The Impact of Sir Robert Peel on American Policing

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Sir Robert Peel Paper

September 26, 2011

The impact of Sir Robert Peel on American policing and its history

The English statesman Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) served as prime minister during 1834-1835 and 1841-1846. He played an important role in modernizing the British government's social and economic policies and sponsored the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. (Gale, 2004, pg.181)
Sir Robert Peel was in the great tradition of 19th-century administrative reformers. Though not a doctrinaire, he drew on the most advanced thinking of his day in his reform of British criminal law, the prisons, the police, and fiscal and economic policies. By making government a positive instrument in social reform and by his pragmatic approach to social and political problems, Peel also made an important contribution to shaping the philosophy of the modern Conservative party. (Gale, 2004, pg.181)
As chief secretary for 6 years, until 1818, Peel established a reputation for a happy mixture of firmness and compassion. Among other reforms, Peel pioneered in the establishment of a permanent Irish police force and laid the foundations for famine relief. (Gale, 2004, pg.181)
In 1821 Peel was recalled to high office as home secretary in Lord Liverpool's government. (Gale, 2004, pg.182) He remained in that office, with one brief interlude in 1827-1828, until 1830. In large part because of him, this period is known as the "age of liberal Toryism." Benthamite and evangelical reformers had long argued against Britain's legal and penal system which attempted little more than frightening citizens not to commit crimes. (Gale, 2004, pg.182) Peel went a long way toward meeting their demands by...

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