Police Originated From ‘Slave Catching Patrols’

From CCN:

Take any course on criminal justice or any history course addressing this period in British history and they will all unequivocally inform you that the Metropolitan Police Service was the first professional police force in human history, and it did not emerge until 1829.

But this model did not make it’s way to the United States through the same route…

Instead, inspired by this approach, the United States first adopted the community policing model for the purposes of organizing “slave patrols.” That is, the first implementation of Peel’s “community policing” model did not happen until the days of slave revolts – Nat Turner and John Brown – when more and more human beings, kept in forced captivity and labor, took the risks to run away for the freedom of the Northern states.


The concept of a professional police force was copied from London’s Metropolitan Police Department which had been established in 1829. These “peace” agents were called Peelers or Bobbies after Sir Robert Peel, founder of the institution. The American version of these agents were known as coppers, because they wore copper stars as badges on their uniforms. They were available 24/7, carried guns and were “trained to think of themselves as better than the working class they were recruited from.”

In order for the police force to be effective, Peel believed it should work under his Principles of Law Enforcement which explicitly stated an ideology summarized in the following nine points:

  1. The police exist to prevent crime and disorder.

  2. Police must maintain public respect and approval in order to perform their duties.

  3. Willing cooperation of the public to voluntarily observe laws must be secured.

  4. Police use of force depends on the degree of cooperation of the public.

  5. The police must be friendly to all members of society while enforcing the law in a non-biased manner.

  6. Use of physical force should be used to the extent necessary to secure the compliance of the law.

  7. Police are the public and public are the police.

  8. Police should protect and uphold the law not the state.

  9. Efficiency is measured by the absence of crime and disorder.

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