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by Peter Moskos

April 17, 2014

The Real Peel

One of the reasons I like NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is that he is prone to quoting Robert Peel, the man who invented police as we know them back in 1829 London.

Bratton has reprinted "Peel's" principles online. Those nine principles are an excellent philosophical base for policing, they're just not Robert Peel's. And now the New York Times -- the Grey Lady, the paper of record -- has perpetuated this error. Not once but twice. (They don't even seem to "regret the error.")

What are known as "Peel's Nine Principles of Policing" do not come from Robert Peel. They come from a 1948 book on British Policing. Does this matter? I don't know, but I do like to get my facts straight. Mind you, Peel might not disagree with the nine principles attributed to him, they're just not his. (I've written about this before). And if you want a handy one-page easy-to-print pdf that I give to my students, here you go.

So what are Peel's actual principles? Based on the original 1829 Patrol Guide, I see five:
1) The purpose of police is to prevent crime.
2) Know your beat; patrol your beat.
3) Maintain order.
4) Use common sense and discretion.
5) Be polite and control your temper (it may save your ass).
Those aren't bad rules to live by

1 comment:

Bob G. said...

I've always thought Bratton was one of the (really) GOOD guys out there.

And his take on the 1829 Peel policing "procedures" is timeless.
Sounds like a PLAN to me.
(and a damn good one).

Roll safe out there.