Law enforcement – the Police

The police are the people, and the people are the police.

This is one of the basic principles of policing, drawn from Peel in the 1800’s. If Parliament makes laws, judges interpret them then the police enforce them. But the police are not separate to the people. Instead they are the selected representatives who, in a full time capacity, police their community by consent. we all have a responsibility to maintain the law – for the police it is their job as well.

This essential fact that the police represent and work for their local community is captured in the structures we have. They are overseen by an elected local Police and Crime Commissioner, and before that by the Local Authority.

It is also clear in the history of policing, from the watchmen and constables of medieval times, to the Bow Street Runners and then Peels ‘modern’ police force.

The police¬†do not impose the will of the state on a people –¬†they are the representatives of the people whose role it is to keep law and order, because they rest of us, who also have that responsibility, have other work to do as well. The police are not separate , it is not us and them.

Rather, as Peel said, they are us, and we are them.