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Metropolitan Police Service

About policing

Principles and values

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)  states its principles are communities-first, frontline-focused, inclusive, collaborative, and precise, while its values are integrity, courage, accountability, respect, and empathy.

Typically, a police force represents the civil authority of a government responsible for the following:

  • Maintaining public order and safety, including the protection of life and property
  • Enforcing the law, including the preservation of the peace
  • Preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities

MPS doesn't say anything along these lines on its website though Peelian principles (on which MPS was founded) are referenced on page 67 of A New Met for London 2023-25. We raise this because being stopped, searched, questioned, arrested and /or charged by MPS is what a police force does while its principles and values go to how it would like to be seen and regarded when doing its job. They go hand in hand and knowing both these things goes to the level of confidence and trust we have in the police.

And, just in case there is any confusion: should an officer see you cottaging, or see drugs at a chemsex party responding to a 999 call, it's their job to uphold the law, not ignore evidence they may see or hear regardless of whether MPS presents itself as community-orientated, inclusive, respectful and empathetic, or marches at Pride.

Policing by consent

The core functions listed above are the bedrock of "policing by consent". In the British model of policing, officers use their powers to police with the implicit consent or permission of the public (that's you), often referred to as "Policing by consent." This approach was set out by Sir Robert Peel in 1829 when he established the Metropolitan Police, the first official police force in England. Peel understood from the get-go that, in terms of numbers alone, any police force would always be inferior, so could not hope to enforce the law effectively without the consent of the public. For example, if the public were to become aggressive or violent - preventing the police the opportunity to do their duty - it would be impossible for them to do so. Peel believed it was essential for a police force to operate and behave ethically, retaining the trust of the public at all times.


Peelian principles | Wikipedia
Definition of policing by consent | Home Office | FOI release | 10 Dec 2012
Law enforcement in the United Kingdom | Wikipedia

Community Engagement Handbook 2022 | MPS
Law enforcement in the United Kingdom | Wikipedia
Police UK (England and Northern Ireland)
Scotland UK
Republic of Ireland

UK police forces and crime commissioners

List of police forces of the United Kingdom | Wikipedia
UK Police and Crime Commissioners | Police UK

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