Police
Overview
The police is a personification of the state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 and reduce civil disorder
Civil disorder
Civil disorder, also known as civil unrest or civil strife, is a broad term that is typically used by law enforcement to describe one or more forms of disturbance caused by a group of people. Civil disturbance is typically a symptom of, and a form of protest against, major socio-political problems;...

 in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force. The term is most commonly associated with police services of a state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 that are authorized to exercise the police power
Police power
In United States constitutional law, police power is the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health, and safety of their inhabitants...

 of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as organizations separate from any military forces, or other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie
Gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

 and military police
Military police
Military police are police organisations connected with, or part of, the military of a state. The word can have different meanings in different countries, and may refer to:...

 are military units charged with policing.

Law enforcement, however, constitutes only part of policing activity.
Encyclopedia
The police is a personification of the state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 and reduce civil disorder
Civil disorder
Civil disorder, also known as civil unrest or civil strife, is a broad term that is typically used by law enforcement to describe one or more forms of disturbance caused by a group of people. Civil disturbance is typically a symptom of, and a form of protest against, major socio-political problems;...

 in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force. The term is most commonly associated with police services of a state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 that are authorized to exercise the police power
Police power
In United States constitutional law, police power is the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health, and safety of their inhabitants...

 of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as organizations separate from any military forces, or other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie
Gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

 and military police
Military police
Military police are police organisations connected with, or part of, the military of a state. The word can have different meanings in different countries, and may refer to:...

 are military units charged with policing.

Law enforcement, however, constitutes only part of policing activity. Policing has included an array of activities in different situations, but the predominant ones are concerned with the preservation of order. In some societies, in the late 18th century and early 19th century, these developed within the context of maintaining the class system and the protection of private property.

Alternative names for police force include constabulary
Constabulary
Constabulary may have several definitions.*A civil, non-paramilitary force consisting of police officers called constables. This is the usual definition in Britain, in which all county police forces once bore the title...

, gendarmerie
Gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

, police department, police service, crime prevention
Crime prevention
Crime prevention is the attempt to reduce victimization and to deter crime and criminals. It is applied specifically to efforts made by governments to reduce crime, enforce the law, and maintain criminal justice.-Studies:...

, protective services, law enforcement agency, civil guard
Civil Guard
The Civil Guard , often abbreviated in Hebrew to Mash'az is a volunteer organization of Israeli citizens which assists in daily police work. It is a subdivision of the Israel Police.-Organization:...

 or civic guard
Civic Guard
Civic Guard may refer to:* Garda Síochána in Ireland* Schutterij in the Netherlands...

. Members can be police officers, troopers
Trooper (police rank)
Trooper is a rank used by several civilian police forces in the United States. In its plural form, troopers, it generally refers to members of state highway patrol or state police agencies, even though those officers may not necessarily be of the rank of trooper.For example, in the Louisiana State...

, sheriff
Sheriff
A sheriff is in principle a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country....

s, constable
Constable
A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions.-Etymology:...

s, ranger
Ranger
-Law enforcement:* Arizona Rangers* California State Rangers* Colorado Mounted Rangers* Council ranger, a type of officer in Australia* Newfoundland Rangers* New Mexico Rangers* Pakistan Rangers, a Pakistani paramilitary force* Texas Ranger Division...

s, peace officer
Peace officer
A law enforcement officer , in North America, is any public-sector employee or agent whose duties involve the enforcement of laws. The phrase can include police officers, prison officers, customs officers, immigration officers, bailiffs, probation officers, parole officers, auxiliary officers, and...

s or civic/civil guards. Police of the Soviet-era Eastern Europe are (or were) called militsiya
Militsiya
Militsiya or militia is used as an official name of the civilian police in several former communist states, despite its original military connotation...

. The Irish police are called the Garda Síochána
Garda Síochána
, more commonly referred to as the Gardaí , is the police force of Ireland. The service is headed by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are located in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.- Terminology :...

 ("guardians of the peace"); a police officer is called a garda. As police are often in conflict with individuals, slang terms are numerous. Many slang terms for police officers are decades or centuries old with lost etymology.

Etymology

First attested in English c.1530, the word police comes from Middle French
Middle French
Middle French is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from 1340 to 1611. It is a period of transition during which:...

 police, in turn from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 politia, which is the latinisation
Latinisation (literature)
Latinisation is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style. It is commonly met with for historical personal names, with toponyms, or for the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than Romanisation, which is the writing of a word in the Latin alphabet...

 of the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 πολιτεία (politeia), "citizenship, administration, civil polity" and that from πόλις (polis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

), "city". In ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 the term πολισσόος (polissoos), referred to a person who was "guarding a city". This term comes from polis + the verb σῴζω (sōizō), "I save, I keep".

Ancient China

Law enforcement in Ancient China
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

 was carried out by "prefects". The notion of a "prefect" in China has existed for thousands of years. The prefecture system developed in both the Chu
Chu (state)
The State of Chu was a Zhou Dynasty vassal state in present-day central and southern China during the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States Period . Its ruling house had the surname Nai , and clan name Yan , later evolved to surname Mi , and clan name Xiong...

 and Jin kingdoms of the Spring and Autumn period. In Jin, dozens of prefects were spread across the state, each having limited authority and employment period.

In Ancient China, prefects were government officials appointed by local magistrates, who reported to higher authorities such as governors, who in turn were appointed by the head of state, usually the emperor of the dynasty. The prefects oversaw the civil administration of their "prefecture
Prefecture (China)
The term Prefectures, or the more formal prefectural level divisions, in the context of China, is used to refer to several unrelated political divisions in both ancient and modern China. Other than provincial level divisions, prefectural level divisions are not mentioned in the Chinese constitution...

", or jurisdiction.

Prefects usually reported to the local magistrate, just as modern police report to judges. Under each prefect were "subprefects" who helped collectively with law enforcement of the area. Some prefects were responsible for handling investigations, much like modern police detectives.

Eventually the concept of the "prefecture system" would spread to other cultures such as Korea and Japan. Law enforcement in Ancient China was also relatively progressive, allowing for female prefects. Some examples of ancient Chinese prefects include: Chong Fu – prefect of the Ying District in the East Han Dynasty and Qing Tsao – prefect of the modern Shang-tung Province. An example of a female prefect would by Lady Qu of Wuding (serving 1531-ca. 1557).

Recent portrayals of prefects in modern popular culture include Jet Li
Jet Li
The fame gained by his sports winnings led to a career as a martial arts film star, beginning in mainland China and then continuing into Hong Kong. Li acquired his screen name in 1982 in the Philippines when a publicity company thought his real name was too hard to pronounce...

’s portrayal of the nameless prefect in the movie Hero
Hero (2002 film)
Hero is a 2002 wuxia film directed by Zhang Yimou. Starring Jet Li as the nameless protagonist, the film is based on the story of Jing Ke's assassination attempt on the King of Qin in 227 BC....

.

Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, publicly owned slaves were used by magistrates as police. In Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, a group of 300 Scythian slaves (the , "rod-bearers") was used to guard public meetings to keep order and for crowd control
Crowd control
Crowd control is the controlling of a crowd, to prevent the outbreak of disorder and prevention of possible riot. Examples are at soccer matches, when a sale of goods has attracted an excess of customers, refugee control, or mass decontamination and mass quarantine situations . It calls for gentler...

, and also assisted with dealing with criminals, handling prisoners, and making arrests. Other duties associated with modern policing, such as investigating crimes, were left to the citizens themselves.

Roman Empire

In most of the Empire, the Army, rather than a dedicated police organization, provided security. Local watchmen were hired by cities to provide some extra security. Magistrates such as Procurator Fiscal
Procurator Fiscal
A procurator fiscal is a public prosecutor in Scotland. They investigate all sudden and suspicious deaths in Scotland , conduct Fatal Accident Inquiries and handle criminal complaints against the police A procurator fiscal (pl. procurators fiscal) is a public prosecutor in Scotland. They...

s and quaestor
Quaestor
A Quaestor was a type of public official in the "Cursus honorum" system who supervised financial affairs. In the Roman Republic a quaestor was an elected official whereas, with the autocratic government of the Roman Empire, quaestors were simply appointed....

s investigated crimes. There was no concept of public prosecution, so victims of crime or their families had to organize and manage the prosecution themselves.

Under the reign of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, when the capital had grown to almost one million inhabitants, 14 wards were created; the wards were protected by seven squads of 1,000 men called "Vigiles
Vigiles
The Vigiles or more properly the Vigiles Urbani or Cohortes Vigilum were the firefighters and police of Ancient Rome.-History:...

", who acted as firemen and nightwatchmen. Their duties included apprehending thieves and robbers and capturing runaway slaves. The Vigiles were supported by the Urban Cohorts who acted as a heavy duty anti-riot force and then even the Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

 if necessary.

Medieval England

The Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 system of maintaining public order since the Norman conquest was a private system of tithings, led by a constable
Constable
A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions.-Etymology:...

, which was based on a social obligation for the good conduct of the others; more common was that local lords and nobles were responsible to maintain order in their lands, and often appointed a constable
Constable
A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions.-Etymology:...

, sometimes unpaid, to enforce the law.

Along with the Ordinance of 1233 that required the appointment of watchmen, the Assize of Arms of 1252
Assize of Arms of 1252
The Assize of Arms of 1252, also called the Ordinance of 1252, was a proclamation of King Henry III of England concerning the enforcement of the Assize of Arms of 1181, and the appointment of constables to summon men to arms, quell breaches of the peace, and to deliver offenders to the...

 which required the the appointment of constables to summon men to arms, quell breaches of the peace
Breach of the peace
Breach of the peace is a legal term used in constitutional law in English-speaking countries, and in a wider public order sense in Britain.-Constitutional law:...

, and to deliver offenders to the sheriff
Sheriff
A sheriff is in principle a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country....

, is cited as one of the earliest creation of the English police, as was the Statute of Westminster 1285
Statute of Westminster 1285
The Statute of Westminster of 1285, like the Statute of Westminster 1275, is a code in itself, and contains the famous clause De donis conditionalibus , one of the fundamental institutes of the medieval land law of England...

.

Spain

Modern police in Europe has a precedent in the Hermandad
Hermandad
Hermandad, literally "brotherhood" in Spanish, was a peacekeeping association of armed individuals, which became characteristic of municipal life in medieval Spain, especially in Castile....

es
, or "brotherhoods", peacekeeping associations of armed individuals, a characteristic of municipal life in medieval Spain, especially in Castile
Castile and León
Castile and León is an autonomous community in north-western Spain. It was so constituted in 1983 and it comprises the historical regions of León and Old Castile...

. As medieval Spanish kings often could not offer adequate protection, protective municipal leagues began to emerge in the 12th century against bandits and other rural criminals, and against the lawless nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 or to support one or another claimant to the crown.

These organizations were intended to be temporary, but became a long-standing fixture of Spain. The first recorded case of the formation of a hermandad occurred when the towns and the peasantry of the north united to police the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

 in Galicia, and protect the pilgrims against robber knights.

Throughout the Middle Ages such alliances were frequently formed by combinations of towns to protect the roads connecting them, and were occasionally extended to political purposes. Among the most powerful was the league of North Castilian and Basque ports, the Hermandad de las marismas: Toledo
Kingdom of Toledo
The Kingdom of Toledo was the juridical definition of a Christian medieval kingdom in what is now central Spain, created after Alfonso VI of León's capture of Toledo in 1085.-Background:...

, Talavera, and Villarreal.

As one of their first acts after the war of succession, Ferdinand
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 and Isabella
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

 established the centrally organized and efficient Holy Brotherhood (Santa Hermandad) as a national police force. They adapted an existing brotherhood to the purpose of a general police acting under officials appointed by themselves, and endowed with large powers of summary jurisdiction even in capital cases. The original brotherhoods continued to serve as modest local police units until their final suppression in 1835.

Holy Roman Empire

The Fehmic courts
League of the Holy Court
The Vehmic courts, Vehmgericht, holy vehme, or just the Vehm, also spelt Feme, are names given to a "proto-vigilante" tribunal system of Westphalia active during the later Middle Ages, based on a fraternal organisation of lay judges called “free judges” . The principal seat of the courts was in...

 of Germany provided some policing in the absence of strong state institutions.

France

The Gendarmerie is the direct descendant of the Marshalcy of the ancien régime
Ancien Régime in France
The Ancien Régime refers primarily to the aristocratic, social and political system established in France from the 15th century to the 18th century under the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties...

, more commonly known by its French title, the Maréchaussée. During the Middle Ages, there were two Grand Officers of the Kingdom of France with police responsibilities: The Marshal of France and the Constable of France. The military policing responsibilities of the Marshal of France were delegated to the Marshal's provost, whose force was known as the Marshalcy because its authority ultimately derived from the Marshal. The Marshalcy dates back to the Hundred Years War, and some historians trace it back to the early twelfth century. Another organisation, the Constabulary (French: Connétablie), was under the command of the Constable of France. The constabulary was regularised as a military body in 1337. Under King Francis I (who reigned 1515–1547), the Maréchaussée was merged with the Constabulary. The resulting force was also known as the Maréchaussée, or, formally, the Constabulary and Marshalcy of France (French: connétablie et maréchaussée de France). During the revolutionary period, Marshalcy commanders generally placed themselves under the local constitutional authorities. As a result, the Maréchaussée, whose title was associated with the king, was not disbanded but simply renamed gendarmerie nationale in February 1791. Its personnel remained unchanged, and the role remained much as it was. However, from this point, the gendarmerie, unlike the Marshalcy, was a fully military force.

The first police force in the modern sense was created by the government of King Louis XIV in 1667 to police the city of Paris, then the largest city in Europe. The royal edict, registered by the Parlement
Parlement
Parlements were regional legislative bodies in Ancien Régime France.The political institutions of the Parlement in Ancien Régime France developed out of the previous council of the king, the Conseil du roi or curia regis, and consequently had ancient and customary rights of consultation and...

of Paris on 15 March 1667 created the office of lieutenant général de police ("lieutenant general of police"), who was to be the head of the new Paris police force, and defined the task of the police as "ensuring the peace and quiet of the public and of private individuals, purging the city of what may cause disturbances, procuring abundance, and having each and everyone live according to their station and their duties".

This office was first held by Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie
Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie
Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie is considered to be the founder of the first modern police force.-Early career:Born in 1625 in Limoges, France to a poor family, Gabriel Nicolas made a wealthy marriage in 1645 and took the name of Reynie, a minor lordship with an annual income of 200 pounds. He was a...

, who had 44 commissaires de police (police commissioners) under his authority. In 1709, these commissioners were assisted by inspecteurs de police (police inspectors). The city of Paris was divided into 16 districts policed by the commissaires, each assigned to a particular district and assisted by a growing bureaucracy. The scheme of the Paris police force was extended to the rest of France by a royal edict of October 1699, resulting in the creation of lieutenants general of police in all large French cities and towns.

After the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, Napoléon I
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 reorganized the police in Paris and other cities with more than 5,000 inhabitants on 17 February 1800 as the Prefecture of Police
Prefecture of Police
The Prefecture of Police , headed by the Prefect of Police , is an agency of the Government of France which provides the police force for the city of Paris and the surrounding three suburban départements of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne...

. On 12 March 1829, a government decree created the first uniformed police in France, known as sergents de ville ("city sergeants"), which the Paris Prefecture of Police's website claims were the first uniformed policemen in the world.

Britain and Ireland

In England a system of sheriff
Sheriff
A sheriff is in principle a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country....

s, reeves
Reeve (England)
Originally in Anglo-Saxon England the reeve was a senior official with local responsibilities under the Crown e.g. as the chief magistrate of a town or district...

, and investigative "juries
Jury
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the guilt, or lack thereof, in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be guilty,...

" had developed under the Anglo-Saxons to provide basic security and law enforcement.

After the Norman conquest, these institutions remained though their roles changed. Sheriffs in particular were responsible for keeping law and order, although they were responsible to the king and represented his interests.

In the United Kingdom, the development of police forces was much slower than in the rest of Europe. The British police function was historically performed by private watchmen (existing from 1500 on), thief-taker
Thief-taker
In English legal history, a thief-taker was a private individual hired to capture criminals. The widespread establishment of professional police in England did not occur until the 19th century...

s, and so on. The former were funded by private individuals and organisations and the latter by privately funded rewards for catching criminals, who would then be compelled to return stolen property or pay restitution.

In 1285 the statute of Winchester
Winchester
Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

 obliged the authorities of every town to keep a watch at the city gates and 'arrest all suspicious night walkers' The constable organised the watch and any strangers were handed over to him and taken to court.

The first use of the word police ("Polles") in English comes from the book "The Second Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England" published in 1642

In London, night watchmen were the first paid law enforcement body in the country, augmenting the force of unpaid constables. They guarded the streets since 1663. They were later nicknamed 'Charlies', probably after the reigning monarch King Charles II.

In 1737, George II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

 began paying some London and Middlesex watchmen with tax moneys, beginning the shift to government control. In 1749 Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones....

 began organizing a force of quasi-professional constables known as the Bow Street Runners
Bow Street Runners
The Bow Street Runners have been called London's first professional police force. The force was founded in 1749 by the author Henry Fielding and originally numbered just six. Bow Street runners was the public's nickname for these officers, "although the officers never referred to themselves as...

. The Macdaniel affair
Macdaniel affair
The Macdaniel affair or Macdaniel scandal occurred in England in 1754 when it came to light that a gang, led by Stephen MacDaniel, had been prosecuting innocent men to their deaths in order to collect reward money. It was an unintended consequence of British government rewards for the capture of...

 added further impetus for a publicly salaried police force that did not depend on rewards. Nonetheless, In 1828, there were privately financed police
Private police
Private police are law enforcement bodies that are owned and/or controlled by non-governmental entities.These can be firms to which the government contracts out police work Private police are law enforcement bodies that are owned and/or controlled by non-governmental entities.These can be firms to...

 units in no fewer than 45 parishes within a 10-mile radius of London.

The word "police" was borrowed from French into the English language in the 18th century, but for a long time it applied only to French and continental European police forces. The word, and the concept of police itself, was "disliked as a symbol of foreign oppression" (according to Britannica 1911).

Before the 19th century, the first use of the word "police" recorded in government documents in the United Kingdom was the appointment of Commissioners of Police for Scotland in 1714 and the creation of the Marine Police
Marine Police Force
The Marine Police Force, sometimes known as the Thames River Police and said to be England's first Police force, was formed by magistrate Patrick Colquhoun and a Master Mariner, John Harriott, in 1798 to tackle theft and looting from ships anchored in the Pool of London and the lower reaches of the...

 in 1798 (set up to protect merchandise at the Port of London
Port of London
The Port of London lies along the banks of the River Thames from London, England to the North Sea. Once the largest port in the world, it is currently the United Kingdom's second largest port, after Grimsby & Immingham...

). This force is still in operation today as part of the Metropolitan Police and is the oldest police force in the world. Even today, many British police forces are referred to officially by the term "Constabulary" rather than "Police".

On 30 June 1800, the authorities of Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, Scotland successfully petitioned the government to pass the Glasgow Police Act
Glasgow Police Act 1800
The Glasgow Police Act 1800 was an Act of Parliament passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which established a professional police force for the city of Glasgow. Under the Act, this police force was placed under the control of the Lord Provost, three magistrates and nine elected...

 establishing the City of Glasgow Police
City of Glasgow Police
The City of Glasgow Police was the police of the City of Glasgow, Scotland. In the 17th century, Scottish cities used to hire watchmen to guard the streets at night, augmenting a force of unpaid citizen constables. On June 30, 1800, the authorities of Glasgow, successfully petitioned the British...

. . Other Scottish towns soon followed suit and set up their own police forces through acts of parliament.

The first organized police force in Ireland came about through the Peace Preservation Act of 1814, but the Irish Constabulary Act of 1822 marked the true beginning of the Royal Irish Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary
The armed Royal Irish Constabulary was Ireland's major police force for most of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police controlled the capital, and the cities of Derry and Belfast, originally with their own police...

. Among its first duties was the forcible seizure of tithe
Tithe
A tithe is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in cash, cheques, or stocks, whereas historically tithes were required and paid in kind, such as agricultural products...

s during the "Tithe War
Tithe War
The Tithe War was a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience, punctuated by sporadic violent episodes, in Ireland between 1830-36 in reaction to the enforcement of Tithes on subsistence farmers and others for the upkeep of the established state church - the Church of Ireland...

" on behalf of the Anglican clergy from the mainly Catholic population as well as the Presbyterian minority.

The Act established a force in each barony with chief constable
Chief Constable
Chief constable is the rank used by the chief police officer of every territorial police force in the United Kingdom except for the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police, as well as the chief officers of the three 'special' national police forces, the British Transport Police, Ministry...

s and inspectors general under the control of the civil administration at Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle off Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland, was until 1922 the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland...

. By 1841 this force numbered over 8,600 men.

The force had been rationalized and reorganized in an 1836 act and the first constabulary code of regulations was published in 1837. The discipline was tough and the pay poor. The police also faced unrest among the Irish rural poor, manifested in organizations like the Ribbonmen, which attacked landlords and their property.

On 29 September 1829, the Metropolitan Police Act
Metropolitan Police Act 1829
The Metropolitan Police Act 1829 was an Act of Parliament introduced by Sir Robert Peel and passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act established the Metropolitan Police of London , replacing the previously disorganized system of parish constables and watchmen...

 was passed by Parliament, allowing Sir Robert Peel
Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 December 1834 to 8 April 1835, and again from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846...

, the then home secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

, to found the London Metropolitan Police
Metropolitan Police Service
The Metropolitan Police Service is the territorial police force responsible for Greater London, excluding the "square mile" of the City of London which is the responsibility of the City of London Police...

. This promoted the preventive role of police as a deterrent to urban crime and disorder.
These police are often referred to as "Bobbies" or "Peelers" after Sir Robert (Bobby) Peel, who introduced the Police Act. They became a model for the police forces in most countries, such as the United States, and most of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. Bobbies can still be found in many parts of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

. The primary role of the police in Britain was keeping the Queen's Peace
Queen's peace
The Queen's peace is the term used in the Commonwealth realms to describe the protection the monarch, in right of each state, provides to his or her subjects...

, which continues into the present day.

Development of Theory

In Western culture, the contemporary concept of a police paid by the government was developed by French legal scholars and practitioners in the 17th and early 18th centuries, notably with Nicolas Delamare's Traité de la Police ("Treatise on the Police"), first published in 1705. The German Polizeiwissenschaft
Polizeiwissenschaft
Polizeiwissenschaft was a discipline born in the first third of the 18th century which lasted until the middle of the 19th century.Considered as the science of the internal order of the community, it was a comprehensive term, which included today's...

(Science of Police) was also an important theoretical formulation of police.

As conceptualized by the Polizeiwissenschaft
Polizeiwissenschaft
Polizeiwissenschaft was a discipline born in the first third of the 18th century which lasted until the middle of the 19th century.Considered as the science of the internal order of the community, it was a comprehensive term, which included today's...

, the police had an economic and social duty ("procuring abundance"). It was in charge of demographics
Demographics
Demographics are the most recent statistical characteristics of a population. These types of data are used widely in sociology , public policy, and marketing. Commonly examined demographics include gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, and even location...

 concerns and of empowering the population, which, according to mercantilist theory, was to be the main strength of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. Thus, its functions largely overreached simple law enforcement activities and included public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

 concerns, urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 (which was important because of the miasma theory of disease
Miasma theory of disease
The miasma theory held that diseases such as cholera, chlamydia or the Black Death were caused by a miasma , a noxious form of "bad air"....

; thus, cemeteries were moved out of town, etc.), and surveillance of prices.

Development of modern police was contemporary to the formation of the state, later defined by sociologist Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

 as achieving a "monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force" and which was primarily exercised by the police and the military. Marxist theory situates the development of the modern state as part of the rise of capitalism, in which the police are one component of the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

's repressive apparatus for subjugating the working class.

British Empire

In British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

, policing was initially provided by local elected officials. For instance, the New York Sheriff's Office was founded in 1626, and the Albany County Sheriff's Department in the 1660s. In the colonial period, policing was provided by elected sheriffs and local militias.

In Canada, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is a police force in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It provides policing to the communities of St. John's and the Northeast Avalon Peninsula, Corner Brook, Churchill Falls, and Labrador City....

 was founded in 1729, making it the first police force in present day Canada. It was followed in 1834 by the Toronto Police, and in 1838 by police forces in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 and Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

. A national force, the Dominion Police
Dominion Police
In 1868 the Dominion Police began as a police force protecting the Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and by 1911 it served as Canada's eastern police force .In May 1918, the 969...

, was founded in 1868. Initially the Dominion Police provided security for parliament, but its responsibilities quickly grew. The famous Royal Northwest Mounted Police was founded in 1873.

Australia

In Australia the first police force having centralised command as well as jurisdiction over an entire colony was the South Australia Police
South Australia Police
The South Australia Police is the police force of the Australian state of South Australia. It is an agency of the Government of South Australia within the South Australian Department of Justice.-History:...

, formed in 1838 under Henry Inman
Henry Inman (police commander)
Henry Inman , cavalry officer, Pioneer of South Australia, founder and first commander of the South Australia Police, overlander, Anglican clergyman.-Origins:...

.

However, whilst the New South Wales Police Force was established in 1862, it was made up from a large number of policing and military units operating within the then Colony of New South Wales and traces its links back to the Royal Marines. The passing of the Police Regulation Act of 1862 essentially tightly regulated and centralised all of the police forces operating throughout the Colony of New South Wales.

The New South Wales Police Force remains the largest police force in Australia in terms of personnel and physical resources. It is also the only police force that requires its recruits to undertake university studies at the recruit level and has the recruit pay for their own education.

In the Americas

Brazil

In 1566, the first police investigator of Rio de Janeiro was recruited. By the seventeenth century, most "capitanias" already had local units with law enforcement functions. On 9 July 1775 a Cavalry Regiment was created in Minas Gerais for maintaining law and order. In 1808, the Portuguese royal family relocated to Brazil, due to the French invasion of Portugal. King João VI established the "Intendência Geral de Polícia" (General Police Intendancy) for investigations. He also created a Royal Police Guard for Rio de Janeiro in 1809. In 1831, after independence, each province started organizing its local "military police", with order maintenance tasks. The Federal Railroad Police was created in 1852.

United States

The United States has a system of policing based on the modern English (British) Form.

In 1789 the US Marshals Service was established, followed by other federal services such as the US Parks Police (1791) and US Mint Police (1792). The first city police services were established in Philadelphia in 1751, Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 in 1807, Boston in 1838, and New York in 1845. The US Secret Service was founded in 1865 and was for some time the main investigative body for the federal government.
After the civil war, policing became more para-military in character, with the increased use of uniforms and military ranks. Before this, sheriff's offices had been non-uniformed organizations without a para-military hierarchy.

In the American Old West
American Old West
The American Old West, or the Wild West, comprises the history, geography, people, lore, and cultural expression of life in the Western United States, most often referring to the latter half of the 19th century, between the American Civil War and the end of the century...

, policing was often very poor quality. The Army often provided some policing alongside poorly resourced sheriff
Sheriff
A sheriff is in principle a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country....

s and temporarily organised posses
Posse comitatus (common law)
Posse comitatus or sheriff's posse is the common-law or statute law authority of a county sheriff or other law officer to conscript any able-bodied males to assist him in keeping the peace or to pursue and arrest a felon, similar to the concept of the "hue and cry"...

. Public organizations were supplemented by private contractors, notably the Pinkerton National Detective Agency
Pinkerton National Detective Agency
The Pinkerton National Detective Agency, usually shortened to the Pinkertons, is a private U.S. security guard and detective agency established by Allan Pinkerton in 1850. Pinkerton became famous when he claimed to have foiled a plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln, who later hired...

, which was hired by individuals, businessmen, local governments and the federal government. At its height, the Pinkerton Agency's numbers exceeded those of the standing army of the United States.

In recent years, in addition to federal, state, and local forces, some special districts have been formed to provide extra police protection in designated areas. These districts may be known as neighborhood improvement districts, crime prevention districts, or security districts.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 ruled that police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm.

There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States.

Other countries

In Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, modern police were established in 1861, with creation of the Gendarmerie
Gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

.

Personnel and organization

In most Western police forces, perhaps the most significant division is between preventive (uniformed) police and detective
Detective
A detective is an investigator, either a member of a police agency or a private person. The latter may be known as private investigators or "private eyes"...

s. Terminology varies from country to country.

Police functions include protecting life and property, enforcing criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

, criminal investigations, regulating traffic, crowd control, and other public safety duties.

Uniformed police

Preventive Police, also called Uniform Branch, Uniformed Police, Uniform Division, Administrative Police, Order Police, or Patrol, designates the police which patrol and respond to emergencies and other incidents, as opposed to detective services. As the name "uniformed" suggests, they wear uniform
Uniform
A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Modern uniforms are worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates...

s and perform functions that require an immediate recognition of an officer's legal authority, such as traffic control, stopping and detaining motorists, and more active crime response and prevention.

Preventive police almost always make up the bulk of a police service's personnel. In Australia and Britain, patrol personnel are also known as "general duties" officers. Atypically, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

's preventive police are known as Military Police.

Detectives

Police detective
Detective
A detective is an investigator, either a member of a police agency or a private person. The latter may be known as private investigators or "private eyes"...

s are responsible for investigations and detective work. Detectives may be called Investigations Police, Judiciary/Judicial Police, and Criminal Police. In the UK, they are often referred to by the name of their department, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
Criminal Investigation Department
The Crime Investigation Department is the branch of all Territorial police forces within the British Police and many other Commonwealth police forces, to which plain clothes detectives belong. It is thus distinct from the Uniformed Branch and the Special Branch.The Metropolitan Police Service CID,...

. Detectives typically make up roughly 15%–25% of a police service's personnel.

Detectives, in contrast to uniform police, typically wear 'business attire' in bureaucratic and investigative functions where a uniformed presence would be either a distraction or intimidating, but a need to establish police authority still exists. "Plainclothes" officers dress in attire consistent with that worn by the general public for purposes of blending in.

In some cases, police are assigned to work "undercover
Undercover
Being undercover is disguising one's own identity or using an assumed identity for the purposes of gaining the trust of an individual or organization to learn secret information or to gain the trust of targeted individuals in order to gain information or evidence...

", where they conceal their police identity to investigate crimes, such as organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 or narcotic
Narcotic
The term narcotic originally referred medically to any psychoactive compound with any sleep-inducing properties. In the United States of America it has since become associated with opioids, commonly morphine and heroin and their derivatives, such as hydrocodone. The term is, today, imprecisely...

s crime, that are unsolvable by other means. In some cases this type of policing shares aspects with espionage.

Despite popular conceptions promoted by movies and television, many US police departments prefer not to maintain officers in non-patrol bureaus and divisions beyond a certain period of time, such as in the detective bureau, and instead maintain policies that limit service in such divisions to a specified period of time, after which officers must transfer out or return to patrol duties. This is done in part based upon the perception that the most important and essential police work is accomplished on patrol in which officers become acquainted with their beats, prevent crime by their presence, respond to crimes in progress, manage crises, and practice their skills.

Detectives, by contrast, usually investigate crimes after they have occurred and after patrol officers have responded first to a situation. Investigations often take weeks or months to complete, during which time detectives spend much of their time away from the streets, in interviews and courtrooms, for example. Rotating officers also promotes cross-training in a wider variety of skills, and serves to prevent "cliques" that can contribute to corruption or other unethical behavior.

Auxiliary

Police may also take on auxiliary
Auxiliary police
Auxiliary police or special constables in England) are usually the part-time reserves of a regular police force. They may be armed or unarmed. They may be unpaid volunteers or paid members of the police service with which they are affiliated...

 administrative duties, such as issuing firearms licenses. The extent that police have these functions varies among countries, with police in France, Germany, and other continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

an countries handling such tasks to a greater extent than British counterparts.

Specialized units

Specialized preventive and detective groups exist within many law enforcement organizations either for dealing with particular types of crime, such as traffic law enforcement and crash investigation, homicide
Homicide
Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

, or fraud; or for situations requiring specialized skills, such as underwater search
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

, aviation
Aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

, explosive device disposal
Bomb disposal
Bomb disposal is the process by which hazardous explosive devices are rendered safe. Bomb disposal is an all encompassing term to describe the separate, but interrelated functions in the following fields:*Military:...

 ("bomb squad"), and computer crime
Computer crime
Computer crime, or cybercrime, refers to any crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. Netcrime refers to criminal exploitation of the Internet. Such crimes may threaten a nation’s security and financial health...

.

Most larger jurisdictions also employ specially selected and trained quasi-military units armed with military-grade weapons for the purposes of dealing with particularly violent situations beyond the capability of a patrol officer response, including high-risk warrant service and barricaded suspects. In the United States these units go by a variety of names, but are commonly known as SWAT
SWAT
A SWAT team is an elite tactical unit in various national law enforcement departments. They are trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities of regular officers...

 (Special Weapons And Tactics) teams.

In counter insurgency
Counter insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 type campaigns, select and specially trained units of police armed and equipped as light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 have been designated as police field forces who perform paramilitary type patrols and ambushes whilst retaining their police powers in areas that were highly dangerous.

Because their situational mandate typically focuses on removing innocent bystanders from dangerous people and dangerous situations, not violent resolution, they are often equipped with non-lethal tactical tools like chemical agents, "flashbang" and concussion grenades, and rubber bullets. The London Metropolitan police's Specialist Firearms Command
Specialist Firearms Command
Central Operations Specialist Firearms Command is a Central Operations branch within Greater London's Metropolitan Police Service. The Command is responsible for providing a firearms-response capability, assisting the rest of the service, which is normally unarmed...

 (CO19) is a group of armed police used in dangerous situations including hostage taking, armed robbery/assault and terrorism.

Military police

Military police may refer to:
  • a section of the military solely responsible for policing the armed forces (referred to as provosts
    Provost (military police)
    Provosts are military police whose duties are policing solely within the Armed Forces, as opposed to Gendarmerie duties in the civilian population. However, many countries use their gendarmerie for provost duties....

    )
  • a section of the military responsible for policing in both the armed forces and in the civilian population (most gendarmerie
    Gendarmerie
    A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

    s, such as the French Gendarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri
    Carabinieri
    The Carabinieri is the national gendarmerie of Italy, policing both military and civilian populations, and is a branch of the armed forces.-Early history:...

     and the Portuguese Republican National Guard
    Portuguese Republican National Guard
    The term Republican National Guard may refer to:*Italian National Republican Guard*Portuguese National Republican Guard...

     also known as GNR)
  • a section of the military solely responsible for policing the civilian population (such as the Romanian Gendarmerie)
  • the civilian preventative police of a Brazilian state (Policia Militar)
  • an Special Military law enforcement Service, like the Russian Military Police
    Russian Military Police
    Russian Military Police is a law enforcement body within the Russian Armed Forces, operated by the Russian Ministry of Defence. The Chief of Military Police is ex officio the First Deputy Minister of Defense...


Religious police

Some Islamic societies have religious police, who enforce the application of Islamic Sharia law. Their authority may include the power to arrest unrelated males and females caught socializing, anyone engaged in homosexual behavior or prostitution; to enforce Islamic dress-codes, and store closures during Islamic prayer time.

They enforce Muslim dietary laws, prohibit the consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages and pork, and seize banned consumer products and media regarded as un-Islamic, such as CDs/DVDs of various Western musical groups, television shows and film. In Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, religious police actively prevent the practice or proselytizing of non-Islamic religions within Saudi Arabia, where they are banned.

Varying jurisdictions

Police forces are usually organized and funded by some level of government. The level of government responsible for policing varies from place to place, and may be at the national, regional or local level. In some places there may be multiple police forces operating in the same area, with different ones having jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

 according to the type of crime or other circumstances.

For example in the UK policing is primarily the responsibility of a regional police force; however specialist units exist at the national level. In the US policing there is typically a state police force, but crimes are usually handled by local police forces which usually only cover a few municipalities. National agencies, such as the FBI, only have jurisdiction over federal crimes or those with an interstate component.

In addition to conventional urban or regional police forces, there are other police forces with specialized functions or jurisdiction. In the United States, the federal
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 government has a number of police forces with their own specialized jurisdictions.

Some example are the Federal Protective Service
United States Federal Protective Service
The Federal Protective Service is the federal police force of the Secretary of Homeland Security. As a component of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate within DHS Headquarters, FPS is responsible for law enforcement and security of nearly 9,000...

, which patrols and protects government buildings; the postal police
United States Postal Inspection Service
The United States Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service. Its jurisdiction is defined as "crimes that may adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S...

, which protect postal buildings, vehicles and items; the Park Police
United States Park Police
The United States Park Police is one of the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agencies in the United States. It functions as a full service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service areas primarily located in the Washington, D.C., San...

, which protect national parks, or Amtrak Police
Amtrak Police
The Amtrak Police is a railroad police agency that acts as the security and law enforcement agency of Amtrak, a passenger train system in the United States...

 which patrol Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 stations and trains..

There are also some government agencies which perform police functions in addition to other duties. The U.S. Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 carries out many police functions for boaters.

In major cities, there may be a separate police agency for public transit systems, such as the New York City Port Authority Police or the MTA police
MTA Police
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police, or MTA Police, is the police agency of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA...

, or for major government functions, such as sanitation, or environmental functions.

Global policing

Policing plays an increasingly important role in United Nations peacekeeping
United Nations peacekeeping
Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the Organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace"...

 and this looks set to grow in the years ahead, especially as the international community
International community
The international community is a term used in international relations to refer to all peoples, cultures and governments of the world or to a group of them. The term is used to imply the existence of common duties and obligations between them...

 seeks to develop the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

 and reform security institutions in States recovering from conflict.

Transnational policing

The term transnational policing entered into use in the mid-1990s as a description for forms of policing that transcended the boundaries of the sovereign nation state (Sheptycki, 1995). It is distinguished against the terms ‘international policing’ and ‘global policing’. The former term would seem to indicate only those types of policing that are formally directed by institutions usually responsible for international affairs (for example the State Department in the US, the Foreign Office in the UK, etc.). The later term would seem to indicate only those forms of policing that are fully global in scope.

Transnational policing pertains to all those forms for policing that, in some sense, transgress national borders. This includes a variety of practices, but cross-border police cooperation, criminal intelligence exchange between police agencies working in different nation-states, and police development-aid to weak, failed or failing states are the three types that have received the most scholarly attention.

Historical studies reveal that policing agents have undertaken a variety of cross-border police missions for many years (Deflem, 2004). For example, in the 19th century a number of European policing agencies undertook cross-border surveillance because of concerns about anarchist agitators and other political radicals. A notable example of this was the occasional surveillance by Prussian police of Karl Marx during the years he remained resident in London. The interests of public police agencies in cross-border co-operation in the control of political radicalism and ordinary law crime were primarily initiated in Europe, which eventually led to the establishment of Interpol before the Second World War. There are also many interesting examples of cross-border policing under private auspices and by municipal police forces that date back to the 19th century (Nadelmann, 1993). It has been established that modern policing has transgressed national boundaries from time to time almost from its inception. It is also generally agreed that in the post–Cold War era this type of practice became more significant and frequent (Sheptycki, 2000).

Not a lot of empirical work on the practices of transnational information and intelligence sharing has been undertaken. A notable exception is James Sheptycki
James Sheptycki
James Sheptycki is a Professor of Criminology at York University, Toronto, Canada. He received a Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics in 1991 and was an ESRC post-doctoral research fellow and lecturer in the Centre for Criminology and the Social and Philosophical Study of Law at...

's study of police cooperation in the English Channel region (2002), which provides a systematic content analysis of information exchange files and a description of how these transnational information and intelligence exchanges are transformed into police case-work. The study showed that transnational police information sharing was routinized in the cross-Channel region from 1968 on the basis of agreements directly between the police agencies and without any formal agreement between the countries concerned. By 1992, with the signing of the Schengen Treaty which formalized aspects of police information exchange across the territory of the European Union, there were worries that much, if not all, of this intelligence sharing was opaque, raising questions about the efficacy of the accountability mechanisms governing police information sharing in Europe (Joubert and Bevers, 1996).

Studies of this kind outside of Europe are even rarer, so it is difficult to make generalizations, but one small-scale study that compared transnational police information and intelligence sharing practices at specific cross-border locations in North America and Europe confirmed that low visibility of police information and intelligence sharing was a common feature (Alain, 2001). Intelligence-led policing is now common practice in most advanced countries (Ratcliffe, 2007) and it is likely that police intelligence sharing and information exchange has a common morphology around the world (Ratcliffe, 2007).) James Sheptycki
James Sheptycki
James Sheptycki is a Professor of Criminology at York University, Toronto, Canada. He received a Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics in 1991 and was an ESRC post-doctoral research fellow and lecturer in the Centre for Criminology and the Social and Philosophical Study of Law at...

 has analyzed the effects of the new information technologies on the organization of policing-intelligence and suggests that a number of ‘organizational pathologies’ have arisen that make the functioning of security-intelligence processes in transnational policing deeply problematic. He argues that transnational police information circuits help to “compose the panic scenes of the security-control society”. The paradoxical effect is that, the harder policing agencies work to produce security, the greater are feelings of insecurity.

Police development-aid to weak, failed or failing states is another form of transnational policing that has garnered attention. This form of transnational policing plays an increasingly important role in United Nations peacekeeping and this looks set to grow in the years ahead, especially as the international community seeks to develop the rule of law and reform security institutions in States recovering from conflict (Goldsmith and Sheptycki, 2007) With transnational police development-aid the imbalances of power between donors and recipients are stark and there are questions about the applicability and transportability of policing models between jurisdictions (Hills, 2009).

Perhaps the greatest question regarding the future development of transnational policing is: in whose interest? At a more practical level, the question translates into one about how to make transnational policing institutions democratically accountable (Sheptycki, 2004). For example, according to the Global Accountability Report for 2007 (Lloyd, et al. 2007) Interpol had the lowest scores in its category (IGOs), coming in tenth with a score of 22% on overall accountability capabilities (p. 19). As this report points out, and the existing academic literature on transnational policing seems to confirm, this is a secretive area and one not open to civil society involvement.

Weapons

In many jurisdictions, police officers carry firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

s, primarily handguns, in the normal course of their duties. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, and New Zealand, with the exception of specialist units, officers do not carry firearms as a matter of course.

Police often have specialist units for handling armed offenders, and similar dangerous situations, and can (depending on local laws), in some extreme circumstances, call on the military (since Military Aid to the Civil Power
Military Aid to the Civil Power
Military aid to the civil power is assistance by the armed forces to the civil authorities of the state with the provision of specialist equipment or trained personnel...

 is a role of many armed forces). Perhaps the most high-profile example of this was, in 1980 the Metropolitan Police
Metropolitan police
Metropolitan Police is a generic title for the municipal police force for a major metropolitan area, and it may be part of the official title of the force...

 handing control of the Iranian Embassy Siege
Iranian Embassy Siege
The Iranian Embassy siege took place from 30 April to 5 May 1980, after a group of six armed men stormed the Iranian embassy in South Kensington, London. The gunmen took 26 people hostage—mostly embassy staff, but several visitors and a police officer, who had been guarding the embassy, were also...

 to the Special Air Service
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

.

They can also be equipped with non-lethal
Non-lethal force
Non-lethal weapons, also called less-lethal weapons, less-than-lethal weapons, non-deadly weapons, compliance weapons, or pain-inducing weapons are weapons intended to be less likely to kill a living target than are conventional weapons...

 (more accurately known as "less than lethal" or "less-lethal") weaponry, particularly for riot control
Riot control
Riot control refers to the measures used by police, military, or other security forces to control, disperse, and arrest civilians who are involved in a riot, demonstration, or protest. Law enforcement officers or soldiers have long used non-lethal weapons such as batons and whips to disperse crowds...

. Non-lethal weapons include batons
Club (weapon)
A club is among the simplest of all weapons. A club is essentially a short staff, or stick, usually made of wood, and wielded as a weapon since prehistoric times....

, riot control agents, rubber bullet
Rubber bullet
Rubber bullets are rubber or rubber-coated projectiles that can be fired from either standard firearms or dedicated riot guns. They are intended to be a non-lethal alternative to metal projectiles...

s and electroshock weapons. Police officers often carry handcuffs
Handcuffs
Handcuffs are restraint devices designed to secure an individual's wrists close together. They comprise two parts, linked together by a chain, a hinge, or rigid bar. Each half has a rotating arm which engages with a ratchet that prevents it from being opened once closed around a person's wrist...

 to restrain suspects. The use of firearms or deadly force
Deadly force
Deadly force, as defined by the United States Armed Forces, is the force which a person uses, causing—or that a person knows, or should know, would create a substantial risk of causing—death or serious bodily harm...

 is typically a last resort only to be used when necessary to save human life, although some jurisdictions (such as Brazil) allow its use against fleeing felons and escaped convicts. A "shoot-to-kill" policy was recently introduced in South Africa, which allows police to use deadly force against any person who poses a significant threat to them or civilians. With the country having one of the highest rates of violent crime, president Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is the President of South Africa, elected by parliament following his party's victory in the 2009 general election....

 states that South Africa needs to handle crime differently than other countries.

Communications

Modern police forces make extensive use of radio communications equipment, carried both on the person and installed in vehicles, to co-ordinate their work, share information, and get help quickly. In recent years, vehicle-installed computers have enhanced the ability of police communications, enabling easier dispatching of calls, criminal background checks on persons of interest to be completed in a matter of seconds, and updating the officer's daily activity log and other required reports on a real-time basis. Other common pieces of police equipment include flashlight
Flashlight
A flashlight is a hand-held electric-powered light source. Usually the light source is a small incandescent lightbulb or light-emitting diode...

s/torches, whistle
Whistle
A whistle or call is a simple aerophone, an instrument which produces sound from a stream of forced air. It may be mouth-operated, or powered by air pressure, steam, or other means...

s, and police notebook
Police notebook
A police notebook, pocket notebook or PNB is a notebook used by police officers to officially record details and incidents while on patrol...

s and "ticketbooks" or citations
Summons
Legally, a summons is a legal document issued by a court or by an administrative agency of government for various purposes.-Judicial summons:...

.

Vehicles

Police vehicles are used for detaining, patrolling and transporting. The common Police patrol vehicle is an improved four door sedan (saloon in British English). Police vehicles are usually marked with appropriate logos and are equipped with sirens and lightbars to aid in making others aware of police presence.

Unmarked vehicles are used primarily for sting operations or apprehending criminals without alerting them to their presence. Some police forces use unmarked or minimally marked cars for traffic law enforcement, since drivers slow down at the sight of marked police vehicles and unmarked vehicles make it easier for officers to catch speeders and traffic violators. This practice is controversial, with for example, New York State banning this practice in 1996 on the grounds that it endangered motorists who might be pulled over by people impersonating police officers.

Motorcycles are also commonly used, particularly in locations that a car may not be able to access, to control potential public order situations involving meetings of motorcyclists and often in escort duties where the motorcycle policeman can quickly clear a path for the escorted vehicle. Bicycle patrols are used in some areas because they allow for more open interaction with the public. In addition, their quieter operation can facilitate approaching suspects unawares and can help in pursuing them attempting to escape on foot.

Police departments use an array of specialty vehicles such as helicopters, airplanes, watercraft, command post, vans, trucks, all terrain vehicles, motorcycles, and SWAT armored vehicles.

Other safety equipment

Police cars may also contain fire extinguisher
Fire extinguisher
A fire extinguisher or extinguisher, flame entinguisher is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations...

s or defibrillators.

Strategies

The advent of the police car, two-way radio
Two-way radio
A two-way radio is a radio that can both transmit and receive , unlike a broadcast receiver which only receives content. The term refers to a personal radio transceiver that allows the operator to have a two-way conversation with other similar radios operating on the same radio frequency...

, and telephone in the early 20th century transformed policing into a reactive strategy that focused on responding to calls for service
Calls for service
Calls for service generally refers to assignments that are typically distributed to public safety professionals that require their presence to resolve, correct or assist a particular situation...

. With this transformation, police command and control became more centralized.

In the United States, August Vollmer
August Vollmer
August "Gus" Vollmer was a leading figure in the development of the field of criminal justice in the United States in the early 20th century. He was also the first police chief of Berkeley, California.-Youth:...

 introduced other reforms, including education requirements for police officers. O.W. Wilson
Orlando Winfield Wilson
Orlando Winfield Wilson , also known as O.W. Wilson, was an influential leader in policing, having served as Superintendent of Police of the Chicago Police Department, chief of police in Fullerton, California and Wichita, Kansas, and authored several books on policing.-Background:Wilson was born on...

, a student of Vollmer, helped reduce corruption
Police corruption
Police corruption is a specific form of police misconduct designed to obtain financial benefits, other personal gain, or career advancement for a police officer or officers in exchange for not pursuing, or selectively pursuing, an investigation or arrest....

 and introduce professionalism in Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas.As of the 2010 census, the city population was 382,368. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area...

, and later in the Chicago Police Department
Chicago Police Department
The Chicago Police Department, also known as the CPD, is the principal law enforcement agency of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States, under the jurisdiction of the Mayor of Chicago. It is the largest police department in the Midwest and the second largest local law enforcement agency in the...

. Strategies employed by O.W. Wilson included rotating officers from community to community to reduce their vulnerability to corruption, establishing of a non-partisan police board to help govern the police force, a strict merit system
Merit system
The merit system is the process of promoting and hiring government employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political connections. It is the opposite of the spoils system.- History :...

 for promotions within the department, and an aggressive recruiting drive with higher police salaries to attract professionally qualified officers. During the professionalism era of policing, law enforcement agencies concentrated on dealing with felonies
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

 and other serious crime, rather than broader focus on crime prevention
Crime prevention
Crime prevention is the attempt to reduce victimization and to deter crime and criminals. It is applied specifically to efforts made by governments to reduce crime, enforce the law, and maintain criminal justice.-Studies:...

.
The Kansas City Preventive Patrol study
Kansas City preventive patrol experiment
The Kansas City preventive patrol experiment was a landmark experiment carried out between 1972 and 1973 by the Kansas city police department of Kansas City, Missouri. It was evaluated by the Police Foundation. It was designed to test the assumption that the presence of police officers in marked...

 in the 1970s found this approach to policing to be ineffective. Patrol officers in cars were disconnected from the community, and had insufficient contact and interaction with the community. In the 1980s and 1990s, many law enforcement agencies began to adopt community policing strategies, and others adopted problem-oriented policing
Problem-oriented policing
Problem-oriented policing is an approach to policing in which discrete pieces of police business are subject to microscopic examination in hopes that...

.

Broken windows
Fixing Broken Windows
The broken windows theory is a criminological theory of the norm setting and signaling effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior...

 policing was another, related approach introduced in the 1980s by James Q. Wilson
James Q. Wilson
James Q. Wilson is an American academic political scientist and an authority on public administration. He is a professor and senior fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College....

 and George L. Kelling
George L. Kelling
George L. Kelling is an American criminologist, Professor at Rutgers University, a Research Fellow at Harvard University, and an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He previously taught at Northeastern University....

, who suggested that police should pay greater attention to minor "quality of life" offenses and disorderly conduct. This method was first introduced and made popular by New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani
Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani KBE is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from New York. He served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001....

, in the early 1990s.

The concept behind this method is simple: broken windows, graffiti, and other physical destruction or degradation of property, greatly increases the chances of more criminal activities and destruction of property. When criminals see the abandoned vehicles, trash, and deplorable property, they assume that authorities do not care and do not take active approaches to correct problems in these areas. Therefore, correcting the small problems prevents more serious criminal activity.

Building upon these earlier models, intelligence-led policing
Intelligence-led policing
Intelligence-led policing is a policing model that has emerged in recent years which is “built around risk assessment and risk management.”...

 has emerged as the dominant philosophy guiding police strategy. Intelligence-led policing and problem-oriented policing are complementary strategies, both which involve systematic use of information. Although it still lacks a universally accepted definition, the crux of intelligence-led policing is an emphasis on the collection and analysis of information to guide police operations, rather than the reverse.

Power restrictions

In many nations, criminal procedure
Criminal procedure
Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated criminal law.-Basic rights:Currently, in many countries with a democratic system and the rule of law, criminal procedure puts the burden of proof on the prosecution – that is, it is up to the...

 law has been developed to regulate officers' discretion, so that they do not arbitrarily or unjustly exercise their powers of arrest, search and seizure
Search and seizure
Search and seizure is a legal procedure used in many civil law and common law legal systems whereby police or other authorities and their agents, who suspect that a crime has been committed, do a search of a person's property and confiscate any relevant evidence to the crime.Some countries have...

, and use of force
Use of force
The term use of force describes a right of an individual or authority to settle conflicts or prevent certain actions by applying measures to either: a) dissuade another party from a particular course of action, or b) physically intervene to stop them...

. In the United States, Miranda v. Arizona
Miranda v. Arizona
Miranda v. Arizona, , was a landmark 5–4 decision of the United States Supreme Court. The Court held that both inculpatory and exculpatory statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant...

led to the widespread use of Miranda warning
Miranda warning
The Miranda warning is a warning given by police in the United States to criminal suspects in police custody before they are interrogated to preserve the admissibility of their statements against them in criminal proceedings. In Miranda v...

s or constitutional warnings.

In Miranda v. Arizona the court installed safeguards against self-incriminating statements made after an arrest. The court held that “The prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way, unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination”

Police in the United States are also prohibited from holding criminal suspects for more than a reasonable amount of time (usually 24–48 hours) before arraignment
Arraignment
Arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal complaint in the presence of the defendant to inform the defendant of the charges against him or her. In response to arraignment, the accused is expected to enter a plea...

, using torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

, abuse or physical threats to extract confession
Confession
This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

s, using excessive force to effect an arrest, and searching suspects' bodies or their homes without a warrant obtained upon a showing of probable cause
Probable cause
In United States criminal law, probable cause is the standard by which an officer or agent of the law has the grounds to make an arrest, to conduct a personal or property search, or to obtain a warrant for arrest, etc. when criminal charges are being considered. It is also used to refer to the...

. The four exceptions to the constitutional requirement of a search warrant are:
  • Consent
  • Search incident to arrest
  • Motor vehicle searches
  • Exigent circumstances


In Terry v. Ohio
Terry v. Ohio
Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 , was a decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and frisks him without probable cause to arrest, if the police...

 (1968) the court divided seizure into two parts, the investigatory stop
Terry stop
In the United States, a Terry stop is a brief detention of a person bypoliceon reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity but short of probable cause to arrest.The name derives from Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S...

 and arrest. The court further held that during an investigatory stop a police officer’s search “ [is] confined to what [is] minimally necessary to determine whether [a suspect ] is armed, and the intrusion, which [is] made for the sole purpose of protecting himself and others nearby, [is] confined to ascertaining the presence of weapons“ (U.S. Supreme Court). Before Terry, every police encounter constituted an arrest, giving the police officer the full range of search authority. Search authority during a Terry stop (investigatory stop) is limited to weapons only.

Using deception for confessions is permitted, but not coercion. There are exceptions or exigent circumstances such as an articulated need to disarm a suspect or searching a suspect who has already been arrested (Search Incident to an Arrest). The Posse Comitatus Act
Posse Comitatus Act
The Posse Comitatus Act is an often misunderstood and misquoted United States federal law passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction. Its intent was to limit the powers of local governments and law enforcement agencies from using federal military personnel to enforce the laws of...

 severely restricts the use of the military for police activity, giving added importance to police SWAT
SWAT
A SWAT team is an elite tactical unit in various national law enforcement departments. They are trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities of regular officers...

 units.

British police officers are governed by similar rules, such as those introduced to England and Wales under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 is an Act of Parliament which instituted a legislative framework for the powers of police officers in England and Wales to combat crime, as well as providing codes of practice for the exercise of those powers. Part VI of PACE required the Home Secretary...

 (PACE), but generally have greater powers. They may, for example, legally search any suspect who has been arrested, or their vehicles, home or business premises, without a warrant, and may seize anything they find in a search as evidence.

All police officers in the United Kingdom, whatever their actual rank, are 'constables' in terms of their legal position. This means that a newly appointed constable has the same arrest powers as a Chief Constable or Commissioner. However, certain higher ranks have additional powers to authorize certain aspects of police operations, such as a power to authorize a search of a suspect's house (section 18 PACE in England and Wales) by an officer of the rank of Inspector, or the power to authorize a suspect's detention beyond 24 hours by a Superintendent.

Conduct and accountability

Police services commonly include units for investigating crimes committed by the police themselves. These units are typically called Inspectorate-General, or in the USA, "internal affairs
Internal affairs (law enforcement)
The internal affairs division of a law enforcement agency investigates incidents and plausible suspicions of lawbreaking and professional misconduct attributed to officers on the force...

". In some countries separate organizations outside the police exist for such purposes, such as the British Independent Police Complaints Commission
Independent Police Complaints Commission
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is a non-departmental public body in England and Wales responsible for overseeing the system for handling complaints made against police forces in England and Wales.-Role:...

.

Likewise, some state and local jurisdictions, for example, Springfield, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

 have similar outside review organizations. The Police Service of Northern Ireland
Police Service of Northern Ireland
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is the police force that serves Northern Ireland. It is the successor to the Royal Ulster Constabulary which, in turn, was the successor to the Royal Irish Constabulary in Northern Ireland....

 is investigated by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, an external agency set up as a result of the Patten report into policing the province. In the Republic of Ireland the Garda Síochána is investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is an independent statutory body in Ireland charged with overseeing An Garda Síochána, the police force of the Republic of Ireland. It was established under the Garda Síochána Act, 2005. The Commission deals with complaints from members of the public about...

, an independent force that replaced the Garda Complaints Board in May 2007.

The Special Investigations Unit
Special Investigations Unit
The Special Investigations Unit of Ontario, Canada, is a civilian agency responsible for investigating circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in a death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault. However all full-time SIU investigators are former law enforcement...

 of Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada, is one of only a few civilian agencies around the world responsible for investigating circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in a death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault
Sexual assault
Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children....

. The agency made allegations of insufficient cooperation from various police services hindering their investigations.

In Hong Kong, any allegations of corruption within the police will be investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption
Independent Commission Against Corruption (Hong Kong)
The Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong was established by Governor Murray MacLehose on 15 February 1974, when Hong Kong was under British rule. Its main aim was to clean up endemic corruption in the many departments of the Hong Kong Government through law enforcement,...

 and the Independent Police Complaints Council
Independent Police Complaints Council
The Independent Police Complaints Council is a civilian body of the Government of Hong Kong, part of the two-tier system in which the Hong Kong Police Force investigates complaints made by the public against its members and the IPCC monitors those investigations.The IPCC was created as an...

, two agencies which are independent of the police force.

Use of force

Police forces also find themselves under criticism for their use of force, particularly deadly force
Deadly force
Deadly force, as defined by the United States Armed Forces, is the force which a person uses, causing—or that a person knows, or should know, would create a substantial risk of causing—death or serious bodily harm...

. Specifically, tension increases when a police officer of one ethnic group harms or kills a suspect of another one. In the United States, such events occasionally spark protests and accusations of racism against police and allegations that police departments practice racial profiling
Racial profiling
Racial profiling refers to the use of an individual’s race or ethnicity by law enforcement personnel as a key factor in deciding whether to engage in enforcement...

.

In the United States since the 1960s, concern over such issues has increasingly weighed upon law enforcement agencies, courts and legislatures at every level of government. Incidents such as the 1965 Watts Riots
Watts Riots
The Watts Riots or the Watts Rebellion was a civil disturbance in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California from August 11 to August 15, 1965. The 5-day riot resulted in 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, and 3,438 arrests...

, the videotaped 1991 beating by Los Angeles Police
Los Angeles Police Department
The Los Angeles Police Department is the police department of the city of Los Angeles, California. With just under 10,000 officers and more than 3,000 civilian staff, covering an area of with a population of more than 4.1 million people, it is the third largest local law enforcement agency in...

 officers of Rodney King
Rodney King
Rodney Glen King is an American best known for his involvement in a police brutality case involving the Los Angeles Police Department on March 3, 1991...

, and the riot following their acquittal have been suggested by some people to be evidence that U.S. police are dangerously lacking in appropriate controls.

The fact that this trend has occurred contemporaneously with the rise of the US civil rights movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

, the "War on Drugs
War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...

", and a precipitous rise in violent crime from the 1960s to the 1990s has made questions surrounding the role, administration and scope of police authority increasingly complicated.

Police departments and the local governments that oversee them in some jurisdictions have attempted to mitigate some of these issues through community outreach programs and community policing to make the police more accessible to the concerns of local communities, by working to increase hiring diversity, by updating training of police in their responsibilities to the community and under the law, and by increased oversight within the department or by civilian commissions.

In cases in which such measures have been lacking or absent, civil law suits have been brought by the United States Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 against local law enforcement agencies, authorized under the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, , , was an act of Congress dealing with crime and law enforcement that became law in 1994. It is the largest crime bill in the history of the US at 356 pages and will provide for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and...

. This has compelled local departments to make organizational changes, enter into consent decree
Consent decree
A consent decree is a final, binding judicial decree or judgment memorializing a voluntary agreement between parties to a suit in return for withdrawal of a criminal charge or an end to a civil litigation...

 settlements to adopt such measures, and submit to oversight by the Justice Department.

Protection of individuals

The Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 has ruled numerous times since 1856 that law enforcement officers have no duty to protect any individual, despite the motto "protect and serve". Their duty is to enforce the law in general. The first such case was in 1856 (South v. Maryland) and the most recent in 2005 (Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales
Castle Rock v. Gonzales
Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 , was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, in which the court ruled, 7-2, that a town and its police department could not be sued under 42 U.S.C...

).

In contrast, the police are entitled to protect private rights in some jurisdictions. To ensure that the police would not interfere into the regular competencies of the courts of law, some police acts require that the police may only interfere in such cases where protection from courts cannot be obtained in time, and where, without interference of the police, the realization of the private right would be impeded. This would, for example, allow police to establish a restaurant guest's identity and forward it to the inn-keeper in a case where the guest cannot pay the bill at nighttime because his wallet had just been stolen from the restaurant table.

In addition, there are Federal Law Enforcement agencies in the United States whose mission includes providing protection for executives such as the President and accompanying family members, visiting foreign dignitaries, and other high-ranking individuals. Such agencies include The United States Secret Service
United States Secret Service
The United States Secret Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The sworn members are divided among the Special Agents and the Uniformed Division. Until March 1, 2003, the Service was part of the United States...

 and the United States Park Police
United States Park Police
The United States Park Police is one of the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agencies in the United States. It functions as a full service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service areas primarily located in the Washington, D.C., San...

.

International forces

In many countries, particularly those with a federal system of government, there may be several police or police-like organizations, each serving different levels of government and enforcing different subsets of the applicable law. The United States has a highly decentralized and fragmented system of law enforcement, with over 17,000 state and local law enforcement agencies.

Some countries, such as Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Israel, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, France, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, New Zealand and South Africa, use a centralized system of policing. Other countries have multiple police forces, but for the most part their jurisdictions do not overlap. In the United States however, several different law enforcement agencies may have authority in a particular jurisdiction at the same time, each with their own command.

Other countries where jurisdiction of multiple police agencies overlap, include Guardia Civil and the Policía Nacional in Spain, the Polizia di Stato
Polizia di Stato
The Polizia di Stato is one of the national police forces of Italy.It is the main police force for providing police duties and it is also responsible for patrolling motorways , railways , airports , customs as well as certain waterways, and assisting the local police...

 and Carabinieri
Carabinieri
The Carabinieri is the national gendarmerie of Italy, policing both military and civilian populations, and is a branch of the armed forces.-Early history:...

 in Italy and the Police Nationale and National Gendarmerie in France.

Most countries are members of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), established to detect and fight trans-national crime and provide for international co-operation and co-ordination of other police activities, such as notifying relatives of the death of foreign nationals. Interpol does not conduct investigations nor arrests by itself, but only serves as a central point for information on crime, suspects and criminals. Political crime
Political crime
In criminology, a political crime is an offence involving overt acts or omissions , which prejudice the interests of the state, its government or the political system...

s are excluded from its competencies.

See also

  • Chief of police
    Chief of police
    A Chief of Police is the title typically given to the top official in the chain of command of a police department, particularly in North America. Alternate titles for this position include Commissioner, Superintendent, and Chief constable...

  • Constable
    Constable
    A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions.-Etymology:...

  • Criminal citation
    Criminal citation
    Criminal citations are used by police in some jurisdictions in order to charge a person with a crime without the need of making a physical arrest. They are generally used for non-violent, fineable offences and those that carry little incarceration time...

  • Criminal justice
    Criminal justice
    Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

  • Fraternal Order of Police
    Fraternal Order of Police
    The Fraternal Order of Police is an organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. It claims a membership of over 325,000 members organized in 2100 local chapters , organized into local lodges, state lodges, and the national Grand Lodge...

  • Highway Patrol
    Highway patrol
    A highway patrol is either a police unit created primarily for the purpose of overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways, or a detail within an existing local or regional police agency that is primarily concerned with such duties.Duties of highway patrols or traffic...

  • Law enforcement agency
    Law enforcement agency
    In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

  • Law enforcement and society
    Law enforcement and society
    The first modern police force, commonly said to be the London Metropolitan Police, established in 1829, promoted the preventive role of police as a deterrent to urban crime and disorder....

  • Law enforcement by country
    Law enforcement by country
    In many countries, particularly those with a federal system of government, there may be several police or police-like organizations, each serving different levels of government and enforcing different subsets of the applicable law.- Argentina :...

  • Police academy
    Police academy
    A police academy is a training school for new police recruits, also known as a law enforcement academy.-Australia:Larger police departments usually run their own academies. States often run a centralised academy for training of personnel of law enforcement agencies within the state.Police...


  • Police brutality
    Police brutality
    Police brutality is the intentional use of excessive force, usually physical, but potentially also in the form of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer....

  • Police certificate
    Police certificate
    A police certificate is an official document issued by police or government agency of a country to enumerate any criminal records that the applicant may or may not have...

  • Police state
    Police state
    A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

  • Police training officer
    Police training officer
    The Police Training Officer program is a post-academy training program created from the educational approach known as problem-based learning. Program development was funded by the United States Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to train police recruits once they...

  • Private police
    Private police
    Private police are law enforcement bodies that are owned and/or controlled by non-governmental entities.These can be firms to which the government contracts out police work Private police are law enforcement bodies that are owned and/or controlled by non-governmental entities.These can be firms to...

  • Public administration
    Public administration
    Public Administration houses the implementation of government policy and an academic discipline that studies this implementation and that prepares civil servants for this work. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal.....

  • Public Security
    Public security
    To meet the increasing challenges in the public security area, responsible public institutions and organisations can tap into their own intelligence to successfully address possible threats in advance...

  • Sheriff
    Sheriff
    A sheriff is in principle a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country....

  • State Police
    State police
    State police are a type of sub-national territorial police force, particularly in Australia and the United States. Some other countries have analogous police forces, such as the provincial police in some Canadian provinces, while in other places, the same responsibilities are held by national...

  • The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc


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