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The Metropolitan Police Act, 1829

Criminal justice projects also look at the history of criminal justice policy the world over. One such influencial policy was the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829. This Act was importantant in deliniating the duties of police officers.

By 1929, it was apparent that the problem of crime in London warranted some action by the government.  As such the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 was passed in to law:

And whereas it is expedient to substitute a new and more efficient System of Police in lieu of such Establishments of Nightly Watch and Nightly Police, within the Limits herein-after mentioned, and to constitute an Office of Police, which, acting under the immediate Authority of One of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, shall direct and control the whole of such new System of Police within those Limits: Be it therefore enacted… That it shall be lawful for His Majesty to cause a new Police Office to be established in the City of Westminster. The Metropolitan Police Act, 1829

Thus, after years of working to develop a private police force in the city of London, Peel’s ultimate goal had finally come to fruition.  While it was clear that the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 did not solve all of the problems associated with modern policing systems, Peel worked to define the role of the new civilian police force within the context of the existing criminal justice system and change the way that policing systems worked for the common good of the people.

Peel's Principles

Looking at each of Peel’s principles individually, the ideologies supported by Peel can clearly be seen.  To illustrate this point one only needs to consider principles two and three:

  • “The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.” 
  • “Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.” 

Peel believed that the police had a responsibility to the community that it served.  Peel strongly believed that the community should benefit as a result of police work and that police officers should have strong ties to the communities that they represented.

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