Definition of constabulary in English:



  • A police force covering a particular area or city.

    ‘the Royal Irish Constabulary’
    • ‘West Yorkshire's special constabulary is recognised as being among the best in the country, and we are proud of that.’
    • ‘The orchestrated escort and the accompanying police violence in clearing the picket reflected the involvement of city based police, the local constabulary having been cooperative with the workers.’
    • ‘In any event, the task of searching the police national computer fell to Cambridgeshire constabulary.’
    • ‘If 3 qualified persons cannot be found in any constabulary, candidates may be elected from other constabularies.’
    • ‘I'm a policewoman with Dumfries and Galloway constabulary, so I'm used to doing driving courses and being around cars.’
    • ‘I currently work for a UK county constabulary dealing with a mix of emergency calls and general enquiries.’
    • ‘But a spokeswoman for Cheshire constabulary, which had officers at the site, said the number was nearer 14.’
    • ‘The first bred the most popular constabulary in the world, a street police, unarmed, recruited from and accountable to its community.’
    • ‘The move comes as the Home Office completes plans to merge the county constabularies and reduce 43 police forces to about 15.’
    • ‘Like other police forces, Wiltshire constabulary is not setting up a special squad or unit to deal with possible hunting law infringements.’
    • ‘The Queen has a sense of humour - her Queensland constabulary obviously doesn't.’
    • ‘Our hard work and patience finally paid off and I would like to thank my colleagues, and the many officers from other constabularies who assisted us.’
    • ‘My own views, however, cannot be solely centred around incidents which occur in the constabulary's force area.’
    • ‘A spokesman for Lancashire constabulary says a team of officers and family liaison officers are on standby just in case.’
    • ‘‘Operation Cobra’ sounds like a plot by undercover CIA operatives to assassinate a Central American despot, rather than the local constabulary's crackdown on car thieves.’
    • ‘This campaign by police constabularies across the country is the last chance for people to get rid of the weapons before the introduction of a minimum five-year jail sentence for illegal possession of prohibited firearms.’
    • ‘And many lower officers and constabulary had full sympathy with the marauding mobs.’
    • ‘Three police dogs are in training with the county's constabulary to wear new lightweight head harnesses fitted with small cameras.’
    • ‘Wondering why the full bus then hadn't moved, we realised that we were being encircled by the Lancashire local constabulary, ‘police evidence gatherers’ decked out in riot gear, and mounted police.’


  • [attributive] Relating to a constabulary.

    ‘the constabulary strength was 13,000 men’
    • ‘Alternatively, one could imagine using constabulary units for policing countrywide, overlaying them with smaller combat formations to fight the insurgency.’
    • ‘Continuous military forward presence might deter such actions, but that is an expensive approach to what is ultimately a constabulary function.’
    • ‘They're still going to be armed, and indeed the crew are going to be armed but they'll be armed for a police constabulary role as opposed to a military role.’
    • ‘The idea of concentrating constabulary strength by temporarily vacating some stations had been part of contingency planning since 1917.’
    • ‘But police abuse is not the product of some overweening constabulary malevolence constantly bursting the seams of whatever rules for regulating conduct are laid down.’
    • ‘We have the tradition in this country of constabulary independence.’
    • ‘To them, constabulary duties are far less glamorous and honorable than the conventional wars they signed up for, and far more ambiguous.’
    • ‘A constabulary recruit later observed that the government insisted on ‘treating this armed and widespread rebellion as though it were an exceptional crime wave.’’
    • ‘Such attacks caused 87 percent of constabulary casualties and are a very reliable indicator of overall activity against the force.’
    • ‘The office of the Commissioner of Police embodies the principle of constabulary independence.’
    • ‘The benefits of employing constabulary forces rather than individual police officers or military units are many.’
    • ‘That does not mean that the armed services should be redirected exclusively toward a constabulary role.’
    • ‘Special constabulary officers were honoured for their service to Wiltshire Police at the Chief Constable's parade on Tuesday.’
    • ‘Lastly, constabulary tasks comprise another six functions, among which are sovereignty patrols, aid to the civil power, search and rescue, and disaster relief.’
    • ‘Fundamental to that confidence is the belief that not only do the police act apolitically and independently, but also that the police honour their constabulary oath, and have standards the public can be comfortable with and proud of.’
    • ‘Second, the U.S. experience with constabulary forces in postwar Germany and Japan suggested that great caution must be exerted when designating military forces for operations other than war.’
    • ‘Two Sub-Inspectors and two drivers work in shifts besides adequate number of personnel in the constabulary cadre.’
    • ‘Within Ireland too, such proposals had their critics, who claimed that authorities sought tyrannical powers, and that special new constabulary forces would represent primarily so much additional patronage for government.’
    • ‘But the American military still recoils from getting involved in such conflicts and derides the worth of constabulary duties and nation building.’
    • ‘Our Army is always, always, always surprised when it has to do occupation, nation-building and constabulary work.’


Late 15th century (denoting the district under the charge of a constable): from medieval Latin constabularia (dignitas) (rank) of constable, from constabulus, based on Latin comes stabuli (see constable).