FOUNDING PRINCIPLES OF CANADIAN POLICING
By John A. Gayder
It is interesting to note that the formation of the first paid police force received strong opposition. The public was very suspicious of increased government intrusion into their lives. In 1822, Sir Robert Peel came up with Nine Principles of policing in order to calm their fear. These fears are best summed up in this passage from a report to one of the Royal Commissions hearing on this matter:
It is difficult to reconcile an effective system of police with that of perfect freedom of action and exemption from interference, which are the great privileges and blessings of society in this country…[these] are too great a sacrifice for improvements in police, of facilities in detection of crime, however desirable in themselves. – From: The Police Force, L.F. Hobley, Allman and Son, UK, 1971
Regardless of such skeptical voices, Peel did go on to establish the first "Bobbies" or "Peelers". Police forces in all Commonwealth countries can trace their ideological bloodlines back to Sir Robert Peel:
Canadian police forces have never formally subscribed to any set of principles of policing. Nevertheless, the principles on which Canadian policing developed are generally the same as those of the British police.
They were first enunciated by Sir Robert Peel in England in 1822 when he was working toward the establishment of the London Metropolitan Police, which claims to be the first organized paid police force in the English-speaking world. – From: Policing in Canada, William and Nora Kelly (Toronto: Macmillan Co. 1976)
Up until very recently, police recruits in Canada were expected to be familiar with his tenets before graduation from training. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, his Nine Principles have been watered down or co-opted by selective editing to endorse programs Peel himself not have supported.
The ideological sentiments contained in his original principals are not perfect, but are far better than the ideology fueling current trends in policing. Far from being just a list of niceties which police and the justice system should try to adhere to, they can also be described as a "recipe" or "formula" for successful policing. As any chef or chemist will tell you; deviations from the recipe or formula will result in something different than intended. Canadian policing would be safer and more effective if we would return to their usage.
Here are Sir Robert’s timeless precepts, complete and unabridged, as found in: A Short History of the British Police, (London: Oxford University Press, 1948).
PEELS NINE PRINCIPLES OF POLICING: