Police Officer Preparation & Law Enforcement Resource - Archive

The REAL POLICE FORUM is a leading community of police officers and law enforcement professionals. The forum includes police chat and restricted areas for police officers only. The ask-a-cop area allows you to ask questions to real police officers and only verified police are allowed to respond. REALPOLICE.com also features law enforcement jobs, news, training materials and expert articles.




sfb92
02-24-08, 01:03 PM
The nine principles by Sir Robert Peel

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 public approval of police actions.

3. 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.

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 on 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.



http://www.magnacartaplus.org/briefings/nine_police_principles.htm#nine_principles

I recently saw the 9 principles of policing by Sir Robert Peel, and wondered how does it relate to policing today.

In my opinion it sounds great, but I wondered how practical are some of his beliefs in modern times, especially number 7, which I bolded.

It seems like in todays society most people don't view themselves as the police and don't view the police as the public. I think the majority of the people think the burden, of helping keep the communities safe, is lifted off of them because it is the job of the police to look out for the citizens.

It also seems like the government/police want people to be hands off in regards to crime, because it is the job of the police.

I'm just wondering what everyone else's opinions on the topic are. So how do you think the principles of policing fit into modern policing? (Particularly number 7.)


Cat_Doc
02-24-08, 02:31 PM
Personally, I think Sir Robert Peel was right on the money with all principals.

Regarding philosophy statement #7, I believe Peel was referring to shared problem solving between the police and the community they serve.

I think Peel meant that the citizenship should not shed a blind eye to criminal activity and should be involved by supporting the police in an endeavor for a peaceful and law abiding society. I doubt Peel meant that the citizenship should be involved in active arrests, etc., as opposed to taking active involvement in community issues and not expecting the police to solve all the problems. A criminal street gang that thrives in the neighborhood because the good people are afraid to get involved would be an example of this.

In regards to the theory that the police should be viewed as the public, I could not agree more. There is too much of a common perception of the police being robotic and elitist.

At the risk of sounding egotistical, I can relate a personal experience that might support this theory.

Early in my career, I, like many LEO's, tended to hang specifically with other cops. I missed out on friendships and positive interaction based upon community involvement through organized religion, coaching of youth sports, etc. I trusted cops, felt nobody else understood our function and mildly succumbed to the "us against them" philosophy.

As I became a supervisor and matured, I started developing close friendships with good people outside of law enforcement.

A few years ago, my wife and I met a new couple, through another set of friends. We socialized a few different times, barbeques, singing karaoke, card games, etc., before my buddy mentioned that I was a homicide detective. My new friend looked at me with a surprised expression and asked, "You're a cop?" Prior to this, I never had reason to talk about it or mention it. I told him I was, and he actually said, "Man, I would have never guessed that. You don't act like a cop."

I asked him what he meant by the "act like a cop" comment.

I could tell that he got embarrassed. But I pushed him on it.

He said something to the effect of, "Well, you have a sense of humor, laid-back attitude, not all cocky and stuck up...and I thought cops just hung out with other cops. I would have never guessed you were a cop."

The conversation went on to the point where he said he had never met a cop outside of seeing them while working or having one stop him for a traffic violation. He had formed the opinion, via non-contact in a relaxed environment, that the police were not part of the public, that they were a sect unto themselves.

Valor55
02-24-08, 02:43 PM
The conversation went on to the point where he said he had never met a cop outside of seeing them while working or having one stop him for a traffic violation. He had formed the opinion, via non-contact in a relaxed environment, that the police were not part of the public, that they were a sect unto themselves.

Unfortunately that is true, in large part I think to the media. The more they attack us for what we know is justifiable and lawful the more we withdraw into our "sect." Because of Hollyweird and the mass media the public is full of mythology about law enforcement and that drives us further into our sect mentality. I know I'm sick of questions like "Why didn't they shoot Rodney King in the leg?" You can argue until you are blue in the face but people soak up Ted Koppel and Tom Brokaw and they become the gods of reality. I just got sick of banging my head against the wall and I'd just rather hang out with other cops and their families. You don't get shocked stares when you talk about work.


Cat_Doc
02-24-08, 02:48 PM
I'd just rather hang out with other cops and their families. You don't get shocked stares when you talk about work.

I just can't stand it, Valor, when that is all they talk about. It gets old.

Valor55
02-24-08, 03:34 PM
I just can't stand it, Valor, when that is all they talk about. It gets old.

Hearing every story about getting pulled over or seeing some "bad" cop gets old too. It's a lot easier hanging with the brothers.

Cat_Doc
02-24-08, 04:23 PM
Hearing every story about getting pulled over or seeing some "bad" cop gets old too. It's a lot easier hanging with the brothers.

I have no problem hanging with Brothers. It just is no longer exclusive like it was when I first started. It took me quite a few years to grow out that.

Our Patrol Bureau Commander is also one of the "group" that I described in the post. The same guy that did not suspect me of being a cop was just as surprised to find out "Commander R" was one, also. We just don’t talk about the job when we are not working. The “job” does not consume our lives. Unfortunately, too many cops do allow this to happen.

A large portion of the guys I ride with are also cops. But, they rarely talk about the job when we are out for a cruise. And, about half the guys and gals we ride with are not cops. They are in construction, banking, small business owners and retired folks. If somebody does start up with the "Hey, I got pulled over and..." crap, we just politely tell them we are on a ride, not talking about work. It works, they drop it.

Additionally, because I am a supervisor, and an old fart :o; I shy away from the youngsters having Choir Practice. So, one could say I am a bit picky. I no longer want to be in an environment where all we do is pound beer, talk about kicking *** and chasing tail. Been there, done that.

I know enough about your character, Valor, that you certainly must have members of your faith, who are not police officers, that you associate with? That is a strong support base that does not rely strictly on job description and allows us to broaden our experiences.

My issue is when we (cops) lose sight of the big picture and become “Us against them" instead of "Us against the bad guys." I am sure you know what I mean by that.

sfb92
02-24-08, 05:37 PM
Regarding philosophy statement #7, I believe Peel was referring to shared problem solving between the police and the community they serve.

I think Peel meant that the citizenship should not shed a blind eye to criminal activity and should be involved by supporting the police in an endeavor for a peaceful and law abiding society. I doubt Peel meant that the citizenship should be involved in active arrests, etc., as opposed to taking active involvement in community issues and not expecting the police to solve all the problems. A criminal street gang that thrives in the neighborhood because the good people are afraid to get involved would be an example of this.

I wasn't sure where Sir Robert Peel was going with this concept. I thought he meant the public should take a more proactive role, because if organized policing was new, the public would've been used to doing the policing. You're opinion makes more sense.

His 9 principles sound great, but it seems like in modern times the police would need more support from the public.


In regards to the theory that the police should be viewed as the public, I could not agree more. There is too much of a common perception of the police being robotic and elitist.



Early in my career, I, like many LEO's, tended to hang specifically with other cops. I missed out on friendships and positive interaction based upon community involvement through organized religion, coaching of youth sports, etc. I trusted cops, felt nobody else understood our function and mildly succumbed to the "us against them" philosophy.

While my perspective (you're a police officer, I'm the son of one) is totally different than yours on this topic, I'm going to have to respectfully offer another opinion on why it seems like police officers mostly hang out with police officers.

My dad mostly hangs out other cops, and has many more police friends then non-cops. His non-cop friends generally come from the husbands of my mother's friends.

I've noticed that and asked my mother and she said it's partly because of his personality, he's not the one going out and seeking new friends, but also who does he spend most of his time with? Other cops.

I've always likened it to school, most of my friends are from my school, because I am with them the most.

Also I don't just think it's in police work, my mom was a stockbroker and it seemed like the majority of her friends were people she worked with.

My opinion on the subject is people hang out with who they spend the most time with, so if you work with someone, you're more likely to have a friendship with them.

I may be totally off base though on why cops hang out with cops. The cops my dad hang out with are all mostly in their forties, have older kids, and most are administrators. I don't know if that would skew my opinion.

When you talked about your new non-cop friend, I'd bet many of his friends are people he works with.

My view on the subject may be totally wrong, because I'm looking at it through my dad who is coming to the end of his career and is no longer on the streets. Also I'm just about to turn 16, so I can really only reflect on the last five years or so, plus my dad was doing this job before I was even born.

So Valor and Cat Doc obviously know way more, but this is just the take coming from a cop's family member.

Thanks for the great post Cat Doc.:)

Valor55
02-24-08, 06:06 PM
My issue is when we (cops) lose sight of the big picture and become “Us against them" instead of "Us against the bad guys." I am sure you know what I mean by that.

I guess my point is that the media has created a mythology that the public feeds into. THEY create the us vs them because they treat us like the bad guys. That drives us into the insular attitude that we have.

Cat_Doc
02-24-08, 06:17 PM
My dad mostly hangs out other cops, and has many more police friends then non-cops. His non-cop friends generally come from the husbands of my mother's friends.

This does not surprise me, one bit, SFB. There are a lot of cops that predominately socialize with other cops.

This, in my view, is one of the reasons the public has the perception they do. They really don't get to meet cops and see what kind of human beings they are. They tend to only see cops when something bad is happening or has happened.

This is also the reason you will see outside law enforcement community involvement being a highly favored factor in promotional reviews.

People on this site, however, do get to see the humorous side of cops. They get to see that cops have problems, just like every one else, and need a few prayers every once in a while. They get to see, albeit reduced by the internet, a side not a lot of others outside the career field do.

If I remember correctly, there has even been mention of this by some of our civilian members.

Cat_Doc
02-24-08, 06:33 PM
I guess my point is that the media has created a mythology that the public feeds into. THEY create the us vs them because they treat us like the bad guys. That drives us into the insular attitude that we have.

I cannot agree that this "mythology" is completely created by the media. We tend to do it to ourselves.

It seems that all we run across is the scourge of society. Damn near everyone, even victims, lie to us. We see that people are vicious, selfish, disrespectful, and at times just plain savages. We see what others cannot even comprehend.

This takes its toll on our psyche. We begin to surround ourselves with fellow cops, who think the same way we do. There is security in this.

It does not take much to enter that "Us against Them" frame of mind, in that only the cops are the good guys out there, everyone else is to be viewed with suspicion and a professional facade is adopted, even in a social environment. It becomes a self-defense mechanism.

Valor55
02-24-08, 07:17 PM
I cannot agree that this "mythology" is completely created by the media. We tend to do it to ourselves.I just see our profession portrayed as either inept boobs or corrupt criminals on tv and in the movies. Even the cops on law and order do something shady or stupid that gets key evidence suppressed in every trial. The "good" cops are often the ones who are rule breakers and buck the system which is trying to cover up corruption or generally inept. The constant barrage of these types of portrayals sinks into the general psyche of the population. We get full blown criminals show up to test for the department because they think we are crooks like them but have government protection. Add to that the constant second guessing and accusatorial news stories in the press and most people think we are corrupt and get away with it.

It seems that all we run across is the scourge of society. Damn near everyone, even victims, lie to us. We see that people are vicious, selfish, disrespectful, and at times just plain savages. We see what others cannot even comprehend.

This takes its toll on our psyche. We begin to surround ourselves with fellow cops, who think the same way we do. There is security in this.

It does not take much to enter that "Us against Them" frame of mind, in that only the cops are the good guys out there, everyone else is to be viewed with suspicion and a professional facade is adopted, even in a social environment. It becomes a self-defense mechanism.I don't doubt that we have our own problems with cynicism but I'm not pinning all the blame on us. Our society does plenty to ostracize us on its own.

Cat_Doc
02-24-08, 07:21 PM
Valor, we need to team up, maybe get a few more trusted souls involved, and see what we can do to change this.

We would be multi-millionaires if successful.

noelchabanel
02-24-08, 07:41 PM
Personally, I really appreciate being able to see the "non-business" side of cops here. I've never really had the negative opinion, and have always thought the media stereotype is way off base, but then, I grew up with cops all over the neighborhood (in a GOOD way...as relatives, friends, and neighbors ;) ) and always got to see the little-league-coaching, church-volunteering side, so I guess I am atypical--which is certainly a good thing.

highwayman
02-25-08, 12:09 AM
Unfortunately that is true, in large part I think to the media. The more they attack us for what we know is justifiable and lawful the more we withdraw into our "sect." Because of Hollyweird and the mass media the public is full of mythology about law enforcement and that drives us further into our sect mentality. I know I'm sick of questions like "Why didn't they shoot Rodney King in the leg?" You can argue until you are blue in the face but people soak up Ted Koppel and Tom Brokaw and they become the gods of reality. I just got sick of banging my head against the wall and I'd just rather hang out with other cops and their families. You don't get shocked stares when you talk about work.

The lunacy of the media has a way of effecting people doesn't it?
If all Americans laid off the TV and internet for a few hours a week and spend that time with their families instead, things wouldn't be as complicated in the world as they are now.
But that's just the way it is, and it will probably get worse and worse.

As for acquaintances who patronize me or don't like me, who cares, I don't need them and they don't need me :)

ruby0711
02-25-08, 09:05 AM
It is unfortunate that the media only seems to report about the few cops that get in trouble rather than the many that are upstanding. That is something that I am having a huge problem with in my neck of the woods, there are a few departments here in Connecticut that are going through their share of problems regarding bad behavior of some officers.

Percentage wise, it is maybe .01% of the number of officers that are employed in my state. However, the media, and the people who do not question the media, make it seem like a general problem among LE. The public does not see these disciplinary actions as a positive thing, (meaning, police do not excuse the bad behavior of their colleagues....they abhor it as much as the general population)

Heck, the MAJORITY of my (future) colleagues advise rape victims to NOT report assault, especially child victims. Their reasoning is based on attitudes of the 1950's...these 'clinicians' refuse to see how the attitude has drastically changed...they also do not see that it is mainly the defense bar that treat victims like trash...not the police. Sadly, a lot of these 'colleagues' work at a rape crisis center...:mad:

However; as a citizen, I can say that a lot of what you all do, is not public information. While I understand that certain things need to be kept secret so the criminals do not get a hold of your investigative techinques; keeping everything behind closed doors DOES breed contempt. My towns 'Use of Force' regulations is not accessable to the general public, in my opinion that creates trouble.

The best officers in my town, are the ones who keep a good relationship with the people who live here. They are the ones who get the tips of drug dealing, stealing, breaking and entering...ect. They are the ones who are approachable and easy to talk to. They are the ones who take the time to EXPLAIN why or why not someone is being charged..face it, the average citizen does not commit to memory the states statutes on crimes. Should we? Yes..but we don't and I don't think that will change. :rolleyes:

Just my .02...

Taz_bb2
02-25-08, 11:22 AM
I think that the other thing that hinders the public/police relationship is the inadequacies in justice actually being served.

The public has this misnomer that we (cops) have the power to send someone away forever. Those of us on this side of the fence know that's just not true. We know our job is to charge the person with the crime...everything after that is out of our hands.

Joe and Mary Civilian is not capable of understanding that. Most people cannot differentiate between our enforcement and the Justice system's doling of punishment. They don't understand that Mr. Bad guy only got probation because the State screwed up in the presentation of their case.

They can't grasp the fact that we are not actively involved in case preparation. We don't worked with them daily on cases. Most of us don't even talk to the DA/SA unless we have a deposition or are needed during a trial. In the grand scheme of things, what we have to offer plays a minute part in the outcome of the case.

I have seen many cases that from an evidentiary standpoint is air-tight, but yet the offender walks or is given minimal time based on the DA/SA dropping the ball in case law reference or presentation. This we have no control over, but the public does not or can not understand this. We know this, and as good intentioned as community policing/relations is, there are some bridges that cannot be forged into our realm of knowledge.

puma2
02-27-08, 11:22 PM
There are many factors that contribute to the "us vs them" police attitude / perception. Part of it is a vicious circle between the media portrayal of cops and the attitudes of cops (to hang out primarily with other cops). However, it is more complicated than that. The media focuses on the "sensational" stories about cops gone bad because it sells. The media is now about selling advertising, not reporting facts. This will not change and we must deal with it. For more on this, I encourage anyone interested to read Bernard Goldberg's book, Bias. Many people are simply more interested in the stories about bad cops than the stories about good cops. Both the media and some political figures use this to gain support and money.

Because of this, police departments need to get better at PR. In many ways this is like the problems the US has in the international community. We think that as long as we do the right thing, the virtue of our actions will be self evident. Unfortunately, this is not true. If you don't control your own PR, others will do it for you and usually not in your favor.

As a cop and a veteran, I understand first hand how both communities are somewhat insular. We like to hang out with others who understand what we have been through. However, I think it is important to get away from the job sometimes and have friends outside of the job. Many people in all different lines of work make friends with their co-workers. However, I think people with jobs like the police and the military do this much more than most people.

Going back to the original topic, it is important for cops to have friends in and relate to the community because of the symbiotic bond between the police and the community. The police can't be everywhere and see everything. The police are most effective when the community reports crimes and, better yet, suspicious activity before it becomes a crime. When the community sees cops as aliens to be feared or looked down upon, they don't report anything. Many cops see community policing as a policy pushed on the rank and file by upper management to appease the community. However, I believe community policing really does make the police more effective.