Definition of patrol in English:



  • 1An expedition to keep watch over an area, especially by guards or police walking or driving around at regular intervals.

    ‘we were ordered to investigate on a night patrol’
    • ‘He said the heightened joint police/army patrols and regular helicopter surveillance in the area was a contributing factor to the decline in criminal activity.’
    • ‘Regular staff and police patrols are being made on the estate and any reported incidents of damage or nuisance will be taken up by the police.’
    • ‘If the police carried out regular patrols during the weekend then it would improve the situation on the estate.’
    • ‘It is because of the presence of this rebel group in the area that the night patrols have been intensified as a security measure.’
    • ‘The police have stepped up patrols in the area and have made a number of arrests, but for public disorder offences rather than criminal damage.’
    • ‘Regular patrols by city centre wardens and police community support officers are also being made throughout college and university campuses.’
    • ‘The shootings erupted at about 1 a.m. as two officers were on a routine patrol in the city's west end.’
    • ‘Plans also include extra police patrols and security patrols.’
    • ‘Ask them to make your facilities part of their routine daily safety patrols.’
    • ‘Eight motorists were arrested and charged with driving under the influence of liquor during routine patrols.’
    • ‘It is subject to routine checks by a town-run security service, and also lies on the route of regular police patrols.’
    • ‘To accomplish these goals, the battalion dispatched patrols at irregular intervals, keeping bandits guessing as to when they would occur.’
    • ‘It's the responsibility of the transport police but there are no regular patrols and no CCTV.’
    • ‘On Friday and Saturday nights there are also regular security patrols.’
    • ‘We work closely with the police who do regular patrols and take alcohol off kids found drinking.’
    • ‘The new units will be lightly trained, to carry out tasks like guard duty and border patrols, rather than raids and weapons sweeps.’
    • ‘Marines conducted foot patrols and sent out sniper teams to intercept would be attackers.’
    • ‘Security is maintained at the crematorium and regular patrols take place at night but it does not merit a CCTV system.’
    • ‘In addition to liaising with the Coast Guard for coastal patrols, detectives are also monitoring known access routes used by traffickers.’
    • ‘The military carries out regular security patrols in Unionist and Loyalist areas on foot or in police or army vehicles.’
    vigil, guard, watch, monitoring, policing, beat, beat-pounding, patrolling, round, sentry duty
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    1. 1.1A person or group of people sent to keep watch over an area.
      ‘a police patrol stopped the man and searched him’
      • ‘So, if they haven't indicted him, they're not sending out search patrols for him?’
      • ‘Also, many small patrols shall have been sent out over the previous weeks.’
      • ‘It meant extra patrols had to be sent out and police stations kept open 24 hours a day.’
      • ‘They are also offering to send out rubbish patrols after closing to pick up bottles, flyers and food wrappings in the immediate vicinity of the premises.’
      • ‘Extra police patrols were also sent out adding thousands to the wages bill.’
      • ‘Finding nothing, patrols were sent out to expand the search area.’
      • ‘We asked the ski patrols to send us their accident report forms every two or three weeks.’
      • ‘In this manner he watched two patrols walk under him, completely unaware of his presence.’
      • ‘Well, she went out walking alone one night and she ran into a patrol of guards.’
      • ‘We need more police patrols in the area to stop this vandalism and I think the police are doing this.’
      • ‘He next turns up at 4 am when a Garda patrol stops him in the town centre and ask him his date of birth which he gives before they send him on his way.’
      • ‘I was so absorbed in my thoughts that suddenly I walked straight into a patrol guard coming back from the chase.’
      • ‘We sent three patrols to escort the fire brigade which ties up our resources if a more serious incident takes place at the other end of town.’
      • ‘They are conducting door to door inquiries and have doubled high visibility night time police patrols in the area to reassure worried residents.’
      • ‘The bureau confirmed their suspicions when it sent patrols into the countryside to round up deserters and men subject to conscription.’
      • ‘More police foot patrols will be sent on to the streets at pub chucking-out time in a bid to cut violent crime.’
      • ‘But a couple of years ago, a police dog patrol was sent out to bring in a mentally disturbed person from a forest.’
      • ‘New Malden's safer neighbourhood team will deploy extra patrols to the area following the incident.’
    2. 1.2[mass noun]The action of keeping watch over an area.
      ‘the police were on patrol when they were ordered to investigate the incident’
      • ‘On August 31, two U.S. solders were killed and a third wounded in the same area while on patrol.’
      • ‘The five men were detained Sunday after military officers on patrol found traces of blood leading to their houses, he said.’
      • ‘When not on patrol, resting or at the range, crews can be found cleaning, fitting, adjusting and testing the systems integral to these platforms.’
      • ‘Heavily armed police and sniffer dogs were on patrol.’
      • ‘We have not objected to any of the applications and we are not planning to have any extra bobbies on patrol for the rugby games.’
      • ‘The policeman on patrol is primarily a ‘peace officer’ rather than a ‘law officer’.’
      • ‘Officers on patrol just happened to be passing and made the arrest.’
      • ‘The school has decided to put more teachers on patrol at break time to watch the children.’
      • ‘The shift inspectors whose officers I had observed on patrol over many months offered either to escort me personally or provide a constable for the purpose.’
      • ‘I did my best to try to reassure him that it was highly unlikely that he would suffer another attack the next time he went out on patrol.’
      • ‘Six months after that, he was on patrol when another sniper opened up.’
      • ‘While on patrol, we continued to conduct random checks of these locations as well as provide equipment and salaries for the guards.’
      • ‘All our crew knew was that someone had been shot in the face while on patrol.’
      • ‘There is now 24 hour surveillance and uniformed wardens on patrol which has improved the situation somewhat.’
      • ‘Armed officers have been deployed on patrol to protect the community and their unarmed colleagues.’
      • ‘If we try to do so, we cannot provide the commander with the quality of intelligence that we, as a community, owe to both him and the soldiers on patrol.’
      • ‘Plainclothes and uniformed officers will be on patrol to prevent would-be troublemakers boarding flights.’
      • ‘Imagine you are a sergeant taking a platoon of soldiers on patrol through rugged northern Australia.’
      • ‘The force is offering people the chance to accompany their local constable on patrol to see what it is really like at the cutting edge of crime-fighting.’
      • ‘It is understood a beach party was in full swing at the time and gardaí were on patrol in the area.’
    3. 1.3A routine operational voyage of a ship or aircraft.
      ‘a submarine patrol’
      • ‘We continued our patrol looking for German aircraft.’
      • ‘During World War Two she served with the US Navy on anti-submarine patrols, convoy escort and even as the flagship of an amphibious assault group.’
      • ‘Active duty airmen joined the patrols in the 1970s.’
      • ‘British submarines conducted 2,223 patrols in home waters, the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Far East.’
      • ‘He argued that the shah remained a threat to the islands despite diplomatic warnings and air and naval patrols.’
      • ‘Apart from patrols at sea the ship has seen a number of significant events whilst on deployment.’
      • ‘Three days later she sailed from Darwin to conduct routine patrols of Australia's northern waters and enforce the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone.’
      • ‘The decision to commence the naval and air patrols came 24 hours after two very important happenings for the RAN.’
      patrolman, patrolwoman, sentinel, sentry, garrison, defender
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    4. 1.4British An official who controls traffic where children cross the road.
      ‘there were two schools but no crossing patrol’
      • ‘Parents are allowed to park in The Sun pub's car park and cross the road from there but we need a crossing patrol person to do that job.’
      • ‘Safety chiefs have been accused of putting children's lives at risk after axing a school crossing patrol because the road is too dangerous.’
      • ‘Can't these motorists appreciate why the crossing patrols are there?’
      • ‘The work carried out by crossing patrols is often taken for granted but it is integral to the community.’
      • ‘There are now 30,000 school crossing patrols in Britain, 360 in the service now run by Lancashire County Council.’
      • ‘But parents were clamouring to get crossing patrols near their schools and the Commissioner was having difficulty finding people for the job.’
      • ‘Until recently school crossing patrols were not allowed to stop traffic unless there were children crossing at the time.’
      • ‘It has also urged the council to redouble its efforts to recruit more school crossing patrols.’
      • ‘He said he believed children would be more at risk without a crossing patrol.’
      • ‘School crossing patrols are in crisis in some parts of Greater Manchester and Cheshire, with councils struggling to recruit volunteers.’
      • ‘An officer from Wiltshire County Council's road safety department was due to come and show the crossing patrol officer how to use it, but he cried off at the last moment.’
      • ‘According to a council spokeswoman, drivers who fail to respond to crossing patrols are breaking the law and should be prosecuted but, who is there to charge them?’
      • ‘There are a number of vacancies for crossing patrols but the figure is no higher than in other authorities.’
      • ‘The crossing patrol will also be brought back in time for the new school year.’
      • ‘In areas where there was a pedestrian crossing, crossing patrols weren't replaced so we didn't get one.’
      • ‘The shortage of crossing patrols was at its most severe before September when at one point there were 11 vacancies.’
      • ‘It was observed that when the girls see the patrols they cross the road and when the officers are gone they cross back over to the beach.’
      • ‘Many school crossing patrols have been subjected to verbal abuse from irate motorists in recent years.’
      • ‘For about nine months there had not been a crossing patrol on what is one of the busiest roads in the borough.’
      • ‘The crossing patrol officer was hit as she stood in the middle of the road.’
  • 2A unit of six to eight Scouts or Guides forming part of a troop.

    ‘break the Cubs into sixes and Scouts into patrols’
    • ‘Boys around the UK read ‘Scouting for Boys’ and spontaneously started to form scout patrols.’


  • Keep watch over (an area) by regularly walking or travelling around it.

    ‘the garrison had to patrol the streets to maintain order’
    [no object] ‘pairs of men were patrolling on each side of the thoroughfare’
    • ‘All incidents are being logged by residents, and the crime and disorder team have been patrolling the area.’
    • ‘Extra police officers are now patrolling the streets to combat the thieves.’
    • ‘Soldiers had set up posts near the village and regularly patrolled it.’
    • ‘Two police officers patrolling the lot walked by a motor vehicle with two front seat occupants.’
    • ‘Police patrolled the streets and arrested about 10 vendors who were selling fireworks.’
    • ‘Police spent most of Friday night patrolling the area in the hope of finding the getaway car.’
    • ‘The cemetery gates are locked and the cemetery is patrolled regularly.’
    • ‘The area is patrolled regularly by both the divisional traffic unit and the district detective branch.’
    • ‘They had forgotten that the night security officer patrolled the area until midnight.’
    • ‘All sites are regularly patrolled by the litter wardens and illegal dumping will not be tolerated.’
    • ‘Generic tasks will include curfew checks and patrolling trouble spot areas.’
    • ‘The conservation area would be patrolled by rangers recruited from local communities.’
    • ‘The estate is patrolled by ex-soldiers who are helping to restore law and order.’
    • ‘Unformed officers patrolled areas around the town centre where people often parked cars for the whole day while at work.’
    • ‘Green-uniformed riot police patrolled the streets or sat in parked trucks.’
    • ‘Two villagers who took care of him said he hid in a closet when the police patrolled the area.’
    • ‘At least a dozen police officers, some of them mounted, were patrolling the venue and its surrounding area.’
    • ‘Police patrolled the area along the beachfront with other bomb detection devices.’
    • ‘The two men parked a block down the street and they took turns patrolling the area.’
    • ‘Mounted police and dog handlers patrolled the streets and a large number of officers in riot gear were deployed outside the station.’
    police, walk along, walk round
    picket, cover, monitor, defend, safeguard
    cruise, pound, prowl, rove, roam
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Mid 17th century (as a noun): from German Patrolle, from French patrouille, from patrouiller paddle in mud, from patte paw + dialect ( gad)rouille dirty water.