Definition of police in English:



  • 1The civil force of a national or local government, responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the maintenance of public order.

    • ‘A manifest example of such activities is provided by the armed forces and the police.’
    • ‘The second issue I would like to raise is that the police respond to public concern.’
    • ‘Of those which are recorded as crimes, the police trace about one-quarter to an offender or suspected offender.’
    • ‘In a database-dominated world, the police prevent crime before it happens.’
    • ‘The premise behind community crime prevention is that police need to do more than react to incidents.’
    • ‘Faced with rising crime and a lack of public faith in the police she has come out all guns blazing.’
    • ‘If there is a crime committed and the police go in with a search warrant, they just seize whatever is relevant.’
    • ‘Wildlife experts are joining forces with the police to launch a crackdown on hare coursing.’
    • ‘I suppose you will get the police to force us to see you like you did in Spain.’
    • ‘Once there the police used force to prevent the march continuing to parliament.’
    • ‘There has also been extensive collusion between the police and nationalist forces.’
    • ‘The force is also developing public access to the police through email and text messaging.’
    • ‘Council officers supported the police in offering crime prevention advice to residents.’
    • ‘In the meantime public faith in the police has dropped to an all-time low.’
    • ‘Labour organisations suspect members of the armed forces or police are responsible for his murder.’
    • ‘Workers set up roadblocks in order to prevent the police from entering the industrial facility again.’
    • ‘He believed that the son was responsible but the police seem not to have found grounds for that belief.’
    • ‘So in order to avoid the police and stares of the public, he kept to the solitary alleys.’
    • ‘For example, the best source of advice on crime prevention is the local police.’
    • ‘They say the orders have helped the police to respond better to community problems.’
    police force, police officers, policemen, policewomen, officers of the law, the forces of law and order, law enforcement officers, law enforcement agency
    the cops, the fuzz, the law, the man, the boys in blue, the long arm of the law
    the bill, the old bill
    coppers, rozzers, bobbies, busies, bizzies, the force, plod, pc plod
    the heat, …'s finest
    pigs, the filth, babylon
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Members of a police force.
      ‘there are fewer women police than men’
      • ‘The hearing was packed with media, police and family members of the accused men.’
      • ‘Britain will also commit itself to training tens of thousands more Iraqi police and members of the civil defence force.’
      • ‘Teams of police and court officials arrested 21 people as part of a major crackdown on fine dodgers.’
      • ‘After his arrest, he was questioned by local police and also members of Scotland Yard.’
      • ‘It tarnishes the sterling reputation of all good police and court officials.’
      • ‘He has had police search innocent members of the public, and an Asian family taken into a custody.’
      • ‘North Shore Rescue and the Cypress Bowl Ski Patrol members helped police recover the body.’
      • ‘Putting more police on the street with powers of arrest is the only answer.’
      • ‘His introduction to youth work came two years ago through an adventure holiday organised by local police.’
      • ‘Hundreds of riot police and members of the security forces took up positions near the palace, they said.’
      • ‘He now says he pledges to get 5,000 police on our streets what a joke!’
      • ‘Team leader Roy Cooksey said the walking group had directed police and mountain rescue members to the body.’
      • ‘One thing is for sure: it will not be spent on extra police to enforce the current drinking age.’
      • ‘He never did find out which members of the Brotherhood had been undercover police.’
      • ‘After being informed, local police searched the roads for three days and investigated other drivers who frequent this road.’
      • ‘And so, there are supposed to be some more police on the streets.’
      • ‘In the Boland town of Paarl two Samwu members were injured when police opened fire on a group of marchers.’
      • ‘The FBI is now on the case, helping Iraqi police investigating the bombing.’
      • ‘Four hundred armed police raided an estate in west London last week.’
    2. 1.2[with modifier]An organization engaged in the enforcement of official regulations in a specified domain.
      before noun ‘transit police’
      humorous, figurative ‘the fashion police’
      • ‘Metro police and emergency services officials will also be deployed along the route during the event.’
      • ‘The Metropolitan police raided a flat in Brixton after the US attacks, looking for his girlfriend.’
      • ‘We generally had electricity at that time, because the family flat was quite close to the military secret police.’
      • ‘There is a strong nexus between the railway officials, the railway police and the fraudster.’
      • ‘Armed anti-terrorist police swooped on a Rochdale business to arrest a 30-year-old warehouse worker.’
      • ‘Witnesses are asked to contact the traffic police in Huddersfield on 436847.’
      • ‘Bulgarian border police on Tuesday received a new six million euro telecommunication system made by Finnish company Nokia.’
      • ‘The ropes were removed by campus police within an hour of being hung.’
      • ‘Twelve Sheffield Wednesday supporters were arrested by riot police during the cup tie against Blackburn on Tuesday night.’
      • ‘The hearing was told his death was being investigated by British military police and the local authorities.’
      • ‘Around 1,500 armed riot police were sent in to enforce the status quo.’
      • ‘During the course of the protest, riot police arrested 23 strikers and mounted attacks on the picket lines.’


  • 1 (of a police force) have the duty of maintaining law and order in or for (an area or event)

    • ‘The latest insurgency is making it very difficult for the British forces to maintain their ‘softly softly’ approach to policing the area.’
    • ‘We will be policing this event appropriately, to make sure the rally passes off without incident.’
    • ‘The issue in this case was an order that was given by a sergeant to a number of officers who were going to go out on a day to police a particular event.’
    • ‘He said that when he started policing the area 18 months ago the red light district was confined to the Manchester Road area.’
    • ‘She was assigned the Horton-in-Ribblesdale beat for 18 years and has been involved in policing most major incidents and accidents in the area.’
    • ‘Whilst its economic importance and political sensitivity would ensure the event was highly policed, the use of anti-terror measures against protesters seems to be more of a case of testing the water for future use.’
    • ‘The festival was policed by Bristol-based Stuart Security.’
    • ‘It is high time our beaches and recreational areas were policed to ensure that no glass objects are taken anywhere near them.’
    • ‘All of the West Yorkshire and British Transport Police officers who policed the riots have been jointly nominated as the country's bravest officers.’
    • ‘The police had to set up traffic lights to control the traffic and stationed officers there around the clock to police the event.’
    • ‘We try to police these matches principally with off-duty officers - that's the aim.’
    • ‘The £4 million expense of policing the event, which included heavy police violence against protesters, was also borne by the taxpayer.’
    • ‘In any country, under similar circumstances, policing Carnival would be a nightmare.’
    • ‘Yesterday's protest was policed by officers from Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset and Wiltshire as well as MoD police.’
    • ‘Council tax bills may have to rise by £17-a-year to pay for the damage caused and the cost of policing the riots that devastated the city in July.’
    • ‘He also had national responsibility for public order policing, and policed both the World Cup in France and Euro 2000.’
    • ‘Questions will be asked about how adequately these potentially violent matches are policed.’
    • ‘But a meeting of the authority today was told it could soon receive £900,000 from the Government to offset the cost of policing the rail disaster.’
    • ‘It's hard to escape the conclusion that yesterday's events could have been avoided had the match been properly policed.’
    • ‘She hinted at the possibility that the Groceries Order should be policed by the Competition Authority.’
    maintain law and order in, keep the peace in, keep guard over, keep watch on, watch over, guard, protect, defend, patrol, make the rounds of
    control, keep in order, keep under control, regulate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Enforce regulations or an agreement in (a particular area or domain)
      ‘a UN resolution to use military force to police the no-fly zone’
      • ‘Many are trying to regulate this and are using monitoring technology to police it.’
      • ‘Increases in electricity tariffs are subject to approval from the National Electricity Regulator, a national body that polices the electricity supply industry in accordance with government policy and law.’
      • ‘A Paris-based media rights group yesterday slammed new Chinese regulations aimed at policing the Internet.’
      • ‘I wonder just who is regulating and policing all this as well as making the lawyers even wealthier.’
      • ‘If implemented, the new system will be policed by Failte Ireland, the Irish tourism agency.’
      • ‘However, Mr Burgess admitted that policing the system had its difficulties, as did monitoring the auction sites where virtual weapons can be sold for hundreds of pounds.’
      • ‘Giving reasons for refusing the application, justices said there was insufficient supervision for policing the consumption of drinks in the auditorium.’
      • ‘The rules are the rules at the end of the day it is ultimately down to the regulators to police that.’
      • ‘In numerous cases, firms are rewarding politicians directly charged with regulating or policing their industries.’
      • ‘One is that a degree of regulation is needed so that we can police fisheries sensibly.’
      • ‘If we legalised prostitution then it could be regulated and policed in a much safer and fair manner than it does at the moment, after all it is a service and if people are willing to pay for it and people are willing to sell it where is the problem?’
      • ‘This needs to be regulated and it needs to be policed.’
      • ‘The National Association of Securities Dealers Regulation, which polices the Nasdaq exchange, has censured and fined several brokers in a clampdown on initial public offerings.’
      • ‘Operation Southern Watch polices the no-fly zone in the south, and is made up of 150 British and American aircraft and 6000 forces.’
      • ‘What we need now is the will to regulate and police industry in favour of worker and consumer health.’
      • ‘He called for an increase in the African Union force in the Sudan, with a pledge to provide logistical support and even policing a no-fly zone.’
      • ‘An NBA rep with a handheld decibel meter polices the sidelines during every game, enforcing a 90-decibel limit on in-game noise.’
      • ‘What continent provides planes for policing the no-fly zones in Iraq?’
      • ‘The Financial Services Authority, which polices the credit unions, is looking to tighten the regulations.’
      • ‘Competition law enforces competition policy by regulating competitors' behaviour and policing illegal activity.’
    2. 1.2Enforce the provisions of (a law, agreement, or treaty)
      ‘the regulations will be policed by factory inspectors’
      • ‘The safeguards we have agreed with LCC go further than any others ever agreed before, but they need to be policed and enforced with vigour.’
      • ‘But there they are, knowing full well that there has to be somebody who is policing the law.’
      • ‘Surely we should be policing our existing laws, rather than engaging in another $14 million tax grab.’
      • ‘On top of this the agreement must be policed exclusively by US forces, as opposed to the United Nations or any other body.’
      • ‘Whilst we welcome and congratulate the Minister and his Department on the new legislation we are worried about how exactly it is going to be policed and enforced.’
      • ‘The issue of how the ban will be policed has not yet been fully decided but draft regulations published by the Minister contain stiff penalties for a breach of the ban which is due to come into effect next January.’
      • ‘Referees and their assistants have a very difficult job trying to police this law of the game.’
      • ‘He gave no details on how the regulation would be policed, but said violators would be punished.’
      • ‘There is no doubt the agreement reached in 2001 between editors and the Palace, policed by the Press Complaints Commission, helped William to complete his studies in peace.’
      • ‘Professional law on the other hand is made and policed by regulatory bodies, set up by statute but empowered to develop their own guidance.’
      • ‘Many of them fear that if the ban on below-cost selling were lifted or policed by an unenthusiastic regulatory authority, things would only get worse.’
      • ‘The International Atomic Energy Agency, which polices the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has just returned from its annual inspection of Iraq.’
      • ‘In order to enable the freezing injunctions to be policed, Mora, in common with others of the Defendants, was required to produce information and documents regarding its assets.’
      • ‘The new regulations will be policed by the National Care Standards Commission.’
      • ‘They are the costs of drawing up contacts and of monitoring and policing the implementation of contracts.’
      • ‘I think there are enough challenges in trying to police the laws we have.’
      • ‘Hastings said the the ban needed to be strictly policed, and a regulatory body might be required to control all tobacco products in the same way as licensed drugs.’
      • ‘Some experts claim curfews cannot be policed without some type of electronic monitoring.’
      • ‘Earlier this year the European Commission, which polices the pact, agreed to give both countries an extra year, until 2005, to bring their deficits back into line.’
      • ‘Mr. Breen said an outright ban on smoking in pubs when food is served was unfeasible because of the difficulties of implementing and policing such a ban.’
      enforce, regulate, implement, oversee, supervise, monitor, observe, watch
      View synonyms


Late 15th century (in the sense public order): from French, from medieval Latin politia citizenship, government (see policy). Current senses date from the early 19th century.