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England’s Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 (the “Police Act”) resulted in a new police force and law enforcement practices that were revolutionary in the history of law enforcement. Sir Robert Peel drafted and introduced the Police Act in response to serious crime problems and social disorder in London in the early 1800s, and in doing so, he had to delicately balance the strong historical sense of English personal liberty with the need to prevent crime and enforce the criminal laws. Peel’s Principles, as articulated in the Police Act, had an important historic effect on policing in the United States and, in particular, community policing as it was conceived and as we know it today. This entry provides information on the history of the Police Act, ...

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