Definition of constabulary in US English:


nounPlural constabularies

  • 1The constables of a district, collectively.

    • ‘The constabulary, diving all up and down the beach, finally found them under the headland.’
    • ‘In England, the coroner system was established under the constabulary.’
    • ‘As with ombudsmen, the construction and vetting of such constabularies should start immediately, allowing the new cops to earn their stripes during the period of occupation.’
    • ‘For example, had they any idea of the significant proportion of his earnings Kit was forced to invest in the ward's constabulary?’
    • ‘This is not the conventional constabulary, nor is the appropriate conventional, predetermined, domestic, natural-disaster team when the threat is global terrorism.’
    • ‘Many of the southeastern nations instituted light-horse constabularies, courts, and tribal governments.’
    • ‘Policing is also a major point of contention, as the constabulary are predominantly Protestant and there is deep suspicion of criminal justice procedures among Catholics.’
    • ‘The Western security alliance's overriding concern throughout its tenure as the Balkan constabulary has been the safety of its own personnel.’
    • ‘A stoplight was out and a member of the constabulary was present, yet clear roads weren't being utilized.’
    • ‘When recruited, every member of the Constabulary should be issued with a short manual describing the powers and duties of the Constabulary, a badge, a baton and such clothing and other equipment as may be approved by the Commissioner.’
    • ‘Typically the story of policing starts with the village-watch systems of the colonial Northeast, then moves to the formation of the first municipal constabularies in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.’
    • ‘I have the constabulary arrest them for vagrancy, but I am proud nonetheless.’
    1. 1.1 An armed police force organized as a military unit.
      • ‘The Garrison Command headed the constabulary responsible for enforcing the martial law that was in force between 1949 and 1987.’
      • ‘The controls carried out by the Royal Military Constabulary do not meet the requisite level of intensity.’
      • ‘Under the command of U.S. Army officers until 1917, the constabulary was headed thereafter by Filipinos.’
      • ‘Such a construct would not be like your father's or grandfather's constabulary once the expeditionary phase of combat operations is over - nor would this be a postmodern military.’
      • ‘The Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary is best characterised as a police organisation with military status.’
      • ‘Members were taken exclusively from the military constabulary.’
      • ‘In most other states the poll can be easily conducted on a single day with the help of the state police and armed constabulary, supervised by the Election Commission observers and perhaps a small contingent of Central forces.’
      • ‘At the outset of a peace operation, all of these elements - military, constabulary, civil police, and judicial and penal experts - should be deployed together.’
      • ‘He established a Philippine constabulary of loyal indigenous troops and did not attempt to apply military force by itself.’
      • ‘Eventually, the UN will need some sort of police force in readiness - not a full-fledged army, but a constabulary capable of enforcing resolutions of the Security Council.’
      • ‘U.S. troop strength was reduced from 70,000 to 34,000 and the newly formed Philippine constabulary took over many of the police duties.’
    2. 1.2British A police force covering a particular area or city.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Like other police forces, Wiltshire constabulary is not setting up a special squad or unit to deal with possible hunting law infringements.’
      • ‘Three police dogs are in training with the county's constabulary to wear new lightweight head harnesses fitted with small cameras.’
      • ‘But a spokeswoman for Cheshire constabulary, which had officers at the site, said the number was nearer 14.’
      • ‘The Queen has a sense of humour - her Queensland constabulary obviously doesn't.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘West Yorkshire's special constabulary is recognised as being among the best in the country, and we are proud of that.’
      • ‘And many lower officers and constabulary had full sympathy with the marauding mobs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In any event, the task of searching the police national computer fell to Cambridgeshire constabulary.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My own views, however, cannot be solely centred around incidents which occur in the constabulary's force area.’
      • ‘The move comes as the Home Office completes plans to merge the county constabularies and reduce 43 police forces to about 15.’
      • ‘If 3 qualified persons cannot be found in any constabulary, candidates may be elected from other constabularies.’
      • ‘The first bred the most popular constabulary in the world, a street police, unarmed, recruited from and accountable to its community.’


  • Relating to a constabulary.

    • ‘The benefits of employing constabulary forces rather than individual police officers or military units are many.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Such attacks caused 87 percent of constabulary casualties and are a very reliable indicator of overall activity against the force.’
    • ‘But the American military still recoils from getting involved in such conflicts and derides the worth of constabulary duties and nation building.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That does not mean that the armed services should be redirected exclusively toward a constabulary role.’
    • ‘The office of the Commissioner of Police embodies the principle of constabulary independence.’
    • ‘Special constabulary officers were honoured for their service to Wiltshire Police at the Chief Constable's parade on Tuesday.’
    • ‘Continuous military forward presence might deter such actions, but that is an expensive approach to what is ultimately a constabulary function.’
    • ‘The idea of concentrating constabulary strength by temporarily vacating some stations had been part of contingency planning since 1917.’
    • ‘A constabulary recruit later observed that the government insisted on ‘treating this armed and widespread rebellion as though it were an exceptional crime wave.’’
    • ‘Lastly, constabulary tasks comprise another six functions, among which are sovereignty patrols, aid to the civil power, search and rescue, and disaster relief.’
    • ‘Two Sub-Inspectors and two drivers work in shifts besides adequate number of personnel in the constabulary cadre.’
    • ‘Our Army is always, always, always surprised when it has to do occupation, nation-building and constabulary work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Alternatively, one could imagine using constabulary units for policing countrywide, overlaying them with smaller combat formations to fight the insurgency.’
    • ‘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.’


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).