Due to new and more complex demands, the government has announced that in the future new police recruits will need a degree. This is an exciting time to be part of the policing project as private enterprise expands the policing family, extremism and cybercrimes are expanding and new digital space has opened up new possibilities for criminal activity.
What does modern policing share with the organisations set up in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel? The Peelian principles, many of which could still hold true today, give us a starting point. The principles included the central mission of preventing crime and disorder after the processes of urbanisation had thrown together more and more people in more confined and spaces.
Much of the work the police do is not glamorous, it can be dangerous, tedious, dirty, smelly, aggressive and above all contested. The nature of police work is changing, which reflects changing social conditions such as migration, rights, equality, racism, risk management and the emergence of a new space for crime to be committed in the cyber world, where almost 6 million offences affected citizens of England and Wales in 2015/16. My police career gave me a view of the world not many get to see.
What do the Police do? The list is a long one. There are preventative techniques, protection issues and detecting crime issues. For some they are symbols of state power, protecting the property of the rich and oppressors of others.
What of the demands on the individuals? More officers suffering from stress than ever before and high sickness figures. They do a difficult job and some cross the line with unethical or illegal behaviour. Sir Robert Peel knew the police had to reflect the public. This is a great demand on the police, how do they police a rapidly changing society?