Definition of patrol in US 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.’
    • ‘It is subject to routine checks by a town-run security service, and also lies on the route of regular police patrols.’
    • ‘Ask them to make your facilities part of their routine daily safety patrols.’
    • ‘We work closely with the police who do regular patrols and take alcohol off kids found drinking.’
    • ‘In addition to liaising with the Coast Guard for coastal patrols, detectives are also monitoring known access routes used by traffickers.’
    • ‘To accomplish these goals, the battalion dispatched patrols at irregular intervals, keeping bandits guessing as to when they would occur.’
    • ‘The shootings erupted at about 1 a.m. as two officers were on a routine patrol in the city's west end.’
    • ‘Security is maintained at the crematorium and regular patrols take place at night but it does not merit a CCTV system.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If the police carried out regular patrols during the weekend then it would improve the situation on the estate.’
    • ‘Plans also include extra police patrols and security patrols.’
    • ‘On Friday and Saturday nights there are also regular security patrols.’
    • ‘Eight motorists were arrested and charged with driving under the influence of liquor during routine patrols.’
    • ‘Marines conducted foot patrols and sent out sniper teams to intercept would be attackers.’
    • ‘The new units will be lightly trained, to carry out tasks like guard duty and border patrols, rather than raids and weapons sweeps.’
    • ‘It's the responsibility of the transport police but there are no regular patrols and no CCTV.’
    • ‘Regular patrols by city centre wardens and police community support officers are also being made throughout college and university campuses.’
    • ‘The military carries out regular security patrols in Unionist and Loyalist areas on foot or in police or army vehicles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is because of the presence of this rebel group in the area that the night patrols have been intensified as a security measure.’
    vigil, guard, watch, monitoring, policing, beat, beat-pounding, patrolling, round, sentry duty
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    1. 1.1 A person or group of people sent to keep watch over an area.
      ‘a police patrol stopped the man and searched him’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well, she went out walking alone one night and she ran into a patrol of guards.’
      • ‘Extra police patrols were also sent out adding thousands to the wages bill.’
      • ‘I was so absorbed in my thoughts that suddenly I walked straight into a patrol guard coming back from the chase.’
      • ‘It meant extra patrols had to be sent out and police stations kept open 24 hours a day.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘New Malden's safer neighbourhood team will deploy extra patrols to the area following the incident.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In this manner he watched two patrols walk under him, completely unaware of his presence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Finding nothing, patrols were sent out to expand the search area.’
      • ‘So, if they haven't indicted him, they're not sending out search patrols for him?’
      • ‘We need more police patrols in the area to stop this vandalism and I think the police are doing this.’
      • ‘Also, many small patrols shall have been sent out over the previous weeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We asked the ski patrols to send us their accident report forms every two or three weeks.’
      group, crew, gang, team, squad
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    2. 1.2 The action of keeping watch over an area by walking or driving around it at regular intervals.
      ‘the policemen were on patrol when they were ordered to investigate the incident’
      • ‘Heavily armed police and sniffer dogs were on patrol.’
      • ‘The five men were detained Sunday after military officers on patrol found traces of blood leading to their houses, he said.’
      • ‘There is now 24 hour surveillance and uniformed wardens on patrol which has improved the situation somewhat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Plainclothes and uniformed officers will be on patrol to prevent would-be troublemakers boarding flights.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The school has decided to put more teachers on patrol at break time to watch the children.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All our crew knew was that someone had been shot in the face while on patrol.’
      • ‘On August 31, two U.S. solders were killed and a third wounded in the same area while on patrol.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is understood a beach party was in full swing at the time and gardaí were on patrol in the area.’
      • ‘Officers on patrol just happened to be passing and made the arrest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Imagine you are a sergeant taking a platoon of soldiers on patrol through rugged northern Australia.’
      • ‘The policeman on patrol is primarily a ‘peace officer’ rather than a ‘law officer’.’
      • ‘Armed officers have been deployed on patrol to protect the community and their unarmed colleagues.’
      • ‘When not on patrol, resting or at the range, crews can be found cleaning, fitting, adjusting and testing the systems integral to these platforms.’
    3. 1.3 A routine operational voyage of a ship or aircraft.
      ‘a submarine patrol’
      • ‘He argued that the shah remained a threat to the islands despite diplomatic warnings and air and naval patrols.’
      • ‘British submarines conducted 2,223 patrols in home waters, the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Far East.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The decision to commence the naval and air patrols came 24 hours after two very important happenings for the RAN.’
      • ‘Apart from patrols at sea the ship has seen a number of significant events whilst on deployment.’
      • ‘Active duty airmen joined the patrols in the 1970s.’
      • ‘Three days later she sailed from Darwin to conduct routine patrols of Australia's northern waters and enforce the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone.’
      patrolman, patrolwoman, sentinel, sentry, garrison, defender
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  • 2A unit of six to eight Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts forming part of a troop.

    • ‘Boys around the UK read ‘Scouting for Boys’ and spontaneously started to form scout patrols.’


[with object]
  • Keep watch over (an area) by regularly walking or traveling around or through it.

    ‘the garrison had to patrol the streets to maintain order’
    no object ‘pairs of men were patrolling on each side of the thoroughfare’
    • ‘The two men parked a block down the street and they took turns patrolling the area.’
    • ‘Police patrolled the area along the beachfront with other bomb detection devices.’
    • ‘Soldiers had set up posts near the village and regularly patrolled it.’
    • ‘All sites are regularly patrolled by the litter wardens and illegal dumping will not be tolerated.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At least a dozen police officers, some of them mounted, were patrolling the venue and its surrounding area.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Generic tasks will include curfew checks and patrolling trouble spot areas.’
    • ‘Police spent most of Friday night patrolling the area in the hope of finding the getaway car.’
    • ‘All incidents are being logged by residents, and the crime and disorder team have been patrolling the area.’
    • ‘Unformed officers patrolled areas around the town centre where people often parked cars for the whole day while at work.’
    • ‘They had forgotten that the night security officer patrolled the area until midnight.’
    • ‘Green-uniformed riot police patrolled the streets or sat in parked trucks.’
    • ‘Mounted police and dog handlers patrolled the streets and a large number of officers in riot gear were deployed outside the station.’
    • ‘Extra police officers are now patrolling the streets to combat the thieves.’
    • ‘Two villagers who took care of him said he hid in a closet when the police patrolled the area.’
    keep guard, keep guard on, guard, keep watch, keep watch on
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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’.