Talk:Police officer

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The lack of references, and the problems listed below, keep this article as a start in my opinion--SGGH 14:48, 1 November 200 bc (UTC)

I tend to agree. However, being a newbe I would ask more experienced editors to either delete it or source it.Fraberj (talk) 07:42, 30 December 200 bc (UTC)
Somebody should really do a re-assesment of this article. It is now way beyond Start Class. Hallows AG (talk) 08:41, 30 October 20o bc (UTC)


How do people here feel about merging Police officer with Police? Generalcp702 21:55, 29 March 2006 (UTC) would be akin to merging doctor with medicine or clergy with religion. In other words, probably not a good idea.

Not such a good idea. They are two totally different subjects. Wikipedian27 19:45, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I think they should be merged or this one deleted if not sourced soon and disagree with Wikipedian27. It seems too large and grows with no sourcing at all. Fraberj (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 07:46, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


Sign here when you visit this page. I want to know how often people come here. --Generalcp702 22:30, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

16:22, 15 November 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

This is a very old message, but in case anyone has the same question, the page views can be checked at Article traffic statistics. It appears this talk page is viewed a couple of times per day, on average. -TeaDrinker (talk) 16:26, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

"school leavers"[edit]

"Although recruits to the police force are often school leavers..."

Can someone please clarify this? Does this mean that police officers are often highschool dropouts? Can this be verfied?

its a british term, it means finished secondary school, but do not go on to further education. StrengthCoach 07:57, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Then shouldn't that be fixed? Non-Brits would perhaps take it to mean "those who quit school before completion".

I mistook it for "dropout", I also found it irrelevent to the topic under discussion (service in military or security services) no matter what the country involved and deleted it.--Buckboard 10:01, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

You should flag it for deletion so others may vote. Further, I find that the quality of oversight of police in my area and quality in general, as per railroadings is quite important an issue. Deleting it shows bias or not enough knowledge on the subject. Particularly when the entire court system is there to address this very subject as well.Fraberj (talk) 07:52, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

police "officers"[edit]

In countries using the English system, only those police members who have reached the rank of inspector or above are officers. Calling a police sergeant a police officer is like calling an army sergeant an army officer. Avalon 08:56, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Complete rubbish, I'm afraid. All British police are "police officers", no matter what their rank. This might not be the case in other countries, but it's certainly true throughout the United Kingdom. -- Necrothesp 00:06, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

i think that there shouldnt be any controversy on this subject

"Officer" is strictly generic here.--Buckboard 10:02, 4 April 2006 (UTC)


Where does the term "cop" come from? I have heard it is from the British Constable On Patrol. I have also heard it is b/c their copper badge. Any truth?

For what its worth, I always assumed "cop" was an abbreviation of "copper", which is still used in Commonwealth English. "Copper" I believe came from "catch". The expressions, "Its a fair cop" (Its a reasonable charge which I (the villain) accept) and "I'll cop to that" (I'll admit my guilt in relation to that offence) would seem to be related. Avalon 11:35, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
The most likely explanation is that it comes from "to cap", an archaic term meaning "to arrest"; this was pronounced as "cop" in Northern England, and police officers came to be known as "coppers", which was later shortened back to "cop" in America. -- Necrothesp 00:12, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
For the Record, the OED lists this etymology. Piaggio108 22:50, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Don't forget the Latin term 'cappere', to capture... VJ Emsi 11:01, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

In Canada and the UK, C.O.P. stands for "Constable On Patrol". Other ideas surrounding this term seem to have developed, but the original and intended meaning is a fact.

No, this is almost certainly a fallacy, not a fact. For a start, police officers have only been known as "cops" in the UK in fairly recent years under American influence - "coppers" is still the commoner usage and almost the exclusive usage within the job itself (although "bobbies" is commoner still). -- Necrothesp 14:11, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I have never heard 'constable on patrol' used in the UK. I would also expect early badges to be made of hard-wearing brass, not copper. 00:54, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Maybe "bobbies" is common where you are, but I don't think I've ever heard it used seriously in 25-odd years of living in southern England. Marnanel (talk) 17:17, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
From personal experience, in the North of England, the term bobbies is certainly still in wide usage. --Geoff Riley (talk) 20:14, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, I heard that it is derived from an era where the British Police used copper sheilds- thus "Copper" then "Cop". Apparently, there are lots of myths. Someone needs to come up with a source Angrynight 00:50, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I saw a TV documentary some time ago that confirms your understanding. Apparently, according to that show, the first shields were made of copper. Jeff dean 02:19, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Also, cop may come from the action of making an arrest, in the past in the UK police were known to "cop" someone. 0103, 31Oct2006

I seriously doubt the slang term is based on an official abbreviation.
The movie Mad Max made me think about the obvious relation with the metal, too. In the UK the term "copper" as long form of "cop" seems to be rather common, so it'd make sense to assume the short form came later and the slang "copper" actually had something to do with the metal of the same name (IIRC in Mad Max the "coppers" were called bronzes because of the metal their badges were made of).
I prefer the term copper myself because it sounds less disparaging (IMO, anyway) and works nicer in German (which tends to favour slang words with two syllables), which would only offer the insulting "Bulle" (bull) as slang phrase for cops otherwise, which is why I've been wondering.
Either way, which one of both, if either, is considered more insulting and would it be considered an offense if you used it in the presence of a police officer? The German slang phrase can result in a non-trivial fine, so I'd rather know in advance before pissing off the wrong guys on my next trip to the Isles. — Ashmodai (talk · contribs) 16:22, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Snopes has a new page that answers this pretty thoroughly...

(As ever, Wikipedia can't give legal advice, but...) 1) I seriously doubt you could be charged with an offence purely for insulting an officer, as such. But there are always offences like "causing a breach of the peace" which could be made to fit; this gentleman [1] was arrested for the fighting as well as the insult. 2) "Cop", "copper", etc., are not derogatory in the UK (there ARE derogatory words, it's just not those). 3) If in doubt you could just stick to saying "policeman", of course. :) Marnanel (talk) 17:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Infectious diseases?[edit]

Why do infectious diseases deserve mention as a danger to police officers? Aren't they dangers to the entire public? --Generalcp702 00:04, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Police officers are much more at risk, since they often deal with blood (which may well be contaminated), drug users and people with little concern for hygiene. -- Necrothesp 13:51, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was don't move, of course. —Nightstallion (?) Seen this already? 07:52, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

it's now "increased risk of" --Buckboard 10:03, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Has any AIDS infected suspect ever tried to intentionally get some kind of bodily fluid (containing HIV)onto the officer.(Smearing blood from wounds,spitting on/licking the officer,or (if in can be contracted this way) urinating on the officer?)

Requested move[edit]

Talk:Police officer … Police officer → Police Officer … Police Officer is more likely to be typed than Police officer but Police Officer redirects to Police. Generalcp702 00:53, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~
  • Oppose. Standard capitalization, lowercase term (P only capitalized because initial caps turned on), not a proper name, no-brainer. Either redirect "Police Officer" to "Police officer" or merge this article with "Police". Gene Nygaard 06:55, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per Gene. Jonathunder 03:45, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as in this context "Police Officer" is not a proper noun. David Kernow 12:11, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose If no one else has done it, I'll change the redirect, Septentrionalis 21:57, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

who wrote this?[edit]

"It is a common misconception that police officers work to "serve and protect." In reality they are there to protect the interest of the rich, powerful and corrupt. This reality is best illustrated by the slang term PIG, whigh also illustrates the type of personality required to enslave and rob individuals of their God-granted freedom"

man! i thought everything i've heard about regarding misinformation on wikipedia was a joke. this is ridiculous though, and i deleted it.

Good deletion, probably someone from or somethin...

The term "PIG" probably belongs in a criticism of law enforcement or police brutality.

Hmmmmm.... Why do you want to know who they are? Are you a cop? You will notice, as well that someone wants everyone here to sign in? Seems like a police officer or vested interest trying to induce the well known chilling effect. As well you who deleted it know nothing of it (or are police as well) and how the police have ways to shut you up if you complain about the railroadings that occur. You complain to Internal Affairs then they come out to "investigate" the report. They will only be "investigating" the victims of their railroadings and use the evidence to railroad you further like "making false police reports", while they lie to the court (with immunity of course). The chief of police, and any one else in this U.S. dictatorship can call on them to "sneak and peek" search you, tap your phone or even date you with a "swallow" and worse if the political issue is big enough. Oh, and all these undercover cops (obliterating the 4th amendment) will race-bait, ethics-bait, child molester-bait you to boot. Soon the other cops even believe their own lies. The rat's nest comes down on you. Will the lawyers sue them? Not in many places, they will be in danger. And the legal fees? They have handlings to those railroaded who have something to say. Including placing undercover cops in their businesses to sabotage them, or delete your MySpace site, rob and beat you up posing as robbers, or all of the above again and again until you keep quite, etc., etc., etc. What's worse is all the cops know what's going on too. Wake up people, when the "ring of steel" is extended world wide along with the eyes in the sky you will not be able to then. Fraberj (talk) 08:41, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Faberj, that was hilarious! : ) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:58, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Officer Down Memorial Page[edit]

Putting this in Wikipedia was a copyright violation; it has been removed and will not be restored so the link to it needed to be removed from this article. Rlquall 16:26, 15 September 2006 (UTC)


It would be undeniably POV to leave out a criticism of cops, considering how many people do criticize them.

Sure. Just find credible sources and write it in an encyclopaedic tone. OTOH, I think notable allegations of corruption/brutality against specific officers or specific forces belong in the articles about those particular forces, and general concerns about the Police belong on that page, or at Police brutality etc. FiggyBee 00:33, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

police brutality[edit]

The line "Police brutality cases are on the rise in many democratic industrialized nations, especially the United States.[1]" is both unsupported (the provided link only gives statistics for the United States) and the "proof" that "police brutality" is on the rise in the United States is a quote from an obviously biased individual in the middle of an editorial masquerading as a news story. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 7:44, 8 January 2007.

Conflicting information[edit]

The passage states that officers are more likely to be killed in car accidents than by suspects, yet the evidence offered contradicts that statement:

Officers are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents because of their large amount of time spent traveling/patrolling as well as their work outside their vehicles alongside or on the roadway or in dangerous pursuits. Officers killed by suspects make up a smaller proportion of deaths. In the U.S. in 2005, 156 line of duty deaths were recorded of which 44% were from assaults on officers, 35% vehicle related (only 3% during vehicular pursuits) and the rest from other causes: heart attacks during arrests/foot pursuits, diseases contracted from suspects, accidental gun discharges, falls, and drownings.[1]

While it may be true that vehicle deaths are more common overall, perhaps a different source should be used that encompasses more than one year of statistics and/or references the proportions in other countries.

Npschuma 06:55, 7 February 2007 (UTC)Npschuma

Notable Police Officers[edit]

I notice that the notable police officers section has been more or less copletely duplicated at Well-known_police_officers. I would suggest that might be a better place for it than to have a long list here on the main article, so perhaps the whole section should be replaced by a link in the 'see also' area. If not, perhaps the other page should be redirected here. Stevecudmore 01:57, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

((Chirp, Chirp)) Okay, then, I made sure everyone was on the other page, added a link and removed the section. Stevecudmore 19:07, 15 May 2007 (UTC)


There's nothing on the police officers of historic times.

For instance, the origin, dress, procedures etc etc of the British "Bobby" of times gone by. 13:34, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

third sentence[edit]

minor changes, but I believe it would read better to say, "Police officers can be trained in a vast array of specialties including armed response, hostage negotiation. . ." I have never heard "specialisms" before, but I am not a police officer (or English teacher) and I could be wrong. 00:41, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

I have changed it, and also trimmed down the list which was well unwieldy. There's also a different list of "specialisms" further down the article... FiggyBee 01:24, 6 July 2007 (UTC)


A quick note on capitalisation: as a rule, the names of jobs are not capitalised (firefighter, plumber, police officer, president) except where they are a formal job title that is used with a name (Police Constable Smith, President Clinton). Thus:

"I called 911 and said I needed a police officer. Before long, Officer Bloggins arrived."

(My reference: The Canadian Press Stylebook, XI edition) Stevecudmore 16:38, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Any help?[edit]

I know the term "bobby" has been recently replaced by another one, but I don't know which one... Can anybody tell me, please?

Thanks in advance —Preceding unsigned comment added by Emmagruiz (talkcontribs) 18:28, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it was ever a formal or official name. It's a nickname, after Robert Peel, and as far as I know, it's still used. "Peelers" was another nickname in the 19th century that has fallen into disuse (except when referring to strippers). Do you recall where you got that impression? bobanny 17:07, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

How much did they pay you?[edit]

This sounds like a TOTAL ad for becoming a cop. And with your special vandalism policies, how much more could you ask for? Yes you have that oh so special section that discrbes 'alternative' views on coppers but please, where are all the views? There are people who have legitimate reasons to despise the police - these aren't just alternatives but blunt oppositions. How much further will the country go to bend over backwards for a group of power hunger jerks who are on the take. I believe there needs to be a massive rewrite of this article and hope to make some changes in the future. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Line of duty deaths[edit]

"Despite the increased risk of being a victim of a homicide, automobile accidents are the most common cause of officer deaths. (...) Officers killed by suspects make up a smaller proportion of deaths. In the U.S. in 2005, 156 line of duty deaths were recorded of which 44% were from assaults on officers, 35% vehicle related..."

Maybe my English isn't good enough to correctly understand this paragraph, but to me, it seems to be contradictory. (talk) 06:42, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

The first sentence refers to cops in general, the second to those in the US in general which seems to have a higher rate of assault on cops if the first sentence is correct. Perhaps the term suspect refers to only those who are suspected of a crime aside from the assault, and so the 44% can be broken down into random attacks and attacks from suspects. Just my take on what the sentene means. (talk) 10:10, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Bobby on the beat[edit]

There is a claim that policemen are known as "bobbies on the beat". I changed this to "bobby". It is well-known that police officers in the UK are called "bobbies", but "bobby on the beat" refers specifically to a policeman on patrol. A policeman walking the streets is a "bobby on the beat"; a policeman behind a desk is just a "bobby"; the Chief Constable of a police force is certainly not referred to as a "bobby on the beat". If whoever posted this can provide references to back up their claim I'll be happy to change my mind. here is an interesting article which talks somewhat about 'beat' patrolling. here is another answer - not an RS but gives a good idea of what the difference is. here is another. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:02, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

I have a reference for it. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 16:05, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Plus, they are known as "bobbies on the beat", thats how they are known best. It does not matter if they are on patrol or not, Chief Constable or not, he/she was once out on the beat, and they still would rarely to see how things operate among officers. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 16:07, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Let's see the reference before concluding; but just to be clear I can turn up many thousands of references to British Policemen as just "Bobbies", do you have as many? [2] [3] [4] or google "british bobby". See also Police. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:10, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Nope, dont have thousands, sorry. Is your thing about being able to turn up "thousands" of references, supposed to be some sort of "I'm right your wrong" kind of thing. Also, you could turn up a million references, it wouldnt stop me sleeping, but references have to be reliable. I have a reliable reference for it, written by an ex MPS Chief Super. But then again you have thousands of references! Oh my goodness! I'm beat! lol. What did you want me to say, your majesty. Keep it as what you want, I dont really care. But the thing is, they are best known as "bobbies on the beat" who cares if you have thousands of references on them just being called "bobbies", yes they are called that, but it originates from "bobbies on the beat" so I think the it would be wise to include that, but whatever you say. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 17:16, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Please don't be sarcastic. My point about the number of references is that one guy might refer to all British policemen as "bobby on the beat", but if everyone else refers to them as just "bobby" then that's what Wikipedia goes with. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:26, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
Police,Mad,Jack, you haven't yet supplied your reference, so please don't put your version back, even in brackets. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:28, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Jack, I don't have that book immediately available, but please could you quote whatever is in the book that makes you think all policemen are called "bobby on the beat". And again one reference doesn't override the many references that show the nickname as "bobby". DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:08, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Sometimes, I wonder what sort of people I talk to on here. Since when did I state that all were called that? Never. Its just that is what they are commonly known as, a bobby on the beat. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 16:11, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Let me rephrase: please could you quote whatever is in the book that makes you think "bobby on the beat" is a nickname for all police officers, as opposed to those who are actually patrolling, or whose duties are mainly patrolling? DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:15, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

You dont understand what I mean. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 16:16, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Then feel free to explain to me what you mean. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:17, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

I have. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 16:33, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

If you think I didn't understand you, maybe you could explain it again. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:39, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Forget it, you can have your bottle. Stop doing this just to prove a point, I dont really care, I dont want to upset you. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 16:34, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Please don't take this personally. You have a particular view of what "bobby on the beat" means, and I disagree with it. This happens a lot at Wikipedia, and it's normal to discuss it like adults, citing references to back up our views, and occasionally restating an argument if we think the other has misunderstood. That's exactly what I've done, and you are welcome to do it too. If you don't want to be involved that's up to you too. Enjoy your editing elsewhere in Wikipedia. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:39, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Bobby, means very little on its own. It needs context. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 17:36, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

I think nicknames aren't meant to mean anything on their own - "cop" doesn't mean anything on its own; unless you know already that it means "policeman" then you're not going to understand it. The same with "bobby". Anyway, people mostly don't give it context. They just use the word and let you either understand it or not. DJ Clayworth (talk) 18:10, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Police,Mad,Jack: Please don't just change things to your point of view and stop talking on the talk page. If you can't reach a consensus for your point of view then you shouldn't change the article that way. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:31, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

What more is to be said? I have explained that it needs context, bobby means nothing at all on its own. It needs context. For goodness sakes, let someone else edit, instead of being a bully. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 17:32, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I put it to you that it's irrelevant. "Bobby" is specific only to the UK, so it's not appropriate to be in the lead of an article about police officers worldwide. It belongs in an article about British policing. A person reading this article might get the wrong impression that "bobby" is an appropriate term for a US cop. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:37, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Also known as[edit]

I propose that the list of names "also known as" is cut down. While "policeman" "copper" and "cop" are pretty universal "bobby" is specifically British and "Police Constable" is technically a rank, and only applicable to officers of that rank and in forces where the rank exists. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:03, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

PC exsists in all Home Office, British Police Forces. But I agree, although I think we should keep copper because that is well known. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 15:10, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, my point is that "Police Constable" applies only to British forces and a few others that derive from it historically. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:30, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Your wrong, many forces outside of GB, use Constable. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 15:40, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Technically it's a rank, as I'm sure you are aware. And I've found less than ten countries that use the rank. In the US "constable" means something else entirely. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:14, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

In the UK Constable is not a rank,all police officers of whatever rank are appointed in the office of Constable with exactly the same police powers,this is why the senior officer of each police force is the Chief Constable.The lowest rank is that of Police Constable or P.C. (talk) 20:45, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

As well as being the legal office, as such, it is a rank. See any list of ranks of any forces in the UK. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 14:09, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Societal norms[edit]

"the major role of the police is to maintain order, keeping the peace through enforcement of laws and societal norms". I don't think the police are normally charged with keeping "societal norms". Does anyone have examples where they are? DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:23, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Three days and no answers. I'm going to remove it. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:36, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

Hi all! I've read the article and read through your debate above. I see the issue as being a split between what is appropriate for listing as another colleqiual name for a police officer and what is not. My recommendation is a compromise. I'd advise that you should consider a new section for the article entitled "Other terms for police officer. Included in that section would be things like "Cop", "Bobby", "Flatfoot" etc... but only if they are reliable sources that list them as such. Additional names would also state where a police officer is known by that name. Do remember that Wikipedia is niether US or UK centric, but universal! Phrases such as "Bobby on the beat" are not really terms per se, rather I think that they are descriptive phrases (but that's a personal opinion and if a WP:RS can be found then so be it. I'd remove the section in the introduction that says "(also known as a "policeman", Police Constable, and colloquially as "copper" or "cop")" as it would be covered by the new section. I'd also list a police officer as a warranted or sworn officer as not all policemen have a warrant card, some are sworn by a judge. Comments? :-) Fr33kmantalk APW 19:40, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I'd be happy with that. DJ Clayworth (talk) 19:52, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
User McGeddon has added an internal link to List of slang terms for police officers which I think is good. I still think that the article needs a section, perhaps now entitled "Common terms for police officer" which would list, say no more than the 6 to 10 names and then provide a [see also:List of slang terms for police officers. Comment? Fr33kmantalk APW 20:11, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Shame he could not just see sense, and reality, to realise that bobbies are known as "bobbies on the beat" despite me repeating myself like a rapper over and over, and over again. I agree, lets lose the section of other names. Bobbies are known as "bobbies on the beat", the sentance containing that needs context, if you just put bobby, someone without understand, is going to think "what the hell is that" especially if they are not from Great Britain, whereas "on the beat" adds a perspective. No one had a problem with it before, but neither of us are backing down. So we should lose the thing in the lead all together. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 14:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm 40, born and raised in England and still live there. Yes, I've heard of "bobby on the beat", however, I disagree that it is a commonly used everyday term by the public in the modern era. Yes, it is used by the government almost every day for political reasons but not by the average man on the street. They would refer to them as "cops", "the old bill" or "bobbys" (well the nice names anyway). The important part of "Bobby on the beat" is the word "Bobby". It is that (based on Sir Robert Peel, also known as "Peelers") that causes a police officers to be known as "bobby's" (from Bobby's Boys as you know). "Bobby on the beat" is a phrase, "Bobby" is a term, a nickname if you will. The phrase "Bobby on the beat" should be added to the "Bobby" line in the list of slang names for a police officer. As for readers not understanding the word "bobby", the same could be true of any term. You are using your personal experience of the usage of terms to determine what people "everywhere" will understand. This is dangerous. There are probably people out there that have never heard the term "cop", or "fuzz". The wise reader will follow the link to the slang terms :-) We are trying for compromise here. That is the way forward in the vast majority of disputes. I think we have stuck up a good possible arrangement where everyones wishes are taken into consideration and where everyone gets at least some of what they want. Fr33kmantalk APW 15:13, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Add if it's put into the proposed section called "Common terms for police officer" then only a really unobservant reader could confuse the term. Fr33kmantalk APW 15:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
List of slang terms for police officers explains about "bobby", and talks about the usage of "bobby on the beat". DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:33, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

We should just drop the other names, Police Officer is what they are called officially in most cases, although some others do exsist. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 15:37, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

How about we keep something like; "Police officer ... (also known as police constable)"? No slang terms in the introduction, but an inclusion of constable, because many are thus; and then put a link to the slang names page? Fr33kmantalk APW 21:38, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Thats a good idea, because in lots of countries the starting rank is Constable. This is especially helpful to include, due to Constable actually being a title within the law, its not just a rank. Most police officers, although not all, hold the title of a Constable which is where power dreives from, well most of it anyway. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 15:18, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Constable is country specific. It's used in the UK and some countries that inherited from the UK system, such as Canada (but even then not in all forces). In the US constable means something different completely, not a police officer. In other countries it isn't known at all. Why don't we create a section on other names for police officers where we can go into the necessary detail without cluttering up the intro? DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:26, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Constable is not used in the US, thats fine. Because it will say "Police Constable" rather than the latter. Dont worry about cluttering up the lead, if we messed around trying to make things pretty and pink, we would never get anywhere. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 15:29, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
"Police constable" isn't used in the US either. And not cluttering up the lead is an important part of making a readable article. Fr33kman suggested a separate section and I agree with him. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:50, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
  • This is true. A US constable is a municipal office, or a state one. Fr33kmantalk APW 04:32, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
For goodness sakes, I know its not used in the US. Thats why I suggested calling it "Police Constable" avoiding you complaint, that it is not used in the same capacity as other places. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 15:55, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
As Clayworth says, the term "police constable" is not used in the US. A new section does seem like the best solution here. --McGeddon (talk) 15:57, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
  • I think that a section is a good idea. I'd also agree that constable is a bit Commonwealth centric (can you call something that widespread, centric?) so it shouldn't go in the introduction: makes sense. I guess the aim is to keep it as generic as possible. Fr33kmantalk APW 04:32, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Since when did I say it was? See my above posts. Dear god, read what I write. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 16:02, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Dude, tone. We're trying to finish this off and move on with our lives ... :-) Fr33kmantalk APW 04:32, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry if my tone was bad, but how many times did I have to type the above? Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 08:10, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

On 12 September 15:55 you wrote: "I know its [constable] not used in the US. Thats why I suggested calling it Police Constable". Then when we pointed out that police constable was also not used in the US you wrote "Since when did I say it was?". DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:20, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

I said we should use PC because it would show it apart from the US, why does it always have to be about the US? Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 17:21, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

It should never be all about the US Jack, it should be about nowhere in particular. An encyclopedia article should be as generic as possible in its terminology. Since this is about the police officers of the World and because it's in English, I think that the thought is that it shouldn't contain any specialist terms at all. "Police officer" is generic, no one denies that. It is what "they" are (everywhere). "PC" is specific to commonwealth countries, and not even all of those anymore. I really it think that it would make sense not to use it. Fr33kmantalk APW 04:21, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Function in the intro[edit]

I think it entirely appropriate to have a summary in the intro of what a police officer does. I've added one. It's appropriate to summarise in the intro things that are specified in the main article body. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:54, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Very good title to the section It could be "Function of the intro". I'd call it a vital part. The introduction should be just that, a brief overview of the most important points of the rest of the article. One reason that this is important (having a good intro) are navpopups. Those things that popup when you hover over a page (assuming you're using them). They give a nice and quick 'snapshot' that often allows a reader to continue in the article they're reading whilst being able to lookup the meanings or words and finding out basic information about things and people. :-) Fr33kmantalk APW 04:39, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

as a police woman[edit]

hi mi name is halleena winphrie and i want to b a poilce woman am now 14teen years old am in the 8th grade and i was tryin to find the nature the working conditions the skills needed and i cant find it so i would like some one to put them on here so i can find there easyer


soon noun as ms.officer winphrie —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi Haleena. I'm afraid this is the wrong place to be asking this. This page is for writing an encyclopedia about police officers. You might try at Wikipedia:Reference desk. But the best thing to do is ask at your local police force. Some places even have "police cadets", which you can join as young as 14. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:27, 16 October 2008 (UTC)


Police suitcase

Some police officers do carry a suitcase or a bag with personal or duty equipment. This is missing in that section. --Scriberius (talk) 12:59, 16 October 200 bc (UTC)

Yes, but we should make the note that police officers do not carry gear in the bag. Just Scenes of Crime Officers, or Investigative officers. A uniformed officer would more often than not, wear a belt. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 13:56, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

hi this is halleena 1 again i found mi work that i nedded thanks alot and soon i will be a police ofiicier n 5 more or 6 years i reall want to thank u for your hard work and its halleena bye... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:34, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Police Work rather safe, actually[edit]

I added a legitimate link source that proves that policing isn't that dangerous, and in fact, isn't even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America. just thought y'all should know. (talk) 23:44, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

It's not in the top ten professions with the highest fatality rate, which is the only statistic your source measures. We should state that rather than generalising this number as a "dangerousness" score, and we certainly shouldn't make the leap of calling it "one of the safer occupations". --McGeddon (talk) 08:43, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely. The reference does not say "one of the safer professions" it says "on the safer side compared with several other professions", which sounds like it means "safer" but actually means "there are at least a few other professions that are more dangerous". Removed the statement. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:04, 23 October 2008 (UTC)hello my names jacob

police officer make over 100,000 dollars a years and they can make extra money for extra hours —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:29, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

What on Earth is going on here?????[edit]

  • Firstly, unless I've totally misinterpreted WP:TALK, the purpose of this page is discussing editing to the page NOT a place for the world and his mistress to vent their frustration against the police.
  • Secondly, this article is of huge importance! To have such an important article in such a state is appalling. In line with WP:RS, you CANNOT simply make an assertion or provide a fact without being able to VERIFY it. That is the ONE KEY THING this article lacks- it's accurate, concise and well written, but it completely lacks reliable sources, a travesty for an article this good and for one of this importance.
  • I suggest doing some research, checking your facts and finding WP:RS, which should be pit into the article in appropriate places. HJ Mitchell (talk) 00:38, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Planning Comment for what should and what should not be in this article[edit]

This post is a general comment on the other comments made so far. I think some clearer thinking is in order here.

This article is supposed to be about Police Officers, not about 'the police', police departments, or the police as an institution, but presumably about the people who actually are policemen, about the work, about the experience of being a police officer, qualifications, remuneration, hazards, rewards, etc, and perhaps how this profession or job (some might argue that calling it a 'profession' enobles it too much) fits into the larger scheme of things.

There is a comment here somewhere about how the article read like a police PR recruitment article, and the first half (up to the part that I wrote) probably does. Each part of this needs to be rewritten and expanded with more actual data about training and qualifications, salaries, career ladders, etc. There was a comment about adding info about equipment cops work with that sounds like a good idea.

There is a section at the end about police brutality or corruption or whatever that sounds like it was written by somebody pissed off at the police. Beleive me, I can relate. I had a run-in with local cops here in my hometown, and got the lecture about how being a cop is soooo dangerous, and how policemen put their lives on the line for society everyday, and how cops were generally a superior form of life than everybody else, and how appropriate it was that they receive special treatment, and so on. I researched those claims at that time (this was several years ago) and learned that the police PR is a bunch of crap. And ever since I have gotten to where I am really offended any time a policeman spouts off about it. But, you can't try to correct them about it without risking getting arrested for contept of cop. So I looked to this WP article, and set the record straight. There was a section about work related deaths or hazards or whatever that was a paragraph or two, and I greatly expanded it to where it is now more than half of the article. I endeavored to be as neutral in the writing as possible, to not editorialize or draw my own conclusions, not to cite any opinions or original research, to document almost every fact cited, and to be as truthful and complete as possible. My intention is to make the police look bad, but only by shining the light of truth on the subject. I think I may have achieved that goal. This section has been corrected and edited several times by others making it even better and more complete. However, in doing so, the article is lopsided. The previous half needs to be as complete and as well documented as the part I wrote in order to be a good article.

The part on brutality and misconduct, however, looks like opinion, sour grapes, and original research. It needs two things: First it needs to be greatly expanded and better researched. Second, some thought needs to be put into it regarding whether it should be under 'police officer' or some other article having to do with the the institution of the police, such as 'police' or 'police department'. But expanding this section would leave the article completely lopsided with negative prose. Expressing an opinion by citing facts may be marginally acceptable in an encyclopedia article only to the extent that it balances the police public relations department press release in the rest of the article. If eighty percent of the article is all about negativity about cops, then the whole article would read like a hatchet job on the cops and would lack credibility. KTrimble (talk) 02:53, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

There needs to be a balance, and without this section, the article would indeed read like a police PR recruitment article. Briefly raising the issue of police brutality / corruption seems entirely appropriate. However, should the section expand significantly, it would be out of place, and definitely come across as lopsided. If that happens, and the facts are well-researched, then the section might deserve its own page, or alternatively, should be moved to another article more relevant. Just my opinion.Josophie (talk) 22:03, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

An even larger comment[edit]

I just browsed the subject for a few minutes, and realized that the entire subject area of law enforcement/police is a complete mess. There have got to be ten different words that refer to police officers (eg. constable, trooper, sheriff, etc.) and almost every one has a WP article that sort of parallels this one. Also, the articles about 'police' or similar organizations (eg. state police, etc.) seem to all parallel each other as well. There needs to be some better collective thinking on reorganizing this entire subject. KTrimble (talk) 03:14, 8 April 2010 (UTC)


Many Images are of North American Policemen, pehaps some from other nations would be a good contribution. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:29, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from, 18 June 2011[edit]

Please change:

"Police officers are much more likely to experience interpersonal relationship problems. Relationship problems are most dramatically demonstrated by the divorce rate among police officers, which is usually reported as being the second highest of all occupations. Divorce statistics for police officers, as a profession, are elusive and imprecise, but it is typically reported that the divorce rate for police officers is 60% to 70% higher than for the general population.[13] (Oddly, the divorce rate for veteran officers, or over 15 years of service, is actually lower than general population, though that statistic is also controversial."


"There is a common belief that divorce is higher among police officers in spite of the fact that there is no empirical research supporting such a belief. The divorce rates of law enforcement personnel were compared with the rates for other occupations, data was analyzed from the 2000 U.S. Census. The results of the analysis indicate that the divorce rate for law enforcement personnel is lower than that of the general population, even after controlling for demographic and other job-related variables."

McCoy, S. P. & Aamodt, M. G. A comparison of law enforcement divorce rates with those of other occupations. Journal of Police & Criminal Psychology, Spring, 2010. 25: 1-16.

Mikanaby (talk) 21:46, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Partly done: Reworded some Jnorton7558 (talk) 10:11, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

This request is clearly POV. The study cited was by an industry group, it grouped police divorce statistics with firemen, private security guards and other EMS workers and found that the average of the entire group, which it labeled 'policemen' was lower that the divorce rate for just policemen. It is a well know police public relations nonsense report. There are all kinds of studies out there that put the divorce rate for policemen as statistically significantly higher than for the general population, but you are quoting this one study (which itself quotes similar studies using 1990 and 1960 census data) to justify denying truth. KTrimble (talk) 01:47, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request from Mikanaby, 19 June 2011[edit]

Remove incorrect information:

"There are typically around 300 reported police suicides each year in the USA, usually roughly double the number of police officers that are killed in the line of duty. The suicide rate among police officers varies around 29 per 100,000 in the United States, nearly two and a half times the rate in the overall population (typically about 12 in 100,000)."

With the following information:

"A study in the United States, by National Surveillance of Police Suicide Study (NSOPS), showed 141 suicides in 2008 and 143 in 2009. This yields a suicide rate of 17/100,000, a figure that holds up under scrutiny and is consistent with CDC/NOMS data. (1) The overall suicide rate in the United States was 11.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. (2)"

(1) O'Hara, A. F. & Violanti, J. M. Police suicide- A web surveillance of national data. Journal Of Emergency Mental Health. Vol. 11, Issue 1. Winter, 2009.

(2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS):

Mikanaby (talk) 01:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Done Jnorton7558 (talk) 10:11, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Again, this request is pure POV. The NSPSS is exactly what it says it is: a SURVEILLANCE STUDY. That means it draws its data from observed data and not a perfect dataset. What this particular study did is used searches on Google or whatever to try to piece together all of the police suicides in the country, and they got all of those that made a press article and were reported in the press as an actual suicide. The sponsor of the study is a cop support group. It is obvious BS that was meant to grab headlines. The WISGARS data is actually entered individually by other cops, and is also likely to under-report suicides. Other more statistically rigorous studies seem to be able to procure longer lists of police suicides, usually from insurance health claims or autopsies, and they typically go on and on about how imperfect the data is. Sure, the truth hurts, but it's truth. Changing a statement like this just because of a couple of biased PR studies against years of industry statistics because somebody is offended by the truth is a bit nutty. KTrimble (talk) 01:47, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

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