Organisation and structure of the Metropolitan Police Service

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Mounted MPS officer outside Buckingham Palace, London

The Metropolitan Police Service of Greater London is organised into four main directorates, each with differing responsibilities. These are Territorial Policing, Specialist Crime & Operations, Specialist Operations and six civilian staffed support departments under the umbrella of Met Headquarters. Each is overseen by an Assistant Commissioner, or in the case of a support department a director of police staff which is the equivalent civilian grade.

The Management Board, responsible for the strategic direction of the MPS is composed of the senior police leadership including the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, the four Assistant Commissioners (for Specialist Crime & Operations, Territorial Policing, Specialist Operations and Professionalism) and the directors.[1]


The senior leadership rank-holders of the MPS currently are:[2][3]

  • Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis – Cressida Dick QPM [4]
  • Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis – Craig Mackey QPM
  • Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley QPM (responsible for Specialist Operations)
  • Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt (responsible for Territorial Policing)
  • Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan QPM (responsible for Specialist Crime & Operations)
  • Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball (responsible for Professionalism)
  • Assistant Commissioner Rob Beckley QPM (Seconded to Operation Resolve)[5]
  • Director of Strategy and Governance – Roisha Hughes
  • Director People and Change – Robin Wilkinson
  • Director Commercial and Finance – Lynda McMillan
  • Director Legal Services – Hugh Giles
  • Director Media and Communications – Martin Fewell
  • Director Digital Policing – Angus McCallum

The highest rank in the MPS is that of the Commissioner, the operational leader; however the MPS is accountable to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime on a pan-London basis and the Home Secretary on a national policing basis.

Appointments to the most senior ranks of Assistant Commissioner and above are made in consultation with the Mayor of London and the Home Secretary, with the appointment of the Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner being formally made by Her Majesty The Queen.[6]

Territorial Policing[edit]

The Territorial Policing (TP) directorate is commanded by Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt who is responsible for providing the day-to-day local policing of Greater London, the police area known as the Metropolitan Police District, which is divided into 32 Borough Operational Command Units (BOCUs); with each London borough assigned a BOCU.[7] Each BOCU is commanded by a Chief Superintendent.

Each BOCU provides police officers (Regular and Specials) who are responsible for patrolling, and responding to emergencies. Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) are usually made up of both police officers (Regular and Specials) and PCSOs, responsible for policing a specific area within a BOCU. CID detectives are also attached to each BOCU providing an investigative capability.

The Royal Parks Operational Command Unit also comes under the remit of the Assistant Commissioner Territorial Policing. The Assistant Commissioner Territorial Policing is a member of the Metropolitan Police's Management Board.

Roads and Transport Policing Command[edit]

Incorporates the previous Safer Transport Command and Traffic Unit.

The Roads and Transport Policing Command oversees policing on London’s road and transport network. It works in partnership with, and is significantly funded by, Transport for London to tackle transport related crime, improve road safety, reduce the number of traffic related injuries and deaths on London's roads.[8]

Number of officers per borough[edit]

Each BOCU has the following 'officer establishment' as of the end of February 2015 (and February 2014).[9][10] The two letter code given in brackets for each borough is the identification code for that borough. Every Police Constable and Sergeant of that borough will have those letters on their epaulettes, as part of their shoulder number. [N.B: Special Constables are not counted in these officer figures].

Since early 2017 certain boroughs have merged to form areas. The idea behind this is to save money and deploy officers for efficiently across a greater area.

(These officer strength figures only include officers assigned to London Boroughs and do not include those officers assigned to specific team(s) e.g. Central Operations or on assignment with other forces)

Note: numbers of officers for all ranks apart from constable include detectives. See source for full breakdown.

Specialist Crime and Operations[edit]

The Specialist Crime and Operations Directorate was formed by the amalgamation of the Specialist Crime Directorate and Central Operations giving dual responsibility to AC Rowley.[11]

As of 2016, the directorate is headed by Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan, three Deputy Assistant Commissioners and a further seven Commanders, and additional civilian staff.[12]

The Specialist Crime and Operations Directorate is made up of nine commands.

Pan London Taskforce[edit]

The Pan London Taskforce encompasses a variety of specialist policing units:

Homicide and Serious Crime[edit]

Are responsible for the investigation of homicide, such as: murder, attempted murder, and infanticide, which are all investigated by Murder Investigation Teams.[13] These teams also investigate missing persons and abduction cases, where there is substantive reason to suspect that life is in danger of being taken, or has been.[13] The Command also includes: the Homicide Task Force (which works to suppress 'man hunts' by members of the public), the Special Projects Investigation Unit which deals with other serious crime, Forensic Review Support and liaisons with the Crown Prosecution Service and the coroner.[13]

Crime Academy and Review Group[edit]

Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse[edit]

Investigates rape, other serious sexual offences[14] and crimes against minors, mainly, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The Command has nineteen Child Abuse Investigation Teams covering each borough, aiding local CID detectives, and are in close liaison with Social Services.[15] Within the Command, Major Investigations Teams exist which investigate child homicide, a sexual crime unit, a Hi-Tech Crime Unit which deals with computer investigations, the Safeguarding Children and Development Unit which educates against offences, and deals with after-care of victims, and the Ports Safeguarding Team which monitors London airports to ensure such offenders do not enter the country.[15]

PNC and Vetting Bureau[edit]

Forensic Services[edit]

Responsible for providing an on call, forensic science capability for the 32 Borough Operational Command Units, along with the rest of the Service. Within the Command several smaller units exist, such as; Forensic Investigation Specialist Crime Directorate, which deals with forensic science capabilities on crime scenes that are within the remit of the SCD, such as homicide and armed robberies.[16]

Also responsible for the collection and archiving of fingerprints, made up of people currently living in the UK. Along with providing good clearance certificates to members of the public, who wish to travel to countries that require a good behaviour certificate before they are authorised to enter.[17]

Gangs and Organised Crime[edit]

Responsible for the investigations of serious, organised and life-threatening crimes. The command is made up of the Central Task Force, the Projects Team, the Flying Squad, the Kidnap and Special Investigation Unit, the Hostage and Crisis Negotiations Unit and the Intelligence Support Unit.[18]

Also investigates serious economic crime, through a number of specialist units, such as; the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, the Money Laundering Investigation Team, Financial Investigation Development Units, the Specialist Crime Operations Team, the Stolen Vehicle Unit, the Arts and Antiques Unit, the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU), the Wildlife Crime Unit, the Extradition and International Assistance Unit, the Criminal Justice Protection Unit, and the Regional Asset Recovery Team.[19]

Incorporates Operation Trident which tackles gang violence in London.

Specialist Firearms Command (SCO19)[edit]

Specialist Firearms Command or SCO19 (previously SO19 then CO19) is responsible for providing a firearms-response capability, assisting the rest of the service, which is normally unarmed. Within the media it is occasionally compared to the SWAT units of the United States, being seen as London's equivalent.

Intelligence Command[edit]

Led by Commander Richard Martin this is a new command which was formed in order to deliver a single, joined up intelligence service to the Metropolitan Police Service.

The service is uniformly professionalised and the command owns all the Metropolitan Police Service intelligence professionals, including those who work in covert policing.

Specialist Operations[edit]

Specialist Operations (SO) is a directorate of the Metropolitan Police Service, responsible for providing specialist policing capabilities. Until Sir Kenneth Newman's restructuring of the Metropolitan Police, SO comprised twenty units, but after the restructuring most of them were absorbed by Central Operations (now Specialist Crime and Operations).

SO is currently headed by an Assistant Commissioner, with two Deputy Assistant Commissioners and a further three Commanders.[20]

Diplomatic Protection Group, ARV. Purchased in red to denote that it does not carry out general policing duties, along with the yellow stickers on the bodywork identifying the vehicle as carrying authorised firearms officers

SO is currently organised into three Commands:

Protection Command[edit]

Split into the following specialist operational areas:

Counter Terrorism Command (SO15)[edit]

Formed by the merger of Special Branch and the Anti-Terrorist Branch. The priority of this command is to keep the public safe and to ensure that London remains a hostile environment for terrorists. Their responsibilities include: bringing to justice anyone engaged in terrorism or related offences, preventing and disrupting terrorist activity, gathering and exploiting intelligence on terrorism and extremism in London.

Security Command[edit]

Security Command is currently headed by Commander Simon Bray.

  • Protective Security (SO20) - ensures that there are adequate protective security arrangements in place for major events, crowded places, iconic sites and that key utilities and sites where hazardous substances are located are securely protected.

Met Headquarters[edit]

  • Human Resources
  • Commercial and Finance
  • Portfolio and Planning
  • Legal Services
  • Media and Communications
  • Digital Policing
  • Shared Support Services[21]

Police officer strength by rank[edit]

The following table gives the police strength in the MPS by rank.

Date Constables Sergeants Inspectors Ch Inspectors Superintendents Ch Superintendents ACPO rank Total
31 March 2010[22] 24,788 6,069 1,695 475 217 86 37 33,367
31 March 2011[23] 24,595 5,583 1,503 448 196 81 34 32,441
31 March 2012[24] 24,328 5,494 1,641 362 201 79 35 32,140
31 March 2013[25] 23,283 4,982 1,442 452 157 72 31 30,398
31 March 2014[26] 24,420 4,644 1,235 422 109 73 29 30,932
31 March 2015[27] 25,851 4,321 1,103 333 165 76 29 31,877
31 March 2016[28] 25,787 4,548 1,261 279 159 62 29 32,125

As of June 2012, there were 40 officers of ACPO rank, namely the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, in addition to four Assistant Commissioners, ten Deputy Assistant Commissioners and a further 24 Commanders. There were also 14 members of Civilian Staff at the equivalent of Deputy Assistant Commissioner level.[29]

Employee numbers[edit]

The following table gives the employee numbers in the MPS.

Date Staff members PCSOs Police officers Total Special constables
31 March 2010 14,179 4,645 33,367 52,191 3,177
31 March 2011 13,688 4,009 32,441 50,138 4,944
31 March 2012 12,751 2,760 32,140 47,651 5,752
31 March 2013 12,328 2,684 30,398 45,410 5,303
31 March 2014 11,303 2,087 30,932 44,322 4,587
31 March 2015 10,599 1,787 31,877 44,263 3,659
31 March 2016 9,521 1,626 32,125 43,272 3,271

Film Unit[edit]

The MPS Film Unit was launched in 2006 [30] and manages the commercial filming schedule across London on behalf of local councils and major production companies including MGM as well as producers for various film and TV commercials. The Film Unit is based in Southwark and is maintained by current serving police officers. The Film Unit provides operational officers to ensure security for film companies and the general public. It is part of the Film London Partnership which is supported by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor Of London and Film London.[31]

Recent film productions requiring the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Service Film Unit
Films Television


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  5. ^ Beckley, Rob. "Operation Resolve, The Command Team". Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
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  10. ^ (9 April 2014). Freedom of Information request.
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