What is a police force
A police force is an organisation (of officers) representing the civil authority of government and, typically, responsible for:
- Maintaining public order and safety including protection of life and property
- Enforcing the law including preservation of the peace
- Preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities
These functions are known as policing.
UK police forces and crime commissioners
What does a police officer do
The College of Policing says that a police officer
- Protects the public from violence
- Provides a reassuring presence in the community
- Supports victims of crime and offer help to those who have witnessed crimes
- Investigates complex crimes using a mixture of cutting-edge technology and time-proven traditional methods
Police officer | College of Policing
The Metropolitan Police Service (London)
Surprisingly, we couldn't find a description of what the Metropolitan Police Service does though its website says:
"Met police officers play a vital role in keeping London's communities safe, whether they're on the streets, working face to face with the general public, or behind the scenes, delivering a range of specialist services and improving how we police the capital."
It goes on to state "our shared values reflect the special nature and demands of policing London. They are important to because they shape and guide the way we work". These values are professionalism, integrity, courage and compassion.
Vision and values | Metropolitan Police Service
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 therefore believed from the get-go it was essential for a police force to operate and behave ethically, retaining the trust of the public at all times.↑ Back to top