Metropolitan Police Service
Logo
Logo
Badge
Badge
Current flag since 2024
Current flag since 2024
Common nameThe Met[1]
AbbreviationMPS[2]
Agency overview
Formed29 September 1829; 194 years ago (1829-09-29)[3]
Preceding agencies
Employees43,571 in total[6]
32,493 police officers[6]
9,816 police staff[6]
1,262 PCSOs[6]
Volunteers1,858 special constables
1,500 police support volunteers
3,658 volunteer police cadets
Annual budget£4.43 billion[7]
Legal personalityPolice force
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionGreater London, UK
Map of the Metropolitan Police District
Size1,578 km2 (609 sq mi)
Population8.95 million (2019/20)[8]
Legal jurisdictionEngland and Wales
(throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, under certain limited circumstances)
Primary governing bodyMayor's Office for Policing and Crime
Secondary governing bodyHome Office
Constituting instruments
General nature
Operational structure
Overseen by
HeadquartersNew Scotland Yard, Westminster, London, England
Police officers32,493 full time
1,858 special constables
PCSOs1,262
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime responsible
Agency executives
Website
www.met.police.uk Edit this at Wikidata

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), formerly known as the Metropolitan Police, which is still its common name, serves as the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement and crime prevention within the ceremonial county of Greater London. In addition, it is responsible for specialised tasks throughout the United Kingdom, such as UK counter-terrorism measures, and the protection of certain individuals, including the monarch, royal family, governmental officials,[10] and other designated figures. Commonly referred to as the Met, it is also referred to as Scotland Yard or the Yard, after the location of its original headquarters in Great Scotland Yard, Whitehall in the 19th century.[11] Its present headquarters are near there at New Scotland Yard on the Victoria Embankment.[12]

The main geographical area of responsibilities, the Metropolitan Police District, consists of the 32 London boroughs,[13] and excludes the small City of London — a largely non-residential and financial district, overseen by the City of London Police. As the force responsible for the capital of the UK, the Met has significant responsibilities and unique challenges, such as protecting 164 foreign embassies and High Commissions,[14] policing London City and Heathrow airports, protecting the Palace of Westminster, and managing a higher volume of protests and events than any other British police force, with 3,500 such events in 2016.[14]

The force, by officer numbers, ranks as the largest police force within the UK and among the largest globally.[15] Excluding its national roles, the Met oversees the eighth-smallest primary geographic area (police area) compared to other territorial police forces in the UK.

The force operates under the leadership of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, directly accountable to the Home Office and the Mayor of London, through the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime. The post of commissioner was first held by Sir Charles Rowan and Sir Richard Mayne, with Sir Mark Rowley currently holding the position since July 2022.[16]

History

Main article: History of the Metropolitan Police

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2022)

The Metropolitan Police Service was founded in 1829 by Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel under the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 and on 29 September of that year, the first constables of the service appeared on the streets of London.[17] Ten years later, Metropolitan Police Act 1839 consolidated policing within London by expanding the Metropolitan Police District and either abolishing or amalgamating the various other law enforcement entities within London into the Metropolitan Police such as the Thames River Police and the Bow Street Runners.[18][19]

Governance

Since January 2012, the Mayor of London is responsible for the governance of the Metropolitan Police through the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).[20] The mayor is able to appoint someone to act on his behalf. As of April 2019, the office-holder is the deputy mayor for policing and crime, Sophie Linden.[21] The work of MOPAC is scrutinised by the Police and Crime Committee (also known as a police and crime panel) of the London Assembly. These structures were created by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and replaced the Metropolitan Police Authority-appointed board created in 2000 by Greater London Authority Act 1999.

Before 2000, the Metropolitan Police was under the authority of the Home Secretary, the only British territorial police force to be administered by central government. The Metropolitan Police Office (MPO), although based at Scotland Yard, was a department of the Home Office created in 1829 and was responsible for the force's day-to-day administration. Under the authority of the receiver, a civilian official who was equivalent in rank to the deputy commissioner and served as the force's chief financial officer, it was headed by a civilian secretary, who was equivalent in rank to the assistant commissioners.[22]

Police area and other forces

The area policed by the Metropolitan Police Service is known as the Metropolitan Police District (MPD). The Met was divided into 32 Borough Operational Command Units that directly aligned with the 32 London boroughs covered. This situation has changed since 2017, as the Met has attempted to save money due to cuts in funding. The MPD is now divided into 12 Basic Command Units (BCUs) made up of two, three or four boroughs. There is criticism of these changes.[23] The City of London (which is not a London borough) is a separate police area and is the responsibility of the separate City of London Police.

New Scotland Yard is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police.

The Ministry of Defence Police is responsible for policing of Ministry of Defence property throughout the United Kingdom, including its headquarters in Whitehall and other MoD establishments across the MPD.[24]

The British Transport Police (BTP) are responsible for policing of the rail network in Great Britain, including London. Within London, they are also responsible for the policing of the London Underground, London Trams, the London Cable Car and the Docklands Light Railway.[25]

The English part of the Royal Parks Constabulary, which patrolled a number of Greater London's major parks, was merged with the Metropolitan Police in 2004, and those parks are now policed by the Royal Parks Operational Command Unit.[26] There is also a small park police force, the Kew Constabulary, responsible for the Royal Botanic Gardens, whose officers have full police powers within the park. A few local authorities maintain their own borough park constabularies, including Wandsworth Parks and Events Police, Kensington and Chelsea Parks Police, Havering Parks Constabulary and the Hampstead Heath Constabulary. All of these enjoy powers of arrest without warrant as constables;[27] however, the officers of the last mentioned have full police powers, much like officers of the Metropolitan Police, on the heath, whereas the other parks' police primarily focus on by-law enforcement.

Metropolitan Police officers have legal jurisdiction throughout all of England and Wales, including areas that have their own special police forces, such as the Ministry of Defence, as do all police officers of territorial police forces.[28] Officers also have limited powers in Scotland and Northern Ireland.[29] Within the MPD, the Met will take over the investigation of any serious crime from the Ministry of Defence Police and to a lesser degree BTP, if it is deemed appropriate. Terrorist incidents and complex murder enquiries will almost always be investigated by the Met,[30][31] with the assistance of any relevant specialist force, even if they are committed on Ministry of Defence or railway property. A minor incursion into the normal jurisdiction of territorial police officers in England and Wales is that Met officers involved in the protection duties of the Royal Family and other VIPs have full police powers in Scotland and Northern Ireland in connection with those duties.[32]

Organisation and structure

Main article: Organisation and structure of the Metropolitan Police Service

The Metropolitan Police Service is organised into the following directorates:[33]

Each is overseen by an assistant commissioner or, in the case of administrative departments, a director of police staff, which is the equivalent civilian staff grade. The management board is made up of the commissioner, deputy commissioner, assistant commissioners and directors.

Ranks

See also: Police ranks of the United Kingdom

Met Police officers on the streets of Soho. Since 1863, the custodian helmet (middle) has been worn by male police constables and sergeants while on foot patrol.

The Metropolitan Police Service uses the standard British police ranks, indicated by epaulettes, up to chief superintendent, but uniquely has five ranks above that level instead of the standard three: commander, deputy assistant commissioner, assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner and commissioner.[34] All senior officers of the rank of Commander and above are chief police officers of NPCC (previously ACPO) rank.

The Met approved the use of name badges in October 2003, with new recruits wearing the Velcro badges from September 2004. The badge consists of the wearer's rank, followed by their surname.[35] All officers are assigned a unique identification number which includes a two-letter BCU (Basic Command Unit) code.

Following controversy over assaults by uniformed officers with concealed shoulder identification numbers during the G20 summit,[36] Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said, "the public has a right to be able to identify any uniformed officer whilst performing their duty" by their shoulder identification numbers.[37]

Insignia

The Met uniformed officer rank structure, with epaulette design, is as follows (from highest to lowest):

Metropolitan Police ranks
Rank Commissioner Deputy commissioner Assistant commissioner Deputy assistant commissioner Commander Chief superintendent Superintendent Chief inspector Inspector Sergeant Constable
Epaulette insignia

The Met also has several active Volunteer Police Cadet units, which maintain their own internal rank structure.[38] The Metropolitan Special Constabulary is a contingent of part-time volunteer police officers and is attached to most Borough Operational Command Units. The Metropolitan Special Constabulary Ranks are as follows (from lowest to highest):

Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary Ranks
Rank Special constable Special sergeant Special inspector Special chief inspector Assistant chief officer Chief officer
Epaulette Insignia
Notes:

The prefix "woman" in front of female officers' ranks has been obsolete since 1999. Members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) up to and including the rank of chief superintendent prefix their ranks with "detective". Detective ranks are equivalent in rank to their uniform counterparts. Other departments, such as Special Branch and Child Protection, award non-detectives "branch detective" status, allowing them to use the "Detective" prefix. None of these detective ranks confer on the holder any extra pay or supervisory authority compared to their uniformed colleagues.

Workforce

The following is the current released workforce data for the ranks. The chief officers rank covers all senior ranks as well as special constables covering all special constable ranks.

Metropolitan Police Workforce
Rank Police staff Police support volunteer Designated Officer PCSO Special constable Constable Sergeant Inspector Chief inspector Superintendent Chief superintendent Chief officer
Female personnel 5285 468 340 478 530 7465 956 270 68 44 12 8
Male personnel 3626 257 390 829 1330 17329 3526 935 232 147 45 26
Total personnel 8911 725 730 1307 1860 24794 4482 1205 300 191 57 34
Reference 2019 Police workforce open data tables[40]

Arms

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Last update: cypher of King Charles 3 needs to be added (April 2024)
Coat of arms of Metropolitan Police
Crest
On a wreath Argent and Azure, three arrows, one in pale and two in saltire, barbs downward, Proper, banded Azure and ensigned by the Royal Crown proper.
Escutcheon
Azure, a portcullis chained within a double tressure flory counterflory Argent.
Supporters
On either side a lion rampant guardant Argent, gorged with a collar Azure charged alternately with bezants and bees volant, grasping in the interior paw a column Or.
Badge

A roundel azure, thereon the Royal Cypher of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second argent within a circlet azure fimbriated and inscribed with words 'Metropolitan Police' in letters argent, the whole upon a star of eight major and fifty-six lesser points argent, ensigned by the Royal Crown proper.

Police officers

Metropolitan Police officers, 1979
Met officers, alongside British Transport Police on 'mutual aid', at a G20 protest in 2009.
Armed DPG police officers. Downing Street gates, 2014

The Metropolitan Police Service includes full-time, paid officers known as 'regulars', and part-time, voluntary officers from the Metropolitan Special Constabulary. Both regulars and specials enjoy full police powers, wear the same uniform, and carry the same kit.

Historic numbers

*include temporary constables from war period

^includes 753 officers policing Woolwich Arsenal and Her Majesty's Dockyards in Chatham, Portsmouth, Pembroke, Devonport and Rosyth.

Present numbers

Staff and PCSOs

The Met's Police Staff are non-warranted civilians, including police community support officers (PCSOs), designated detention officers (DDOs), and many other civilian roles.[64] The Met was the first constabulary to introduce PCSOs. Unlike other police staff, police officers in the Met (as elsewhere in the UK) are not employees, but rather Crown servants, and holders of the Office of Constable. Their numbers are currently:

Resources

Fleet

Various Metropolitan Police vehicles attending a protest in 2021
A restored Rover SD1 traffic car in the Metropolitan Police's 'jam sandwich' livery first introduced in 1978

As of 2023, the Met operates and maintains a fleet of around 5,200 vehicles.[65] In 2018, the fleet covered 46,777,720 miles (75,281,440 km).[66] The fleet comprises numerous vehicles, including:[67]

The majority of vehicles have a service life of three to five years; the Met replaces or upgrades between 800 and 1,000 vehicles each year. Vehicles are maintained and repaired on contract by Babcock International; from November 2023, the contract for 3,700 of the Met's 5,200 vehicles will be undertaken by Rivus Fleet Solutions for a ten-year period.[65]

By 2012, the Met was marking all new marked vehicles with Battenburg markings, a highly reflective material on the side of the vehicles, chequered blue and yellow green for the police, and in other colours for other services.[69] The old livery was an orange stripe through the vehicle, with the force's logo, known colloquially as the 'jam sandwich', which was first introduced in 1978 with the delivery of high-performance Rover SD1 traffic cars.[70] Originally, marked vehicles were finished in base white paint; this was changed to silver from 2002 to help improve a vehicle's resale value when it was retired from police use.[71]

The National Police Air Service provides helicopter support to the Met.

A marine policing unit operates 22 vessels from its base in Wapping.

Budget

Funding for the Metropolitan Police has been cut due to austerity. Changes in the way the government pays for police pensions will lead to further cuts.[72] Its expenditure for single years, not adjusted for inflation, has been:[73]

Year Amount Notes
1829/30 £194,126
1848 £437,441
1873 £1.1 million
1898 £1.8 million
1923 £7.8 million
1948 £12.6 million
1973 £95 million
1998/9 £2.03 billion
2011/12 £3.69 billion £2.754 billion was spent on staff wages[74][75]
2017/18 £3.26 billion[76]

Specialist units

A traditional blue lamp as seen outside most police stations.

Stations

In addition to the headquarters at New Scotland Yard, there are many police stations in London.[91] These range from large borough headquarters staffed around the clock every day to smaller stations, which may be open to the public only during normal business hours, or on certain days of the week. In 2017, there were 73 working front counters open to the public in London.[92] Most police stations can easily be identified from one or more blue lamps located outside the entrance, which were introduced in 1861.

The oldest Metropolitan police station, which opened in Bow Street in 1881, closed in 1992 and the adjoining Bow Street Magistrates' Court heard its last case on 14 July 2006.[93] One of the oldest operational police stations in London is in Wapping, which opened in 1908. It is the headquarters of the marine policing unit (formerly known as Thames Division), which is responsible for policing the River Thames. It also houses a mortuary and the River Police Museum. Paddington Green Police Station, which is no longer operational, received much publicity for its housing of terrorism suspects in an underground complex prior to its closure in 2017.

In 2004, there was a call from the Institute for Public Policy Research for more imaginative planning of police stations to aid in improving relations between police forces and the wider community.[94]

Statistics

Crime figures

See also: Crime in London

Crimes reported within the Metropolitan Police District, selected by quarter centuries.[95]

Detection rates

The following table shows the percentage detection rates for the Metropolitan Police by offence group for 2010/11.[97]

Total Violence against the person Sexual offences Robbery Burglary Offences against vehicles Other theft offences Fraud and forgery Criminal damage Drug offences Other offences
Metropolitan Police 24 35 23 17 11 5 14 16 13 91 63
England and Wales 28 44 30 21 13 11 22 24 14 94 69

The Metropolitan Police Service "screened out" 34,164 crimes the day they were reported in 2017 and did not investigate them further. This compares to 13,019 the previous year. 18,093 crimes were closed in 24 hours during the first 5 months of 2018 making it likely that the 2017 total will be exceeded. Crimes not being investigated include sexual assaults and arson, burglaries, thefts and assaults. Some critics believe this shows the effect of austerity on the force's ability to carry out its responsibilities.[98]

Controversies

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2023)

See also: History of the Metropolitan Police, Institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police, and Institutional sexism in the Metropolitan Police

The Met was controversial even before its formation in 1829. Since the 1970s, such controversies have often centred on institutional racism and institutional sexism within the organisation, along with the right to protest,[a] failures in investigations,[b] and officers belonging to proscribed organisations.[c]

In 2023, a report on the Metropolitan Police found that the organisation was rife with racism, misogyny, and homophobia, and was corrupt. A 363-page report written by Louise Casey, Baroness Casey of Blackstock was commissioned after the abduction of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, a police constable. The report stated that 12% of female Met employees had been harassed or attacked, with 33% experiencing sexism. Other incidents include a Muslim officer who had bacon stuffed into his boots and a Sikh officer whose beard was cut. The report also found that officers of minority ethnic backgrounds were more likely to be disciplined and leave the force.[102] The report was criticised by the charity Galop for not investigating transphobia.[103] Five former officers admitted in court in 2023 to sending racist messages, the targets of which included the Duchess of Sussex, and a sixth was convicted after a trial. All six were given suspended jail sentences. [104][105]

On 1 January 2024 the Metropolitan Police were condemned by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson for allegedly demonstrating political bias and double standards in their handling of pro-Hamas demonstrations, and their efforts to support an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes following Israel's response to terror attacks committed by Hamas on 7 October. The Met released a statement in response stating, "As the UK's investigative authority for war crimes, counter-terrorism policing – through the Met's war crimes team – has a responsibility to support ICC investigations. The ICC opened an investigation in 2019 into alleged war crimes in Israel and Palestine." The spokesman added that "under the terms of the 1998 Rome Statute, our war crimes team is obliged to support any investigations opened by the ICC that could involve British subjects" and said the posters were put up to meet that obligation. With higher volumes of British nationals and UK-based individuals currently returning from Israel, Gaza and nearby countries, we anticipate there may be people who have evidence or relevant information to the ICC investigation," said the spokesman. "We are therefore signposting people to reporting routes where appropriate. The Met's Counter-Terrorism Command also continues to gather direct information and evidence relating to the terrorist attack in Israel on Oct 7 in support of the UK coronial investigations into British nationals who were killed during those attacks. At this time, there is no UK-based investigation by the war crimes team linked to the current events in the Middle East."[106]

In April 2024, the Met settled a claim for misfeasance in a public office and false imprisonment by agreeing to pay a five-figure sum as damages to a French publisher who had been arrested and detained under anti-terrorism laws while he was on his way to a book fair in London.[107]

See also

Other London emergency services:

Notes

  1. ^ In August 2023 Graham Smith issued a claim for judicial review against the Metropolitan police commissioner regarding Smith's arrest on the day of the king's coronation, when he was preparing to demonstrate against the monarchy.[99]
  2. ^ In December 2021, an inquest jury ruled that the deaths in 2014–2015 of serial killer Stephen Port's final three victims was due in part to the Met Police's failings. The inquest found that the Met "failed to carry out basic checks, send evidence to be forensically examined, and exercise professional curiosity while Port was embarking on his killing spree".[100]
  3. ^ In April 2021 an early-career Metropolitan police officer, Ben Hannam, was found guilty of being a member of a banned neo-Nazi terrorist group.[101]

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