In 1829 Sir Robert Peel established the Metropolitan police force following certain ethics referred to as Peelian principles. Essential to those principles is the concept that police officers are citizens in uniform who exercise their powers with the consent of other citizens and to serve their fellow citizens. The idea of policing by consent was so successful that these principles became an essential part of police culture throughout the UK.
However, in recent times, official home office statistics show that (between April 2020 and April 2021 in England and Wales) the police failed to solve 95% of all burglaries! Despite this poor performance, the police are always present in large numbers at public protests. They are also very active in promoting various political agendas, such as policing the internet, suppressing free speech and enforcing so called hate crimes.
In the recent resignation/dismissal of the Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick, by Sadiq Kahn, it seems police culture and political considerations are the main issues at stake, with Khan calling for a deep review of police culture. The home secretary Priti Patel is expected to have widely differing ideas for her best replacement candidate!
In the current authoritarian political environment where the police are so under the thumbs of their political masters, you have to ask yourself, what percentage of police resources are actually utilised to protect the victims of real crime from actual criminals, and what percentage of police resources are utilised to simply further various political aims, control the citizens and protect the state itself, from the citizens at large?
It would seem political considerations, rather than Peelian principles, are now at the fore front of police culture and that the police force primarily serves political masters, rather than ordinary citizens, or the actual victims of crime.
Since Martyn wrote this piece the story has moved on. After Cressida Dick’s ‘removal‘, the Police Federation in the Met have passed a resolution stating no confidence in Sadiq Khan. This party calls for the full restoration of Peelian Principles which starts with policing with consent. That does not mean a paramilitary force designed to crack the heads of opposition, as proposed by Priti Patel.