Talk:Law enforcement in the United Kingdom

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It it worth mentioning the Strathclyde Police uniform? They've dropped white shirts, and wear black t shirts with body armour on top, for pretty much all officers on duty. 11:10, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

In the firearms section - Stephen Waldorf 14.1.1983 shot in his car in London when mistaken for David Martin, an escaped prisoner. Relevance to shooting and death of Jean Charles de Menezes 22.7.2005?

Rewrite Request[edit]

This article states that there are 42 police forces in the UK. This is incorrect, there are in fact 43 police forces in England & Wales, plus the 8 Scotish forces & the Police Service of Northern Ireland. - 8 May 2006

I propose that this article requires rewriting and/spliting. I have added some information on the difference between policing in England and Wales and that in Northern Ireland or Scotland. This article is in danger of becoming overloaded. Davidkinnen 13:17, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

It looks like it needs a some major editing. I don't know if you are sugesting three articles (Policing in England and Wales etc.), but I don't think that is the way to go. I think we should have pages on the history of policing in Britain and one on current policing in Britain (types of forces, use of firearms, current uniform, current events etc.). It would be sensible to come up with a clear plan first though. Andreww 09:08, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

I was suggesting a thematic rather than a geographic split. So your idea of History of Policing in Britain and British police would be sensible. I support Andreww in his suggestion. Davidkinnen 09:00, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

I have to say that I'm not sure of the necessity of this, so I would oppose it. Most history is more appropriate to individual forces, which should have their own articles anyway - British police forces are independent entities, and only general statements need to go here. This article is not particularly long compared to some. And incidentally, if we do have a separate article for history, it should probably be entitled History of policing in the United Kingdom (lower case 'p' and UK instead of Britain). -- Necrothesp 10:04, 22 August 2005 (UTC)
I almost agree - and this article should be called Policing in the United Kingdom - but I think there should be enough information for a history page if we want to write it. For example, all pre-1800 policing (from Saxon times) clearly does not belong to any of the police forces, it is easer to discuss the growth of policing and development of the current force structure in one place than in many places, and there are lots of laws and nationwide policy changes since then that effect all forces. So that's three serious sub sections of a history page without thinking about it.
I think the far more important issue is that we sort out this page (it can grow into other pages later if that's needed). At present about 1/3 is about firearms 1/3 is about uniforms and 1/3 is about history. None of it is very good and the structure makes no sense. Discuss. Andreww 10:01, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

I've removed the tag, which was not intended for this sort of rewrite/split. It is where you have multiple articles on one page that should really be split to form multiple articles and then a dab page - not something you are talking about here. Morwen - Talk 08:35, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

request for clarification[edit]

The article on John Fielding says that he founded the Bow Street Runners, which were the first professional police force. Not mentioned here. Don't mind me, I'm just a confused user ;)

Reference to this page[edit]

"Old Bill" will redirect to this page, but "Old Bill" is not then mentioned on this page. "Old Bill" needs to redirect to slang (it's slang for police, mainly in London). If "Old Bill" is to redirect to here, we need to show a reason why it's done so. Ajarmitage (talk) 13:00, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

it's the same with "bobbies"; there is no mention of the term anywhere in the article, though clicking on it led me here. (talk) 17:37, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Merge needed[edit]

A smaller stray article United Kingdom police needs merging into this one --mervyn 15:16, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Support : this is duplication as both talk about the same thing. Davidkinnen 16:16, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Support the merger -- though wonder, if "Policing in the United Kingdom" becomes the title of the merged article, whether we shouldn't also, for consistency, rename Germany police, United States police, etc. to "Policing in Germany", etc. -- Picapica 00:25, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

I have just visited the UK Police website ( and I count 39 English, 4 Welsh, 1 N.Irish, 8 Scottish and 8 non-geographic police forces/agencies. These, of course, do not include the 3 Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man. The number of non-geographic forces has not yet been updated to include the newly created SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency). 20:41, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Volatile template[edit]

Some of you might have noticed the {{UK Police}} template has been quite volatile recently. Your input is welcome: Template talk:UK Police#It's got bigger again. Thanks/wangi 13:33, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Policig in the UK - Jurisdiction[edit]

Is it worthwhile mentioning that unlike some other countries, UK police officers have nationwide powers of arrest, rather than just jurisdiction in their own police area. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Peter S Price (talkcontribs) 02:22, 13 December 2006 (UTC).

That might be putting things a bit too simply. There are general powers of arrest available to anybody which possibly form a large, if not the greater, part of the powers of arrest of a constable. A constable not on loan does not usually enjoy full powers while in a different legal jurisdiction (i.e. country) within the UK. The power of arrest is not identically defined in the different jurisdictions of the UK.--MBRZ48 03:44, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
It's even more complex than that. Police officers from Home Office forces in England and Wales do enjoy(?!) limited powers of their office when pursuing suspects across the border into Scotland. Scottish officers enjoy limited powers when pursuing suspects across the border into England. A couple of special forces, like the British Transport Police, have their powers limited generally to specified areas (which may be in more than one jurisdiction) but may also have provision to act in other areas in limited circumstances. For instance BTP are limited to specific transport property in England, Wales and Scotland but when on railway matters can act throughout Great Britain. And the Metropolitan Police can act throughout Great Britain in the course of their VIP protection responsibilities. There is also provision for forces to provide "mutual aid" into other jurisdictions.
The List of police forces in the United Kingdom article covers this pretty well, we might make the sentence in the lead paragraph that talks about jurisdiction a little more explicit and/or wikilink to that list of forces article instead of the general article on jurisdiction. -- Siobhan Hansa 17:28, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

History Section[edit]

I've added a cleanup box to the history section of this article, because some of the bullet points have no information whatsoever. For example, 1812: A commitee examined the Policing of London in England. What commitee? What was examined and why? What was the result of the examination? IanUK 13:35, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Addendum to the Histry[edit]

Anglo Saxon England had a strong community based sociological structure. Counties were divided into tithings. Tithingsmen were forerunners of the policeman. A tithing was a group of ten households living within an area and had a collective responsiblity for each other's behaviour. All households inside the tithing were required to provide a man*, to stand 24 hours watch over the community, once in ten days. Proof of the fulfilment of their duty of making rounds of the community was by calling out the hour, on the hour, and that all was well. The better-off members of the community often paid others to perform their duties and thus opened the door to corruption and disrepute. A communal responsibility for behaviour came hand in hand with a communal liability for restitution as a result of misbehaviour. It was this liability, rather than community spirit, that gave rise to the call, “Stop (the) thief!” and the hue and cry of the chase. The formation of professional, organised and accountable police forces as we know them today came out of the call for the abolition of the corrupt and disreputable practices of the tithingsmen (Sometimes called watch keepers or rounds men). The sheriff and his posse: The “posse” was in fact a collective responsibility of all men* of the county (*15 years and older the having taken the Frank pledge) to support the Shire Reeve in times of need, for example; with public disorder. The Shire Reeve was the Kings agent and responsible for Law, Order and Taxation. King William (He of 1066) had reputed problems with pronouncing “Shire Reeves” and the court soon followed the royal practice of naming them Sheriffs instead. The office of Sheriff exists today, albeit in a somewhat ceremonial function. It is this ancient English collective responsibility and duty of able-bodied men to come to the assistance of the Sheriff that provides the background to the images of the Wild-west sheriff and his posse chasing the bad guys, the same origin as the tithingsman and the roots of policing in England as a community service. --Brianjones51 15:11, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

What ho? The image![edit]

...has gone. Give me one month I'll get one of myself, marking out my collar number. Or you could ask another of the uk officers on wikipedia who feel posey. I suggest Dep. Garcia :D SGGH speak! 21:11, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Yea, i don't mind being volunteered, but since I'm not firearms anymore i will have to get one of my colleagues, who is, too take the picture for me =]. All being well i will have it in a few days! A reply from me at SGGH talk page. Dep. Garcia ( Talk + | Help Desk | Complaints ) 16:39, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I've put one up now SGGH speak! 20:37, 15 September 2007 (UTC)


Is it just me or is that whole section NPOV? why is there so much attention given to ALL of those police shootings. In other police articles are the shootings by the ENTIRE police Establishment documented in such detail? come on give me a break. Maybe as someone not from the UK Im kind of bewildered by the hang up the brits have with cops and guns. Just as an aside, what is it about Britian which makes it so special or distinct from the VAST majority of other nations(former British colonies not included) which permit most if not all of their police officers to carry pistols? 00:26, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Incidents where armed British police officers open fire are - compared to other countries where most police are routinely armed - incredibly rare. That a look at this page, which has the year-on-year total of people either killed or injured by police fire in England and Wales (which contains around 50 million out of the total UK population of 60 million). As you can see, so far this year only four people have been shot by police officers, while you have to go back to 1992 for a year where the total was in double figures. Of course, the flip-side is how many police officers get shot. You can see the figures here (page 36, table 2c), and that over an 11 year mperiod, only three English or Welsh police officers were fatally shot, and in most years the total number of injuries was less than 16. Perhaps you will now appreciate that because the number of shootings both by and of the police is so low, they tend to be the subject of great scrutiny, and in fact it is standard practice that any discharge of a police weapon - even if it results in no injury - is automatically referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Nick Cooper 20:27, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
The point I was trying to make is how can such attention to detail be considered NPOV, is it truly necessary for all those shootings to be included in the article. Maybe a "high profile police shootings" subsection if that much. It's hard for me and I would pressume at least some others also to read this article without getting the feeling that the person who wrote that very significant section(lengthwise) had a specific POV that they were trying to convey; mainly UK police are overly enthusiastic to discharge their weapons or as a whole do it without regard for civilian life. If some one wanted to start an article on "police shootings"(if there isn't one already), then maybe that would be a better place for the "controversial shootings" section in this article. In other words I don't see what value is brought to the article by having such a LONG subsection devoted to ALL of those police shootings, and to be me it can't be considered NPOV. But since Im not from the UK had no part in writing the article or editing it in the past I don't think its my place to make any changes, maybe someone a little bolder than I am can. 16:27, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I think you're still struggling with a perception problem. As I've shown above, shootings by the police in the UK are very rare, but is the nature of rare events that when they do happen they are subjected to intense scrutiny, which in a number of cases has revealed deep flaws in how police operations were carried out. The simple fact is that the seven incidents specifically highlighted on this page are presented as being controversial shootings precisely because they are seen as being controversial shootings within the UK. The reasons why - out of such a small number of shootings as a whole - British police seem more apt to open fire is questionable circumstances are open to debate. Nick Cooper 18:06, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Im not disputing whether or not the shootings listed are controversial or not, the only interest I've had in starting and continuing this exchange is that I don't think the amount of space given to the controversial shootings section is warranted. Having read some other "Law enforcement in Europe" articles (Germany, Netherlands, France) I haven't come across this amount of detail given to "controversial shootings", now granted I haven't read ALL articles, nor is Europe the world. Also, I don't understand why you are attempting to make a comparison between the number of controversial(possibly unwarranted) police shootings and the number of police officers that have been shot. Are you equating police officers discharging their weapons with criminals discharging theirs at the police? If so, why not compare the amount of unlawful shootings period in the UK with the number of "controversial shootings" by the police? 22:42, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Police forces worldwide - and issues relating to them - are not homogenous. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter one iota if every other country in the world doesn't have an issue with controversial police shootings (which is far from the case, of course). They are in the UK, and tghis page does and should reflect that. I daresay there are plenty of issues which affect police elsewhere in the world that barely register in the UK, but that's not an "excuse" to diminish them, either. Nick Cooper 18:47, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Seeing as though there has been no response or no change to the article, Im going to edit it now. I'll rename the "Controversial Shootings" section "Controversy" and merge that with the "Deaths in Police custody" section into one section. I'll also take out the old 1997/1998 Deaths in police custody statistic, if someone can come up with a current statistic or a table showing stats for the last 5-10 years then they're invited to do that, but the point is nothing is special or representative of that particular year's numbers and no value is added to the article by including them in it. In fact I suspect that whoever added that one statistic didn't also write the other parts of that section but simply inserted it there for whatever reason or maybe there was a previous edit war who knows.

Also I'll reduce the number of individual shootings listed to three, because there seems to be no single characteristic that those particular seven shootings have in common other than being "controversial police shootings". So in the interest of trimming down the section I'll simply list what I regard to be the most high profile shootings. Ofcourse I may be wrong in my choices, but the point once again is to only list a limited number of them. 17:15, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I wish that those who are currently reverting the changes I made would quit. Anon 003 18:13, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Please stop removing content when there is no consensus to do so. Saying "nobody's replied" in less than three days is not a legitimate excuse to unilaterally make such fundamental and destructive edits. If you feel something is out of date, then flag it as being in need of revision, rather than deleting it. Nick Cooper 18:47, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I see how this works now. I come here, have a lengthy dialogue with you about the neutrality of a major section of this article(and raised some legitimate points also),wait for nearly a week for some changes or others to chime in; "consensus"; follow wikipedia's be "bold" policy; state clearly every change Im going to make, yet no one responds on this page until you did so; but no more than 5 mins after I edidted the section, my changes are reverted and are tagged as vandalism; The first edit. The several people who reverted my edit, one after the other didn't even bother coming to the talk page to say anything, and yet Im the one that's censured for being a "vandal" and you come in on your highhorse giving me a "final warning", get off it.

By the way, the rule(if one does exist) that "consensus" must be reached before information is deleted is by no means universally applied, now granted I didn't know about a three revert rule but I guess that only applies to the "vandal" and not those who use twinkle to revert the vandal's edits. Anon 003 18:11, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Seeing as though my edits, significan't as they were(lengthwise)produced such consternation resulting in 5 reverts by four different editors, I've been going over the history of the article and paying attention to contributions and those who made them to the "controversial shootings" section and "deaths in police custody" section. As I stated above I reduced the number of "controversial shootings" listed to three. The fist person to list specific shootings by police was User:Edward on July 24, 2005 these were the Harry Stanley and Jean Charles de Menzes case, which pretty much makes sense since De Menzes was killed only two days before and although the Stanlely incident was 6 years before this it could still be considered fairly recent. These shootings were under the "firearms" section, note; no specific "Controversial shootings" section existed.

The first person to create such a section was User:Moren on Dec 28, 2005, not to highlight the shootings I suspect but judging from the other changes Moren made it was to seperate the two shootings listed and the larger issue of British cops being armed, because he(?) added nothing more to the new "Controversial shootings" section, but over a paragraph to the section dealing with firearms. Note, there were still only two shootings listed, now this may have inadvertently led some to think that there was a need for a specific "controversial shootings" section, and for it to be added to, and therefore almost 10 months later we had 217 134 239 186 add two shootings; John Shorthouse and Derek Bateman(Sept. 13, 2006). Also, we had User:Swan41 add Steven Waldorf (July 23, 2006) and almost a year after that, Gail Kirchen and Cherry Groce (June 12, 2007). Now my concern with the controversial shootings section is it's too long listed too many individual shootings and wasn't necesarliy representative of UK Law enforcement policy as a whole.

I stated that if there really was any need(as I've shown there really isn't) for a specific section dealing with controversial shootings then it needs to only include a minimal number of high profile shootings; I believe three, otherwise a lengthy section devoted to police shootings would lead people who aren't that knowledgeable about UK Law Enforcement to believe that there is some big problem regarding police discharging there firearms frequently/indiscriminatley which even Nick Cooper (someone who contributed information to the Waldorf listing) admits that there isn't.

Along with minimizing the number of shooting incidents, I merged the "Deaths in police custody" section with it into "Controversy", now this seemed completely logical to me. The "Deaths in police custody" section was also created by User:Swan41 along with the out of date 1997/98 statistic and a POV statement regarding the racial make up of victims which was later removed by another editor. Regarding User:Swan41, it's obvious where she(?) is coming from by adding 3 out of the subsequent 5 police shooting incidents that were tagged on to User:Edward's intial 2 shootings listed which were fairly recent and didn't have a separate section devoted to them called "controversial shootings".

While not disputing the controversy surrounding these incidents, I think certain standards should be applied to whether or not they warrant being in a section which I believe is the third largest("Deaths in police custody" section included) in a pretty big article. When these shootings occurred does have some relevance, User:Edward listed 2 incidents that occurred within previous 6 years of him adding them to the article. While User:Swan41 goes back to 1980 for Gail Kirchin, Steven Waldorf 1983, and Cherry Groce 1987. Once again Im not disputing the controversy regarding these incidents or their notoriety, however for an article dealing with present day Law enforcement in the UK, the time of the incidents do indeed have alteast some relevance to them being included in the article.

Not only is the time of an incident relevant to present day Law enforcement, but also a relationship between the event described and the larger topic. No specific policy can be observed from these disparate collection of shootings other than them being controversial. Precisely because there is NO nationwide policy, the only case that might be argued is the De Menzes case, and it might be only the Met that has such a policy of shooting a suspected suicide bomber in the head, I don't know. And out of all these 7 shootings he was the only suspected suicide bomber, so once again no policy connects all of these shootings; that would justify all 7 of them being listed.

I won't attempt to edit the article again however, the above justifies(and isn't an excuse because none is needed) the changes I made, and serves to undermine the libel charge that I vandalized the article by removing information that doesn't add any significant value to the article, and therefore they weren't "destructive" edits. Anon 003 23:16, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Just because part of an article has evolved over several years is not reason to declare that it wasn't necessary in the first place. I can think of a number of controversial events/issues that are not covered - or are barely covered - on Wikipedia, but if someone went to the effort of documenting them now, it would be ridiculous for someone to undo that work on the grounds that nobody had done it before.
You seem to have missed the implications of what I was saying above. I did not "admit" that there is no "big problem regarding police discharging there firearms frequently/indiscriminatley..." The point I was making is that police shootings are rare, and therefore they are more subject to scrutiny than in other countries where such shootings are more common. However, issues are raised by the fact that out of such a small number, so many are regarded as being controversial. There were 47 fatal police shootings between 1985 and 2005, of which five are highlighted here as being controversial. That's a little over 10%, yet these five aren't the only controversial shootings in that timeframe, just the most high-profile and also examples where the individual shot dead was a) unarmed, and b) in all bar one case, not actually doing anything criminal at the time. However, there are other examples of the latter, as well as a further number of what can at least be described as "questionable" shootings, in which the person killed was "armed" with a replica firearm (in one case, a cigarette lighter), an air weapon, or a bladed weapon. Overall the "problem" seems to be that although armed British police rarely discharge their weapons in an operational evironment, when they do there seem to be a worrying high number of cases where they shouldn't have.This TV documentary highlighted a number of possible reasons, including their training, and also - at the time - a lack of "less lethal" options, such as Tasers or "bean-bag" shotgun rounds. Rather than reducing this section in this article, it may very well merit expansion, if not migration to a separate article that deals specifically with police firearms use in the UK. Nick Cooper 08:48, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

I believe that in my first response to you I stated that a better place for this informaiton would be in a separate article dealing specfically with "controversial shootings", so there's no disagreement there. I have no vested interest in preventing wiki readers from accessing information regarding any or all of the incidents listed in the section, however when it comes to an article dealing with such a broad topic as Law enforcement as a whole in the UK, so many shootings listed and the space given to them may be a little misleading and questions the NPOV status of that section if not the entire article.

Regarding the evolution of the section, the whole point of me documenting that was to show that it wasn't an integral part of the article, and the person who first created a "controversial shootings" section actually didn't add anything to it, but simply did so to separate the shooting of De Menzes and Stanley from the larger topic of UK police firearms policy. Now ofcourse, maybe it wasn't necessary to do so and that person had a POV that they were trying to convey by doing so. This action however may have led people who weren't familiar with the history of the article to think that the person who listed the De Menzes and Stanley shootings actually created a section for them and intended for others to add more, basically turning it into a "List of Controversial shootings" section. One user, Swan41, added three of the 5 additional shootings listed, and the "Deaths' in police custody" section with some blatant POV that was subsequently removed, her contributions accounted for 50 % or more of the section. So this wasn't a case of the section merely evolving, someone whose contributions to the article dealt solely with adding more shootings and irrelevant death in police custody information is responsible for half the section, and this in turn had an effect on the NPOV status of the article.

You mentioned that only 5 of the 47 police shootings for the 1985-2005 period are listed in the article, but the article contains 7 shootings; one from 1980 and another from 1983. You also stated that the perctange of shootings that are controversial are too high, I suppose ANY police shooting could be construed as being controversial precisely because they're so rare that they would be bound to get a disproportionate amount of attention from the media: "what bleeds leads". Even regular street crime in London involving shootings get time on BBC World news, which I follow sometimes. Each police shooting should be judged by the individual circumstances surrounding it, to draw broad conclusions or infer patterns that aren't there is wrong. First of all I doubt that there are sufficient police shootings that occurred frequently enough in a limited time frame, for any such inferrences to be made. 47 shootings in a twenty year time frame is less than 3 shootings per year, coming to meaningful conclusions from such low numbers is difficult. Giving preferrence to shootings, or trying to establish a pattern in the article is nothing more than POV, which was and remains my problem with this article and were my reasons for editing it. 16:31, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

It seems that I failed to make a distinction between the 47 fatal police shootings, and the number of police shootings as a whole, however I'm pretty sure that you'll gladly enlighten us on those numbers also. I think I need to clarify something, I don't question the controversy regarding the shooting of innocent victims or for that matter the not so innocent ones, if the circumstances under which they occurred didn't justify them being shot. Where we seem to be having a disagreement regards the relevance of the number of police shootings that are deemed controversial as a percentage of the overall number of police shootings. With such low absolute numbers, no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the ratio of controversial to non-controversial shootings.

You can't objectively indentify any nationwide police policy responsible for all or most of these shootings, because there isn't a national police force, there are over 50, and therefore you can't group all of these incidents together and draw the kind of conclusion which seems to be "worrying" you. To say "Overall, the "problem" seems to be that while armed British police rarely discharge their weapons in an operational environment, when they do there seem to be a worrying high number of cases where they shouldn't have.", shows that you believe there is some entity called "armed British police", there is no "they". There are several police departments with a small minority of officers that are armed, each of which is overseen by a Police Authority. So once again, the large number of incidents listed in the Controversial shootings section in the article isn't justified, because they aren't representative of law enforcement in the UK as a whole and are therefore misleading. It's simply a list which doesn't add any value to the article, just POV. Anon 003 16:03, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, a few things spring to mind from your latest response, mainly that you haven't bothered to, a) look at the provided link to the statistics of police shootings, and b) you haven't bothered to look at the provided link to the transcript of the above-mentioned documentary, since both would have enlightened you on aspects you have subsequently questioned/sought clarification on.
Secondly, you are making a very poor effort at second-guessing what I know, and running away with your inevitably flawed conclusions, as exemplified by your rather bizarre chain of thought as regards my use of the term "armed British police." Sorry to disappoint you, but that would be widely recognised in the UK as a shorter way of saying of, "British police officers who are armed," not the weird and erroneous interpretation you put on it. Oh, and we don't call them "departments," we call them "forces" or "constabularies," to highlight just one of your various misaprehensions. Nick Cooper 23:12, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Let's get one thing straight, I don't want this exchange to be construed as simply a disagreement you and I have, I am not here to defend the police in the UK, I want the article to have a neutral point of view, that's all. I am only ivesting the effort in this dialogue in the hopes that there will be changes made to the article.
There was no weird and erroneous interpretation put on your statement, you grouped armed officers in Britain into a category and then ascribed to them the characteristic of having too high a propensity to open fire in questionable circumstances when they open fire. That's not an interpretation that's fact. "Overall the "problem" seems to be that while armed British police rarely discharge their weapons in an operational evironment, when they do there seem to be a worrying high number of cases where they shouldn't have". What I said was there isn't an "armed British police", there's "armed Metropolitan police", there's "armed Surrey police", there's no "armed British police", so you can't group all armed officers throughout the UK or England and Wales that way, and then make a judgment. Anon 003 00:29, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't see much point in continuing this "debate" if you continue with your erroneous interpretation of what "armed British police" means, even when you've been told otherwise. "British police" are referred to collectively in the British media all the time, yet few people seem to have a problem with understanding what it means. You're also ignoring the fact that despite the country being made up of separate geographic forces (plus specialist national forces), there is commonality of approach on various operational matters via guidelines issues by ACPO, including firearms use. Yet again, I would recommend you also read the transcript of the documentary previously provided, although you'll have to get your head around the fact that it uses the phrase "British police" a few times, as well. Nick Cooper 07:58, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Whether or not there is commonality of approach(which Im not questioning) on certain policies, each "constabulary" is answerable to its individual Police Authority and not the ACPO. And I don't have to be told what armed British police means. In the phrase, "armed British police", "British" is an adjective, however you imply that it isn't when you replace "armed British police" with the pronoun "they". What I have been saying and continue to say is there is no "they", because there's no "British Police", note that police has been capitalized. Whether or not the British media refer to British police collectively really isn't relevant, your media refer to nations in the "MiddleEast" and Asia collectively, so? Anon 003

This is puzzling to me, I don't know if you are purposely being difficult or if you sincerely can't see what's made clear by your statement. Using "armed British police" to refer to officers in Britain who are routinely armed is one thing, however when you use that term and "they" interchangeably, and attribute to them certain characteristics as a group it demonstrates that you view them as a single entity(for whatever reason). Saying "they" open fire in questionable circumstances too often is judging them as if they were a single organziation, how is this difficult for you to see? what's the argument? how is this an "interpretation" and not plain to see?

If one were to say, armed Metropolitan police have a propensity to open fire in questionable circumstances, then they would be correct to judge the Metropolitan Police as a single entity because it is a single entity. Police throughout the UK or England and Wales however are not a single entity therefore it would be wrong to make a general characterization as if they were. This is it for me on this topic, I accept that I can't change this article, good luck. 21:55, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

To be honest, what puzzled me is why both of you apparently seem determined to argue that concerns that do actually exist don't, simply by virtue of some rather warped semantic argument over how those concerns are expressed. There are plenty of examples where armed British police - and the people they shoot - are referred to collectively , e.g. [1], [2], [3], [4], etc., and no amount of quibbling by you is going to make those concerns - or how they are expressed - disappear. Nick Cooper 22:26, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

No one is questioning the concerns some UK residents have about police, if you got that impression from my postings, let me take this opportunity to set things straight, I'm not questioning or disregarding their concerns. However, for an article on wikipedia which has neutrality as one of its goals, it is misleading for so much space to be devoted to controversial/questionable shootings by the police, it tends to give the impression that this is some defining characterisitic of the Law enforcement Establishment in Britain, which clearly is not the case, by virtue of the low numbers. Can you honestly tell me that this article is completely un-biased? That's the main debate here, whether or not the article in it's current form presents a neutral point of view, not the legitimacy of the concerns people have about unnecessary police shootings. There being examples of the media making a broad stroke when it comes to British police is neither here nor there, all that illustrates is their POV. You went through the trouble of providing links to news stories, it would be nice if you let us know who you are by signing your name. Anon 003 15:39, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Excuse me? Once out of eight postings to this page I forget to sign it, and you're so petty as to make a snide comment about it? I don't see any point in talking to you if you're going to resort to that sort of thing. However, that's no great loss, since it seems that what your argument boils down to is somehow thinking that a section on "controversial shootings" shouldn't actually document example of shootings that are widely regarded as being controversial. Nick Cooper 15:57, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

My mistake, after looking at the history of the page is when I realized that it was you who left that comment. When you referred to "both of you", you threw me off I thought it was someone else. There has only been one person responding to you and that's me. Anon 003 16:03, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

You are mistaken about what my argument is, it isn't that a section on controversial shootings shouldn't document examples of shootings, my argument is that there shouldn't be as section called "controversial shootings", and all it is basically is a list. There should be a section devoted to criticisms of the police or a section called "controversy", that's common in most articles dealing with organizations, questionable shootings by the police isn't a defining characteristic of Law enforcement in Britain. Are you saying that it is? Anon 003 16:15, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

I credited your views as not being as extreme as it seems they actually are. Let me get this straight: You - someone who is neither British, nor resident in Britain - are saying that these police shootings in Britain, that are reported and discussed in Britain as being controversial, and hence - coupled with the wider debate on arming the police in the first place - are a major issue as regards policing in Britain... aren't? Have you actually bothered reading any of the citations I've provided? Exactly how many more do you need that demonstarte that this is a major issue?
"The rise in [police] firearms use will increase pressure on Home Secretary David Blunkett to crack down on it. Blunkett has expressed concern at the recent killings of Andrew Kernan, shot brandishing a samurai sword in Merseyside last month, and Derek Bennett, killed on a Brixton estate while holding a gun-shaped cigarette lighter. In both cases lethal force had been used when a non-lethal alternative could have been available." [5]
"The deputy chairman of a police watchdog has called for a wide-ranging public inquiry into the large number of fatal shootings by police officers. Peter Herbert, deputy chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said an inquiry was needed to end a "climate of impunity" which exists in police forces around the country." [6]
"[Member of Parliament Simon Hughes's] comments come amid mounting concern about officers' use of guns following three fatal shootings involving a man armed with a replica pistol, another armed with a sword and a man shot dead in bed by police." [7]
"Police are facing calls for a review of their "shoot to stop" policy after armed officers shot and injured a woman... Firearms expert Mike Yardley called for a review of guidelines for armed police responding to firearms incidents in the light of the incident, saying most such cases involved replica guns or other objects."[8]
And that's just in ten minutes of not very deep searching. Nick Cooper 20:18, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

There wasn't any new revelation from my last post, I've been stating from the start that there shouldn't be a section called "controversial shootings" in this article, I even attempted to edit the article to rename the section "controversy", btw did you even bother to look at what my edits invovled before you undid them? Now I'm only going to state this one final time, I don't doubt that people have concerns or issues with controversial shootings involving police officers in Britain, that's not the issue here, the issue is neutrality. Surely you can see how a disproportionate amount of attention given to a particular issue raises questions of neutrality, can't you? And even you yourself have explained why the media has given so much attention to this particular issue; because shootings are so rare, and quite frankly sensationalistic. However controversial/non-controversial shootings by police are not a defining characteristic of the British Law enforcement establishment, it just isn't, therefore it doesn't deserve a whole section devoted to it in this article. Speaking of the article, it looks a little bit different now since the last time I attempted to edit it.

I tracked down Hammersfan, who had moved the "firearms" section which preceded the controversial shootings section to a different article, leaving the heavily biased "Controversial shootings" section to stand out even more. He attempted to undo his part in this whole mess by creating a new section; "Issues", of which controversial shootings is now a subsection. The article - that section in particular - still has a non-neutral tone, and I continue to question the necessity of the existence/length of the controversial shootings subsection; it really is more of a list, it provides no context just various shootings. The "Deaths in police custody" subsection is even worse, one sentence with a nearly decade old statistic and random information about how deaths in police custody are classified.

Try not to see me as an enemy with "extreme views", can you honestly tell me that these subsections present a NPOV? And is what I'm saying having any effect on you agreeing to change the article? If not, then I'll leave this alone now. Good luck. Anon 003 00:27, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Being a fence-sitting lurker in this debate, it seems to me that both your concerns could be addressed if the section was re-written. It begins by bombarding the reader with a random list of incidents, making it seem like POV cherry-picking (not to mention listy). There are salient issues involved, but they only are mentioned in passing (e.g., cop-safety, concerns over "Americanization," police brutality, etc.) With no context, it's very easy to interpret the section as POV, and it's not informative in the way an encyclopedia should be. bobanny 03:37, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Surely this could be solved by rewriting the heading Fatal Shootings with a controversial shootings subheading. It fustrates me to see such effort put into disputes that could be resolved without any compromise. look how long this discussion point goes on for! All of this time could have been focused on actually improving the article.I will hopefully attempt to find a solutionChendy 14:07, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Chendy, may I ask what the purpose of a Fatal Shootings heading is? I raise this question because this article is long as it is already, especially this section, and the history section. If you created a new "Fatal shootings" heading Im afraid that might inspire others to come along and add to the list, as was the case when someone created the "Controversial shootings" heading. That person; Moren, did that without adding to the existing two shootings, but people after him(?) came along and over the course of several months added five more. I recommend a Controversy heading with sub-headings encompassing the various criticisms of the police in the UK,including fatal/non-fatal controversial shootings. My main objection is the prominence controversial shootings is given in a general article about Law enforcement in Britain. If someone wanted to give some statistics and then a limited number of recent high profile examples along with appropiate context, I'd support that. I think that's reasonable, how about you? But in the current form as Bobanny has said the section is a list. And if you are so inclined you could incorporate all the shootings listed here into a larger article dealing specifically with controversial police shootings as you did with the "Deaths in police custody" article. I have vowed not to edit the article again, this is the last I have to say about it here unless someone asks for my input. Good luck. Anon 003 23:47, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I think you are still failing to appreciate - and hence give the impression of belittling or attempting to marginalise - the degree to which police shootings are regarded as being an issue in Britain. Just because in certain countries the police shooting someone barely merits a couple of column inches outside of the local newspaper, doesn't mean that is universally true. This is a matter of public concern in Britain, so for you - someone who is not Brtish - to come along and flatly state, "there shouldn't be a section called 'controversial shootings' in this article," comes across as grossly arrogant. Exactly who are you to declare, "controversial/non-controversial shootings by police are not a defining characteristic of the British Law enforcement establishment, it just isn't" when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary? The very fact that you are making such blanket statements is more grounds to question your neutrality. There are a number of "Law enforcement in..." pages which highlight controversial issues, and not all are the same from copunty-to-country, but surely those who are more familiar with the country in question are in the best position to judge what is worth including.
However, we should try to move this forwards. It is clear that this will be better dealt with in a separate article, but since this whole issue is inextricably linked to the wider issue of the use of firearms by British police, a simple "controversial shootings" page is too narrow. For one thing, not all such shootings are controversial for the same reason, or universally regarded as controversial; a criminal shot while brandishing what later turns out to be a replica firearm, for example, is not the same as someone who was not a criminal and not in possession of any weapon being shot as a result of mistaken identity, poor police intelligence, or whatever. My own preference would be Police use of firearms in the United Kingdom, covering history, weapons used in the past and currently, training regimes, and so on. Obviously this will entail "bleeding off" some/all the appropriate material from Uniforms and equipment of the British police and certain other pages. Due to the markedly diffrent operational conditions in Northern Ireland, there should be a clear differentiation between the RUC/PSNI and forces on the mainland, if not dealing with them on separate pages. Nick Cooper 11:37, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

UK Immigration Service and UK Customs.[edit]

Can the UK Immigration Service and the UK Customs and Revenue be considered as police forces?

No. They're entirely civilian organisations, although with some law enforcement powers. -- Necrothesp 16:45, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
While I don't disagree that the Immigration Service and Customs and Revenue aren't police forces, I should point out that UK police are generally also all civilian organizations. -- SiobhanHansa 18:03, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Name change?[edit]

More than one UK editor has commented that the term "law enforcement" isn't much used in the UK like it is in North America (where I am). Shouldn't this article be renamed "Policing in the United Kingdom" then? bobanny 07:02, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

That would make more sense to me. Does anyone here know why the article was called law enforcement in the first place? -- SiobhanHansa 18:05, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I just checked, and it appears to have been moved in order to standardize the category Category:Law enforcement by country. I'm all for standardization standardisation, but it shouldn't come at the expense of regional specificity. If "law enforcement" is considered an Americanism in the UK, it should be changed back, but I'm not in a position to make that call. My understanding is that "law enforcement" is used only infrequently in the UK to account for non-police agencies that have law enforcement powers, whereas in the US, "police" and "law enforcement" are interchangable. The reason in the US is that policing is constitutionally a local power, so federal police (e.g., FBI, DEA, ATF) are called law enforcement rather than police. Anyone in the UK want to weigh in? bobanny 19:18, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the research. I've invited User:Kintetsubuffalo and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Law Enforcement to contribute to the discussion too. -- SiobhanHansa 19:41, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
It was moved at my behest if I remember correctly. My reasons were simply that using "law enforcement" standardised it with the other law enforcement articles. I would vote to keep it as such for mere standardisation's sake, I'm British but I write in American on here because that seems to be the norm, I don't really agree with this british-talk-for-british-articles thing, but whatever concensus is reached here will be fine with WP:LE as far as I know. :) SGGH speak! 18:36, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Was there any thought about the fact that this article doesn't cover law enforcement in the UK in general, but only policing? (And does that have any practical impact at the moment?) -- SiobhanHansa 19:10, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree that standardising to an American term is unacceptable and really the argument dcould eb used to change all the law enforcement articles to soemthing more neutral. I think Policing in the UK sounds much better and would support said move, SqueakBox 19:13, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree. "Policing in..." is far more appropriate. "Law enforcement in..." can be made a redirect or a diambiguation or other explanatory page, as appropriate. Nick Cooper 19:26, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I disagree, "law enforcement in..." is a very appropriate title for many of the other articles I believe, because 85% of such articles cover all aspects of law enforcement in that country, and outside of the UK law enforcement isn't that uncommon a term. Hence why the UK article was moved to law enforcement. I don't disagree the move of this article to policing in... but I oppose the renaming of all other law enforcement in articles in such a manner, and certainly the latter discussion should be made on WT:LE as it very much concerns the law enforcement wikiproject, I feel. SGGH speak! 22:15, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

For what it's worth, the contribution by bobanny 19:18, 9 August 2007 (UTC) is a pretty good analysis, with which I agree. Law enforcement is a much wider activity in its scope than policing, but around two-thirds of policing isn't law enforcement... or, at least, that was the situation when I was fully operational! GraceCourt (talk) 00:17, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Metpolice1.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Metpolice1.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot 08:40, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Lamborghini Gallardo[edit]

Is this really a correct pictur to use here? The car itself was only on loan from Lamborghini London, and was only used for publicity, never as a working car. Darkson (Yabba Dabba Doo!) 15:36, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Then it's probably inappropriate. Giving the impression the Police actually drive such a vehicle is wrong, and highlighting something that's just a PR car gives it inappropriate weight. -- SiobhanHansa 16:20, 28 November 2007 (UTC)


This whole article needs a rewrite, because it is only concerned with the police and not other law enforcement agencies. ninety:one 11:12, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

"Controversial cases" cases[edit]

This section is poorly sourced and/or very badly written, and highly selective, so I'm deleting the whole thing. Nick Cooper (talk) 02:56, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Jurisdictions and territories[edit]

I've been working on an entire re-write to include all LE personnel, and would appreciate feedback. User:Ninetyone/test2. Thanks! ninety:one 22:25, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Extended Jursidictions[edit]

It mentions in the text that MOD Police have 'extended' jurisdiction when requested by a Home Office constable for assistance. British Transport Police also have this jurisdiction - known as the Extended Jurisdiction which is outlined in the Terrorism Act 2000. This enables BTP officers, say on duty in the city centre near railway property, to assist the local HO force for any reason without there being a problem of the BTP officers being 'out of their jurisdiction'. BNC85 (talk) 05:59, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Not quite - It is a conditional extended power and not the same as Home Office constables. There are certain specific conditions which must be met to 'extend' BTP officers jurisdiction. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dibble999 (talkcontribs) 19:05, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Image Change[edit]

The image of the Ford Focus is non-representative of UK police cars:

- One the Vauxhall Astra is the most populous police vehicle used in the UK - The Focus is a first generation model and therefore probably not still in service

There fore i will change the focus image with an astra photos from the Bedfordshire Police page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobbyfett (talkcontribs) 17:38, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Do you have a reference for how "pupulous" the vehicle is? If not please do not use is as a reason, I disagree with you so I have further reverted you, because Wikipedia rules state that the material which is challenged (being your edits) stay off until an agreement is reached. Also, forces use many different vehicles, for many different things, I'm not sure its wise to clasify any as "the most populous police vehicle", I await your reply with anticipation. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 18:45, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Jack i appreciate your editing and concern. I would challenge the use of the ford focus on the site. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:43, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Ok, fine. I agree, now the picture is removed the discussion is closed. But if you want to delete/replace images in the future, it would be appreciated if you could drop a note on this page to inform of your motives, thanks. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 17:03, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Then would find it appropriate as more modern image to use the Astra

I have found this licensed wikipedia image anyone have any issues of it not being included on this page:

Image:London Police in Piccadilly2.jpg —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobbyfett (talkcontribs) 19:11, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

RE: First use of Law enforcement in the United Kingdom template[edit]

Its very good, certainly brings all the information together. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 17:01, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Re: Deaths after contact with the police[edit]

The following quote is ludicrously see-through:

That there have been no convictions does not prove that 'bad apples are seldom brought to justice', and the quote is misleading in this respect. Furthermore, use of the quote gives undue weight to the opinion within. ninety:one 22:52, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

As the person who added the quote, I disagree:
Re. undue weight, The Economist is a respected media outlet with no obvious a-priori biases in this matter; the quote summarizes the content of the following paragraphs and the public opinion about it quite well.
Re. the logic of the statement: The given facts present quite a damning case through inference in my opinion. By your standard of "proof", they would pretty much have to pick out several of the already-resolved deaths-after-contact and accuse the killers of manslaughter etc. Obviously no newspaper would do that outright: they would be sued for slander whether they were right or wrong... -- Marcika (talk) 13:29, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
So you're saying the quote is deliberately vague because, actually, they can't prove what they're saying? Therefore it's the opinion of whichever hack wrote it up and doesn't belong in an encyclopedia article. ninety:one 14:31, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I am saying that the quote deserves to be there as a statement of media opinion of the English police and the IPCC. (The collection of hacks at the Economist are the most credible hacks you have in the UK.) If and when we have a statement of an equally credible source (i.e. not a policeman or politician) who states that all of these killings were justified or accidental, we can include that as well. -- Marcika (talk) 08:41, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

es: While the Economist quoted above is not factually incorrect - at least in one case two officers were jailed (Leeds, 1971, assault on Mr Oluwale). But that was not for "murder or manslaughter for a death following police contact". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:08, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Edits by John Nevard[edit]

John Nevard has twice tried to introduce the following text:

Officers are often subjected to long bureaucratic inquiries following routine responses to armed offenders. These frontline officers are then placed on support or training duties, and are unable to respond to further violent offenders.[9][10]

Both references refer to the fact that in incidents in which armed polcie open fire, their actions are investigated as a matter of routine. It is not the case - as implied by John Nevard's text - that "routine" deployments of such officers as a whole are investigated to the level in question, i.e. at which officers are suspended from firearms duties pending the outcome. It should also be noted that both reports deal solely with the Metropolitan Police, and there is little evidence that there are similar concerns in other forces. Nick Cooper (talk) 17:52, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Recent government plans of partial privatisation (2012)[edit]

Hi! This is from Guardian so it should be considered reliable and included somewhere in the "recent section".[11] Anyway, it is unneutral to put it under "Recent issues"—that would imply that privatisation is automatically an issue like racism and stuff. Suggestions on how this could be added without bias? -- Frous (talk) 16:59, 4 March 2012 (UTC)


"...Territorial police constables have certain powers of arrest in countries (my emph.) other than the one they were attested in..."

Should countries not be counties? Does UK PC have power of arrest (say) in USA? or China? Nothern Ireland police cannot (officially) cross the Irish border, not to mention arrest someone in Eire. If I am wrong - tell me. Thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:46, 20 July 2012 (UTC)


Could someone look at the height section? It states that height restrictions were dropped because of the 1999 Macpherson Report, and then goes on to say that they were dropped in 1990. Both statements are unreferenced. (talk) 21:35, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Legal basis[edit]

Something I am curious about is the legal basis for police forces and their status as corporate bodies and the status of police officers themselves. Constable is an appointed office, and has been shown in the courts several times to not be an employment contract, so some discussion of this kind of detail would be useful, I think. (talk) 13:17, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Police brutality: The camera is mightier than the sword, The Economist, 16 April 2009