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Sir Robert Peel's Nine Principles: Their Relevance to Campus Policing in the 21st Century

NCJ Number
Campus Law Enforcement Journal Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2004 Pages: 30-32
Lance D. Jones
Date Published
May 2004
3 pages
This article applies Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Principles to campus police forces.
The world’s first police force was created by Sir Robert Peel in London in 1829 as a disciplined, uniformed body charged with maintaining law and order. Peel strove to distinguish the police force from the military force and in fact did not arm his police officers with firearms. He conceived of Nine Principles to guide the profession of policing. Each of these Nine Principles is described as it pertains to policing college campuses. Principle 1 contends that “the basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.” More so than any other type of police force, campus police forces exist solely to deter criminal activities. Principle 2 holds that “the ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.” The campus community must think of campus police as a resource to assist in problem resolution; without the support of the campus community there is little reason for a campus police force to exist. Principle 3 asserts that “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.” Campus police officers must be perceived as firm but fair in order to win community support. Principle 4 goes on to state that “the degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.” History has shown that the use of physical force leads to undesirable outcomes; campus police officers must not rely too heavily on the use of force. Principle 5 holds that “police seek and preserve public favor not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.” Now more than ever, the public is sensitive to the demonstration of equality on the part of police officers; if campus police officers are to have credibility, they must impartially enforce laws and school regulations. The analysis continues through Principle 9. Although written in the 1800’s, Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Principles embody the quality of police service that should be present in a free society.