The Search for Principles

  • Michael S. Pike


A search for principles of policing must necessarily involve an examination of the historical basis of the modern police system. ‘The police are the public and the public are the police’ aptly describes the collective responsibility for law and order which existed in Anglo-Saxon times. A crime was regarded as an act contra pacem Domini1 and was not merely a crime against the victim but also a crime against the whole community. The responsibility for ‘keeping the peace’2 was placed firmly on the male population and this prompted a mutual participation by all the citizens.


Police Force Police System Police Service Royal Commission Select Committee 
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  1. 11.
    P. Colquhoun, A Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis, 7th edn, (1806) Preface.Google Scholar
  2. 15.
    P. Colquhoun, A Treatise on the Commerce and Police of the River Thames (1800) p. 24.Google Scholar
  3. 18.
    See, for example, Critchley, A History of Police in England and Wales (Constable, 1967).Google Scholar

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© Michael S. Pike 1985

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  • Michael S. Pike

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