department. There are no federal agencies in the US responsible of overseeing police departments or making sure of upholding the standards. There are minimum standards required by the government for police organizations. This is the beginning of the relationship between policing organizations and the U.S. government. Policing organizations and the government relationship are two in which the organizations must follow guidelines and laws set by the government to maintain and run organized systems. The government has come up with several laws which apply to policing organizations directly (Neocleous, 2004).

Explain How this Relationship May Affect Police Practices

The relationship between policing organization and the government may affect policing practices in a way that the government sets policing practices standards. Procedures and guidelines for police practices are being set by the government. Most of these policies are set on the grounds of the higher agency. The amount of money given to the police for equipment and supplies may affect policing practices. The government may give orders saying the police will not use guns any longer. That will affect policing practices (Walker, 1977).

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