Police Force

IB: what is the function and purpose of a Police force 

  • A body empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit disorder. (source)


  • the force that maintains security of by carrying out control.


  • (latin) politia- civil administration 
  • (greek) polis- city, one’s city; the state, citizens.

    The purpose of understanding the need of a police force in the modern world is a key to living freely. Thomas Jefferson composed the words in the Declaration of Independence. We, the forgetful modern people, must understand and use our history as the source code of our society. 

    Time is a wonderful mistress. She can be many things to many people, during different moments of personal interpretation. Read these words. Digests these words. Incorporate these words into your mind to create a mental weapon for personal liberty.  

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

    IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America



    Who were the police?

    • publicly owned slaves

    What was the police function?

    • crowd control 
    • dealing with criminals
    • handling prisoners
    • making arrests

    note: investigating crimes were left up to the citizens.

    Who were the police?

    • the army

    What was the police function?

    • protection
    • nightwatchman
    • firemen
    • capturing thieves, robbers, runaway slaves 


    Who were the police?

    • peacekeeping associations of armed individuals (hermandades- brotherhoods)

    What was the police function?

    • protection against: 
    • bandits
    • rural criminals
    • lawless nobility

    Who were the police?

    • constables appointed by the local lords and nobles

    What was the police function?

    • maintained order in the lands of their lords and nobles

    Early Modern

    Paris, France
    Who were the police?

    • 1st centralized, organized police force

    What was the police function?

    • ensuring peace and quiet
    • purging the city of disturbances
    • procuring abundance
    • making sure everyone lived according to their station and duties

    London, England

    Who were the police?

    • trial private force funded by the West Indies Merchants

    What was the police function?

    • theft prevention at the docks

    Metropolitan Police Force (MPF)
    Who were the police?

    • the first modern and professional police force in the world

    What was the police function?

    • centralized politically neutral force
    • maintained social order
    • protection from crime
    • visible deterrents to urban crime  and disorder

    MPF guidelines:

    • every police officer should be issued an identification number, to ensure accountability.

    • the number of arrests are not the unit to measure but the lack of crime.

    • an effective authority figure knows trust and accountability are ideal for a well functioning society.


    Princeton Wordnet