Saturday, 13 August 2011

'The Police' Are The Public

Those clowns have clearly forgotten that, unless they think Sir Robert Peel intended that they should be The Great British Public (1) and we merely their servants, to do precisely as we are ordered immediately we are ordered, whether or not the law allows.

People do what they can and those who can only make a bloody nuisance of themselves at the expense of the public do so. Too often 'The Police' leave us feeling that all they can do is just that and no more. We need to feel that we are policed - who in his right mind would feel comfortable knowing that his house might be burned to the ground at any time - but we need to know that those who police us understand that they are our servants, and not our masters, and police us with our consent and co-operation, which is what Sir Robert Peel intended, according to Wikipedia (2):

'Peelian Principles

The Peelian principles describe the philosophy that Robert Peel developed to define an ethical police force. The principles traditionally ascribed to Peel state that:

  • Every police officer should be issued a badge number, to assure accountability for his actions. 
  • Whether the police are effective is not measured on the number of arrests, but on the lack of crime.
  • Above all else, an effective authority figure knows trust and accountability are paramount. Hence, Peel's most often quoted principle: The police are the public and the public are the police.
However, it has been suggested that Peel's list of principles was more likely authored by twentieth century policing scholars than by Peel himself; although Peel discussed the spirit of some of these principles in his speeches and other communications, researchers Lentz and Chaires found no proof that he ever actually compiled a formal list.[1]

Principles of policing
  1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
  2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
  3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
  4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
  5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
  6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
  7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
  9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.[2]
 1: Lentz, Susan A.; Chaires, Robert H. (2007). "The invention of Peel's principles: A study of policing ‘textbook’ history". Journal of Criminal Justice 35 (1): 69–79. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2006.11.016.
2: "New Westminster Police Service: Sir Robert Peel's Nine Principles". Retrieved 2009-04-22.

There was a time when most people would willingly have gone to the assistance of a constable in difficulties, and been commended, rather than condemned, for doing so.  Those days, however, are long gone and although few would actually do harm to a constable many, surely, would like to see harm done to a good many of them.

Gruff thanks to Richard North at EUReferendum for the link (No link available. The item is titled 'Our big, brave plods', date: Saturday, August 13, 2011.) to the video.

1: Much in the same way as Louis XIV of ffrance, and with much the same intention.
2: As reliable as Microsoft software and to be used only when a more trustworthy source is not necessary.

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