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Scotland Yard (officially New Scotland Yard, though an official Scotland Yard never has existed) is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, the territorial police force responsible for policing most of London.
The name derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard entrance became the public entrance to the police station, and over time the street and the Metropolitan Police became synonymous. The New York Times wrote in 1964 that just as Wall Street gave its name to New York's financial district, Scotland Yard did the same for police activity in London.
The force moved away from Scotland Yard in 1890, and the name New Scotland Yard was adopted for subsequent headquarters. The current New Scotland Yard is in Victoria and has been the Metropolitan Police's headquarters since 1967. In 2012 it was announced that the building may be sold and the headquarters may move to a smaller site in Whitehall.
Commonly known as the Met, the Metropolitan Police Service is responsible for law enforcement within Greater London, excluding the square mile of the City of London, which is covered by the City of London Police. The London Underground and national rail networks are the responsibility of the British Transport Police. The Metropolitan Police was formed by Robert Peel with the implementation of the Metropolitan Police Act, passed by Parliament in 1829. Peel, with the help of Eugène-François Vidocq, selected the original site on Whitehall Place for the new police headquarters. The first two Commissioners, Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne, along with various police officers and staff, occupied the building. Previously a private house, 4 Whitehall Place backed onto a street called Great Scotland Yard.
By 1887, the Met headquarters had expanded from 4 Whitehall Place into several neighbouring addresses, including 3, 5, 21 and 22 Whitehall Place; 8 and 9 Great Scotland Yard, and several stables. Eventually, the service outgrew its original site, and new headquarters were built on the Victoria Embankment, overlooking the River Thames, south of what is now the Ministry of Defence headquarters. In 1888, during the construction of the new building, workers discovered the dismembered torso of a female; the case, known as the 'Whitehall Mystery', has never been solved. In 1890, police headquarters moved to the new location, which was named New Scotland Yard. By this time, the Met had grown from its initial 1,000 officers to about 13,000 and needed more administrative staff and a bigger headquarters. Further increases in the size and responsibilities of the force required even more administrators, and in 1907 and 1940, New Scotland Yard was extended further. This complex is now a Grade I listed building and known as the Norman Shaw Buildings.
The original building at 4 Whitehall Place still has a rear entrance on Great Scotland Yard. Stables for some of the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch are still located at 7 Great Scotland Yard, across the street from the first headquarters.
By the 1960s the requirements of modern technology and further increases in the size of the force meant that it had outgrown its Victoria Embankment headquarters. In 1967 New Scotland Yard moved to the present building at 10 Broadway, still within the City of Westminster, which was an existing office block acquired under a long-term lease; the first New Scotland Yard is now called the Norman Shaw (North) building, part of which is used as the headquarters for the Met's Territorial Support Group.
Current location of the Metropolitan Police 
The Met's senior management team, who oversee the service, is based at New Scotland Yard in Victoria, along with the Met's crime database. This uses a national computer system developed for major crime enquiries by all British forces, called Home Office Large Major Enquiry System, more commonly referred to by its acronym HOLMES, which recognises the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The training programme is called 'Elementary', after Holmes's well-known, yet apocryphal, phrase "elementary, my dear Watson". Administrative functions are based at the Empress State Building, and communication handling at the three Metcall complexes, rather than at Scotland Yard.
A number of security measures were added to the exterior of New Scotland Yard during the 2000s, including concrete barriers in front of ground-level windows as a countermeasure against car bombing, a concrete wall around the entrance to the building, and a covered walkway from the street to the entrance into the building. Armed officers from the Diplomatic Protection Group patrol the exterior of the building along with security staff.
In popular culture 
Scotland Yard has become internationally famous as a symbol of policing, and detectives from Scotland Yard feature in many works of crime fiction. They were frequent allies, and sometimes antagonists, of Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's famous stories (for instance, Inspector Lestrade). It is also referred to in Around the World in Eighty Days.
Many novelists have adopted fictional Scotland Yard detectives as the heroes or heroines of their stories. John Creasey's stories featuring George Gideon are amongst the earliest police procedurals. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, created by P. D. James, and Inspector Richard Jury, created by Martha Grimes are notable recent examples. A somewhat more improbable example is Baroness Orczy's aristocratic female Scotland Yard detective Molly Robertson-Kirk, known as Lady Molly of Scotland Yard. Agatha Christie's numerous mystery novels often referenced Scotland Yard, most notably in her Hercule Poirot series.
During the 1930s, there was a short-lived pulp magazine called variously Scotland Yard, Scotland Yard Detective Stories or Scotland Yard International Detective, which, despite the name, concentrated more on lurid crime stories set in the United States than anything to do with the Metropolitan Police.
Leslie Charteris features Detective Inspector (later Detective Chief Inspector) Claud Eustace Teal of Scotland Yard in several of his Saint novels, a character who reappeared in various dramatic incarnations of the series, notably on television by Ivor Dean. In the books Teal is presented somewhat more sympathetically than in many of the adaptations: in the 1960s television series he is depicted as borderline incompetent, always being bested by Simon Templar.
Scotland Yard was the name of a series of cinema featurettes made between 1953 and 1961. Introduced by Edgar Lustgarten, each episode featured a dramatised reconstruction of a "true crime" story. Filmed at Merton Park Studios, many of the episodes featured Russell Napier as Inspector Duggan. The series was succeeded by The Scales of Justice, which dealt with a similar theme. In the comedy series Batman, the caped crusaders in England meet members of "Ireland Yard"; clearly a spoof of Scotland Yard. Scotland Yard is briefly mentioned in the opening of the second act of the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde in the song entitled "Murder, Murder", about the catching of a murderer.
In the James Bond novels and short stories by Ian Fleming and others, Assistant Commissioner Sir Ronald Vallance is a recurring fictional character who works for Scotland Yard. Gala Brand, who works for Ronnie Vallance at Scotland Yard, is featured in the 1955 novel Moonraker. Scotland Yard was also briefly mentioned in the 1965 The Beatles movie Help!. When Ringo requires protection, he and his fellow Beatles head to Scotland Yard for assistance.
Fabian of the Yard was a television series filmed and transmitted by the BBC between 1954 and 1956, based upon the career of the by then retired Detective Inspector Robert Fabian. It focused on the subject of forensic science, which at the time was in its infancy. Fabian usually appeared in a cameo shot towards the end of each episode.
In the 2010 BBC television drama Sherlock, many of the characters such as Detective Inspector Lestrade, Detective Inspector Dimmock, Sergeants Donovan and Anderson, work for Scotland Yard.
See also 
- Central Operations
- Directorate of Professional Standards
- Economic and Specialist Crime
- List of law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom
- Metropolitan Police Air Support Unit
- Murder Investigation Team
- National Identification Service
- National Policing Improvement Agency
- Serious Organised Crime Agency
- Specialist Crime Directorate
- Specialist Firearms Command
- Specialist Operations
- Trial of the Detectives
- Whitehall 1212 the pre-999 emergency number
- "Metropolitan Police Service - History of the Metropolitan Police Service". Met.police.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- Farnsworth, Clyde H. "Move is planned by Scotland Yard," The New York Times, May 15, 1964.
- Guy Smith BBC London's Home Affairs Correspondent (2012-10-30). "BBC News - Scotland Yard could be sold as part of £500m savings plan". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Inspector Flying Fox of the Yard". Monty Python. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "The Agatha Christie Sketch". Monty Python. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Court Scene [Witness in Coffin / Cardinal Richelieu]". Monty Python. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Erizabeth L. / Fraud Film Squad". Monty Python. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- [dead link]
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- Metropolitan Police Branches
- Metropolitan Police Crime Academy
- Metropolitan Police Leadership Academy
- Blumberg, Jess. "A Brief History of Scotland Yard", Smithsonian.com, September 28, 2007.