Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is the territorial police force responsible for Greater London, excluding the "square mile" of the City of London which is the responsibility of the City of London Police.The MPS also has significant national responsibilities such as co-ordinating and leading on counter-terrorism matters and protection of the British Royal Family and senior figures of Her Majesty's Government.
At the end of February 2010, the MPS employed 52,111 personnel. This included 33,258 sworn police officers, 4,226 Special Constables, 14,332 civilian police staff, and 4,520 non-sworn Police Community Support Officers. This makes it the largest police force in the United Kingdom by a significant margin, and one of the biggest forces in the world.
The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, known commonly as Commissioner, is the overall operational leader of the force, responsible and accountable to the Metropolitan Police Authority. The post of Commissioner was first held jointly by Sir Charles Rowan and Sir Richard Mayne. The post was most recently occupied by Sir Paul Stephenson, who announced his resignation in July 2011 due to speculation regarding the News International phone hacking scandal.
A number of informal names and abbreviations exists for the Metropolitan Police Service, such as "the Met", "Met Pol", "MP" and "the MPS". In colloquial London (or Cockney) slang, it is referred to as the "Old Bill".In statutes it is referred to in the lower case as the "metropolitan police force" or the "metropolitan police", without the appendage "service". The MPS is also referred to as Scotland Yard after the location of its original headquarters in and around Great Scotland Yard, Whitehall. The current headquarters of the MPS is New Scotland Yard.
The Metropolitan Police Service was founded in 1829 and at that time merged with the River Thames Marine Police Force which had been founded in 1798. For this reason, the MPS is considered to be the oldest police force in continuous service.
Police area and other forces
The police area policed by the Metropolitan Police Service is known as the Metropolitan Police District (MPD). In terms of geographic policing the MPS is divided into a number of Borough Operational Command Units which directly align with the 32 London boroughs covered. 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.
The Ministry of Defence Police are responsible for policing of Ministry of Defence property throughout the United Kingdom, including the its headquarters in Whitehall and other MoD establishments across the MPD.
The British Transport Police is responsible for policing of the rail network in the United Kingdom, including London. Within London, they are also responsible for policing of the London Underground, Tramlink and the Docklands Light Railway.
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 is now policed by the Royal Parks Operational Command Unit. 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 London borough councils maintain their own borough park constabularies, though their remit only extends to park by-laws, and although they are sworn as constables under laws applicable to parks, their powers are not equal to those of constables appointed under the Police Acts, meaning that they are not police officers.
It should be noted that despite these specialist police forces the MPS is statutorily responsible for law and order throughout the MPD and can take on primacy of any incident or investigation within it.
MPS officers have legal jurisdiction throughout all of England and Wales, including areas which have their own special police forces, such as the Ministry of Defence, as do all police officers of territorial police forces.
Organisation and structure
The Metropolitan Police Service is organised into five main directorates, each with differing responsibilities. They are Territorial Policing, Specialist Crime Directorate, Specialist Operations, Central Operations, and administration and support. Each is overseen by an Assistant Commissioner, or in the case of administrative departments a director of police staff which is the equivalent civil staff grade. The management board is made up of the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and internal department heads.
The Metropolitan Police Service uses the standard United Kingdom police ranks, indicated by shoulder boards, up to Chief Superintendent, but it has five ranks above that level instead of the standard three.
The MPS 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.
Following controversy over assaults by uniformed officers with concealed shoulder identification numbers during the G20 summit, 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.
The MPS rank structure, with shoulder badge features, is as follows:
Police Constable (PC): Divisional call sign and shoulder number.
Sergeant (Sgt or PS): Three pointing-down chevrons above divisional call sign and shoulder number. An 'acting' sergeant, such as a substantive constable being paid an allowance to undertake the duties of a sergeant for a short period of time, displays two pointing-down chevrons above the divisional call sign, and shoulder number. The use of three chevrons by an acting sergeant is technically incorrect, and should only be used during a period of temporary promotion.
Inspector (Insp): Two Order of the Bath stars, informally known as "pips".
Chief Inspector (C/Insp): Three pips.
Superintendent (Supt): Single crown.
Chief Superintendent (C/Supt): Single crown over one pip.
Commander (Cdr): Crossed tipstaves in a bayleaf wreath. This is the first ACPO rank.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC): One pip over Commander's badge.
Assistant Commissioner (AC): Crown over Commander's badge.
Deputy Commissioner (D/Comm): Crown above two side-by-side small pips, above Commander's badge.
Commissioner (Comm): Crown above one pip above Commander's badge.