Monday, December 12, 2016

Lawlessness, To Be or Not To Be! It Affects Us All...

To Be or Not To Be!
by Nicholas Ashton, CEO/CIO, CommSmart Global Group - Virtual Crime Center

The period from 1674 to today, we have witnessed a transformation of policing globally. In London, a system that relied on private individuals and part-time officials, through the development of salaried officials and semi-official "thief-takers", to a modern professional police system.

In the process, the mechanisms by which people are arrested and tried in courtrooms was radically transformed and ultimately brought criminality under some semblance control.

The Maintenance of Law and Order before 1829
  1. Authorities had few resources to cope with riot, crime, and disorder.
  2. Country parishes and smaller market towns had constables and the local watch and ward. This was the old Tudor system.
  3. In London, the Bow Street Runners were set up in 1742.
  4. Troops were used to keep order.
  5. Local militias were used for local problems.
  6. Spies were used to tracking down those who were suspected of disaffection.
Since the time of the Bow Street Runners which have been called London's first professional police force. Numbered only six men, was founded in 1749 by the magistrate Henry Fielding.  Bow Street runners were the public's nickname for the officers, "although the officers never referred to themselves as runners, considering the term to be derogatory".

What was the need for these men?  Lawlessness and a society that was changing due to the Industrial Revolution.

The industrial revolution put new pressures on society, leading to violence. It was the collective living that led to the communal organization, which helped to create social disorder on a larger scale.

The Penal Code was severe with almost two hundred capital offenses and other punishments including transportation, being shipped to Australia to serve the sentence imposed. This actually encouraged more serious crime as evidenced by the idiom, "I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb". However, prisons were still dens of iniquity, even after Sire Robert Peel's reforms of the 1820s. As Home Secretary, he undertook an overhaul of the prisons and also a large-scale reform of the penal code.

The debate about the creation of a standing police force in England raged during the early part of the 19th century. Confronted with political objections and fears of potential abuse Robert Peel (later Sir Robert Peel) sponsored the first successful bill creating a bureaucratic police force in England.

In 1829 Peel's Metropolitan Police Act was passed by Wellington's government as a political compromise, the Act applying only to London. The jurisdiction of the legislation was limited to the Metropolitan London area, excluding the City of London and provinces.

  • All London's police were the responsibility of one authority, under the direction of the Home Secretary, with headquarters at Scotland Yard.
  • 1,000 men were recruited to supplement the existing 400 police.
  • Being a policeman became a full-time occupation with weekly pay of 16 shillings - and a uniform.
  • Recruits were carefully selected and trained by the Commissioners.
  • Funds came from a special Parish Rate levied by the overseers of the poor.
  • Police were responsible only for the detection and prevention of crime.
Crime and disorder were to be controlled by preventive patrols and no stipends were permitted for successful solutions of crimes or the recovery of stolen property. Crime prevention was not the only business of the new police force: they inherited many functions of the watchmen such as

  • ·         lighting lamplights
  • ·         calling out the time
  • ·         watching for fires
  • ·         providing other public services

The police officer was a ‘true’ member of the community and was policing his own family, so to speak.

The formation of the Metropolitan Police Force by Sir Robert Peel occurred on the 29th September 1829

Peel appointed Col. Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne to establish the force as much as they saw fit. On 20 July he approved the establishment of a force of 895 constables, 88 sergeants, 20 inspectors and 8 superintendents.

Sir Richard Mayne, Joint Commissioner Peel stressed that the principal duty of the police was to be crime prevention (rather than detection.) The nicknames 'Peelers' and 'Bobbies' were uncomplimentary results of his decision to make the force directly responsible to himself in the Home Office.

Peel's proposal that senior uniformed ranks should be filled from below and not brought in from the higher social classes has been followed to this day. Peel himself said that he accepted low pay for the men as he did not want any policeman feeling superior to the job or his colleagues. 

Sir Robert Peel introduced his Nine Peelian Principles:

  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that 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 on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
Over the next two weeks, we shall examine all of the Nine Principles in depth and layout their abilities for today and why we must be utilizing their foundation.

CommSmart Global Group, a LexisNexis Risk Solutions Partner will also add the Tenth Peelian Principle, which brings Digital Policing to the forefront in crime fighting demanded today.

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Copyright 2016