Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Policing with the public's consent

If you google "Peelian principles" you will discover that Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the modern day police force enshrined a number of principles. Here they are-

  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

A few years back when I was involved in our local Community Association we had a local bobby. It sounds unbelievable I know but only fifteen years ago the Police used to assign a full time Police Officer (not a PCSO) to our part of town. He'd patrol the area, visit the local schools, pubs and shops and be a visible presence. He even attended our meetings, as his bosses said it was a good idea. All that changed when the new Chief Constable came in. All the police were assigned to a central pool and allocated as required, which meant that we never saw a policeman or woman again as they were all in Northampton.
Our community policeman had a mantra which he'd repeat at every opportunity.
"The Police only police with the public's consent."

Which explains a lot. It explains why travellers can set up camp anywhere and terrorise whole towns. It explains why the police won't enter a gypsy camp to recover stolen goods even if they have cast iron proof that the villains are there with the loot. It explains why Peterborough is overrun with Eastern Europeans who are killing and eating all the wildlife along the Riven Nene. It explains why the huge travellers camp to the north of the city is a no-go area.

The inhabitants of these illegal camps won't consent to being policed, and the Police only police those who consent.

It explains why have a go heroes are arrested and jailed while the villains go free. It's because they don't consent to being policed you see?

And now the government want us to spy on each other and report illegal activities to the police.
Well I don't consent.

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