Sir Robert Peel

portrait of Sir Robert PeelThe oldest son of a wealthy cotton manufacturer, he was educated at Harrow and Oxford, and with his fathers money, a parliamentary seat was found for him as soon as he became of age in 1809. One year later he was appointed undersecretary for war and colonies. Two years later he accepted the difficult position of chief secretary for Ireland. It was during this term in Ireland that he introduced the Act of Parliament which would bring about the formation of the Irish Peace Preservation Force.

On his return to England he accepted the post of secretary for the home department and a seat in the Cabinet. His first task was to meet the long-standing demands for a comprehensive reorganization of the criminal code. Rising crime statistics proved to him that there should be some improvement in the methods of crime prevention. To this end, in 1829 he brought about the Metropolitan Police Act and with it the first disciplined police force for Greater London. They soon became known as Bobby's boys or "bobbies".

Prior to this, in his capacity as Home Secretary, he was again involved in Irish matters. This time he introduced the Constabulary Act in 1822, and the Constabulary Police of Ireland was formed, replacing the earlier peace keepers. The London Metropolitan Police exists today and The Royal Ulster Constabulary was replaced late in 2002 by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, was also the founder of the Conservative Party, and served as Prime Minister from 1834-35 and 1841-1846. He was considered incorruptible, and was well known for his great capacity for work. He died as a result of a riding accident.