I battled a sandstorm and some ornery camels to film this video about Sir Robert Peel while camping in the desert of Wadi Rum. After you watch the video, scroll down for some out-takes…

Sir Robert Peel was a Prime Minister of England and served as the Home Secretary during the 1820s. In England, the Home Secretary is somewhat like our Attorney General in the US. And while he was Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel founded the London Metropolitan Police, perhaps the first professionally trained, non-military police force in history. He founded them on nine basic principles, often called Peel’s Principles or Peelian principles. To this day we still call policemen in England “Bobbies” in honor of Sir Bobby Peel. His principles are still amazingly relevant to our practice of policing today. One of them says this:

Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

He didn’t use the term, but Peel is describing Coactive Policing.

If you want to see some out-takes including my attempt to film this segment in the middle of a sandstorm and me getting thrown off of my camel as soon as we finished filming, watch below…

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11 Responses to Sir Robert Peel on Coactive Policing – from Wadi Rum

  1. Bernard Wilson says:


    Or, perhaps not. The Thames River Police was formed in 1798. The Met absorbed them in 1839, deploying them as “The Thames Division.” Their duties, updated, are now performed by the Marine Police Unit of the Metropolitan Police Service.

    But, there’s at least one that is even older. The Romans allowed the Jews to have a “Temple Police” to enforce laws on the Temple Mount.

    • Sheriff Ray says:

      Thanks for the comment. Your point is well taken and that is why I have learned to use the word “perhaps” quite regularly in my postings. There is always some bit of history that I am not aware of. Do you know to what level these forces were trained? I know there have been many “police” forces over the years, and the Temple Police are a great example, but how many of them could be considered “professionally trained.” Then again, we will be getting into definitions because certainly all of them were trained to some degree. Thanks again for the dialog….


  2. Bob Russell says:

    Hi Ray;

    I don’t have any experience regarding community policing but have been to presentations on the concept at criminology conferences over the years.

    I was involved with the Ontario Provincial Poolice as an Auxilary Police Constable from 1979 to 1990 as therefore I understand the concepts of law enforcement.

    I have done some reading on Sir Robert Peel and as you know “Peelers” were started best of the growing crime problem in London.

    Sir Robert Peel also said,” the police are public and the public are the police”.

    Appears Community Policing is living proof of Sir Robert Peels above made statement.


    Posted by Bob Russell via LinkedIn

    • Sheriff Ray says:

      Great points, Bob. I mention that very quote on the video and use it frequently in my Police Dynamics training. It comes from Principle #7. Peel understood that, and many other concepts, that we sometimes take for granted today. Although we would do well to be reminded of them often…

      I try to refrain from using the term Community Policing, because it has been so misunderstood and misapplied. I like the term Coactive Policing because I think it is more descriptive. We’re having the same problem over here in Afghanistan, where I work with a number of your colleagues from Canada. People are using the term Community Policing without agreeing on what it means. I don’t think the Afghans are ready for that jump yet, although clearly they need to be more connected with their community. Right now, they just need to transition to a Civilian model of policing…

      Sheriff Ray

      • I would imagine that this is a difficult concept for those folks to comprehend seeing their history of almost 1,000 years of constant conflict and military occupations from one government after another.
        Add to the mix the corruption and the officers divided loyalties and people probably don’t trust their police very much.
        Posted by Randall Smith via LinkedIn

  3. Coactive Policing is another term that has been in police jargon for many years…The New York City Police Department instituted CPOP, community policing officer program in the late 70’s early 80’s as did many other large departments across the country…However, the success or failure was dependent on the police officer’s ability to interact proactively and not reactively with the citizens of their jurisdiction…Appropriate training is the key to the successful implementation of any program…
    Posted by Dr. Joseph A. Finley, Jr. via LinkedIn

  4. Tim Niven says:

    Policing by public consent. Is there any other way?
    There are nine basic principals because each must work with the other. Ray seems to have taken Principle No:7 as the foundation for his incursion, although I’m sure he’s kept the other 8 in mind. Is that right, Ray?

    Posted by Tim Niven via LinkedIn

    • Sheriff Ray says:


      Absolutely. As far as I am concerned, there is no other way. But regretfully, that basic foundation has been lost on many agencies throughout the world.

      All nine of Peel’s principles provide an excellent blueprint for professional policing. An article came out in a British newspaper a few years ago that said Scotland Yard had “rediscovered” Peel’s principles. I didn’t know they were lost! If they had contacted me, I would have been glad to give them a copy… But they heralded the “discovery” as the greatest advancement in British policing in the last 40 years…!

      Sheriff Ray

      • Tim Niven says:

        It never ceases to amaze me how the proverbial ‘wheel’ is continually reinvented. I’m all for moving forward and grasping new ideas, but, we should always bring with us the ‘foundations stones’ that form the basis of our profession. We know what works, so why not use it.

        To announce as ‘lost’, the very essence of our professional being, is deplorable. How on earth can police leaders declare themselves as a ‘people’s police’ and ‘policing by public consent’, when they have no access, or ability to refer, to the ideals they are striving to attain.

        Ray. You hang on to those nine rules. Someone somewhere will be needing them. Keep your ‘size tens’ handy for the ‘kicking’ when you hand them over.

        Posted by Tim Niven

  5. ALAN PAICE says:

    I agree completely with the your points on moving forward, if I could add a couple that came to mind whilst reading. During my time in training ( yes aware of the comments those that do etc, yes was operational, l got into training to give something back from experiences)
    I was thankfully initially trained by the old school methods/instructors with the principles and simple effective content learnt in at least the pevious 50 years, what I consider as Foundation. Having been in training then for the last twenty years of my sevice, I was present when several fundamental policies/principles/legislation incidents caused fundamental changes/reveiws. What tended to happen was the “thats old school, things have moved on, it was different in your day” types of thinking. The changes were often driven by New teaching bodies and heads of departments/budgetary constraints the new broom changing/rooms lobby.
    Yes new ideas can be good if there is a benefit/ improvement/need/risk etc but the point I am trying to make is the introduction of the new teach/policy/method criteria was to remove all material relating to the old methods, which many did not even understand why the were there/origins in the first place – the foundation. I had it explained to me by a head of department once that a particular part of training was akin to a conveyor belt in Tescos/Sainsburies – you/ we can only afford to put a certain amount on the belt something has to fall off! ( iam not critiscising him his hand were tied too). My argument was if you shop to what the budget holders/new brooms want you will go hungry, someone will starve, and you will have to go back to the store. I spent a lot of time trying to retain certain content, but it was like trying to push string uphill.

    The training wheel was changed so much that for the student and at times the service we had a wheel that was no longer round but was now square, yes it could have sides pointing in each direction but it no longer rotated. It is now thankfully more hexagonal , sort of bumps along but does quite rotate smoothly.

    Sorry if I am getting off on a tangent but one of my interests is/was IEDs. their study is like stamp collecting, the collection of new types only gets bigger but the fundamental design concept is the same. If you want to become expert in the field(no iam not) your training/studycourse can only get longer with time – but you never, ever, forget the fundametals.

    The other point to have lost professionalism, really hurts, I dont think we lost it, it was allowed to slowly decay with chunks being hacked off at every crsis/reveiw, How did policing survive for decades as a respected public service? along with National health and Education – tehey are all now run as businesses.

    Posted by ALAN PAICE via LinkedIn

  6. […] Sir Robert Peel said, “The police are the public and the public are the police.” But your citizens don’t necessarily see it that way. They view crime as a police problem, not […]

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Sheriff Ray Nash

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