Grateful American® Foundation

Who established London’s Metropolitan Police today in 1829?

September 29th

1181638.jpgSeptember 29, 1829 — British Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel established the London’s Metropolitan Police today, hence the nicknames “bobbies” and “peelers.”

The police force replaced the old system of watchmen and eventually supplanted the River (Thames) Police and the Bow Street patrols, the latter a small body of police in London who had been organized in the mid-18th century by the novelist and magistrate Henry Fielding and his half brother, Sir John Fielding. The original headquarters of the new London police force were in Whitehall, with an entrance in Great Scotland Yard, from which the name originates. (Scotland Yard was so named because it stood on the site of a medieval palace that had housed Scottish royalty when the latter were in London on visits.)

Peel (born on 5 February 1788 in Bury, Lancashire) was twice British prime minister and his period in government saw landmark social reforms and the repeal of the Corn Laws. His father was a wealthy cotton mill owner, and Peel was educated at Oxford, entering parliament as a Tory in 1809. His early political career included appointments as under-secretary for war and colonies (1809) and chief secretary for Ireland (1812). In 1822, he become home secretary, and introduced far-ranging criminal law and prison reform.

Words of Wisdom

Peelian Police Principle 7: 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 on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

— One of nine basic principles by British Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel, which are often referred to as “The Peelian Principles.”

Partners & Supporters