"one who or that which pares off the rind" of fruit, etc., 1590s, agent noun from peel (v.). In Middle English it meant "robber, thief" (mid-14c.), and in American English it meant "person of exceptional or unusual qualities" (1833). Meaning "strip-tease artist" (1951) is from peel (v.) in the colloquial sense of "strip off clothing" (1785).
Sense of "policeman," 1817, British colloquial, originally a member of the Irish constabulary, named for Sir (at that time Mr.) Robert Peel (1788-1850) who founded the Irish Constabulary and later improved the police system of London. Compare bobby.