Crime Control and Policing

The Development of Policing

The police force as we know it today has experienced numerous changes. Policing was initially carried out by specific members of society. Without a definite policing structure in place, it was up to individuals and communities to keep law and order within themselves. The constables and judges volunteered to fill these positions. The only full-time employees charged with managing law enforcement operations in England and their numerous colonies were shire reeves, today known as sheriffs (Cizanckas and Hanna 2014). The system played a significant role in the history of policing all over the world as it initiated a structural formality that could be emulated across the globe.

The Need for a New Approach

However, the policing system was doomed to fail due to the population explosion in the urban areas in England and the United States of America. In the early 1700s, the system could not be sustained anymore due to riots and civil unrest in the cities. The period was marked by increased chaos as systems and societies experienced drastic changes brought about by revolutions and economic progress. These challenges and experiences prompted the community and authorities to formulate a solution that was not only permanent but also adopted a professional approach that would carry out the official authority of the government at the community level (Michael 2016, pp.283-283).

The Advantages and Limitations of Community Policing

The community policing had many advantages apart from its impact on modern-day policing. The policing exercise did not incur exorbitant maintenance costs and required minimal financial support as opposed to modern systems. Additionally, the practice encouraged community harmony since each member of the society knew their neighbours, and disputes rarely ended up in courts. The policing exercise was hardly manipulated because there was no single person in control of the exercise. Despite the benefits, community policing had some limitations, which necessitated an improvement and shift from the exercise. The community design was unable to contain civil unrest and major security issues since policing was done voluntarily. The voluntary nature and lack of professional accountability contributed to inefficiency since some individuals were reluctant to engage in any voluntary duties. Additionally, there was a lack of an established formal system that would handle reports from civilians and preserve records for future reference.

The Establishment of a Centralized Police System

The modern-day police system was as a result of advocacy by sociologists, philosophers, and the evolving criminology groups. Philosophers like Jeremy Bentham championed for a centralized police force to protect the citizenry and ensure that there is order. In 1829, a metropolitan police service was established in London by one Robert Peel regarded as the father of modern policing. However, the public met the establishment of a centralized police system with a lot of resistance (Allen and Barzel, 2009, pp.540-567). The public had many worries and doubts concerning the centralized system causing numerous riots and resistance against the police system. The people feared that the police might end up behaving like another arm of the military mayhem at the local level. Other concerns were that the government controlled the police and could use such establishments to oppress the citizens rather than offer the promised services. The system was new and had not been exercised anywhere in the world which caused public uncertainties.

The Principles and Role of the Police

As part of the police development, Peel provided a framework of what the police force should be comprised of as well as the police conduct in an effort to control public resistance (Timothy 2017). The frameworks formed the basis for the present day principles of policing with a key focus on preventing crime and maintaining order. Also, the police rely on the trust and approval of the public to do their job effectively. Policing aims to achieve voluntary compliance with the law. They also adhere to the law and are unwavering to their duties and physical force where excessive force is only recommended as a last resort. Police have the duty and primary purpose of serving the community. The Police effectiveness is not measured by the number of arrests made but by the rates and absence of criminal conduct.

Evolution and Accountability of the Police

The approach adopted by Peel offered guidelines that reduced societal concerns. Public fears were minimized through measures that differentiated the police and the military. Measures included not carrying guns by the police force to gain public support and attract public trust (Black 2013). However, as the population continued to increase as well as the uprising, crime, and terrorism, there was an increased need to arm the police to ensure order.

The Impact of Modern Policing

The ancient policing system served as a foundation upon which the modern policing system was established. The system identified vital positions which are currently in use including the sheriff position and police ranks. The police developments had a significant impact on accountability and governance. The United States has a fragmented police system that is found at the federal, state, and local levels. The modern-day police developments have resulted in a more accountable force as compared to the previous units due to higher accountability rates and adoption of significant technological advancements. They are responsible for the prevention of wrongdoings and service delivery as they are well-equipped and prepared to undertake their daily tasks in a civilized and professional manner. They are supervised and monitored by their line managers, and their operations and actions are always reviewed continuously to align with the current situations. Accountability is also facilitated by the presence of complaints departments accessible to the public where all the allegations are investigated and disciplinary measures initiated.


Allen, D. and Barzel, Y., 2009. The Evolution of Criminal Law and Police during the Pre-modern Era. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organisation, 27(3), pp.540-567.

Black, D., 2013. The manners and customs of the police. New York: Academic Press.

Cizanckas, V. and Hanna, D., 2014. Modern police management and organisation. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Michael, R., 2016. Recent Book: Modern Police Administration Schultz Donaldo. Ed.: Modern Police Administration. Gulf Publishing Co. The Police Journal, 53(3), pp.283-283.

Timothy, R., 2017. The History of Modern Policing. [Online] The Balance. Available at: [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

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