German State Police officer in Hamburg, with the rank of Polizeihauptmeister mit Zulage ('police chief master with upgraded pay')
The Santas Hermandades of medieval Spain were formed to protect pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.
Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie, founder of the first uniformed police force in the world.
Patrick Colquhoun, founder of the Thames River Police.
Poster against "detested" Police at the town of Aberystwyth, Wales; April 1850.
A Peeler of the Metropolitan Police Service in the 1850s.
Albertine i politilægens venteværelse (1885–1887), painting by Christian Krohg.
Group portrait of policemen, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England, c. 1900.
Finnish police officers supervising the public watching the procession in honor of Helsinki's 400th anniversary on June 12, 1950.
Police motorcycles are commonly used for patrols and escorts, as seen here in Australia
Brazil's National Public Security Force (Força Nacional de Segurança Pública)
Policemen on patrol in Khaki uniform in the Greater Chennai Police patrol car in India.
A Deputy U.S. Marshal covers his fellow officers with an M4 carbine during a "knock-and-announce" procedure
Jeremy Bentham, philosopher who advocated for the establishment of preventive police forces and influenced the reforms of Sir Robert Peel.
Brazilian Federal Highway Police at work.
Uniformed police officers of the West Midlands Police in the United Kingdom
Unmarked police cars may be used by detectives or officers to carry out their duties unnoticed by the public, pictured here in Sydney, Australia
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters building in Tikkurila, Vantaa, Finland
SWAT team members
Russian Military Police officers
Two members of the Taliban religious police (Amr bil Ma-roof, or department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) beating a woman for removing her burqa in public.
Armed Police Corps in Yerevan, Armenia, during the Velvet Revolution
A Ford Crown Victoria, one of the most recognizable models of American police car. This unit belongs to US Capitol Police.
A General Directorate of Security riot control officer uses force on a protester in Gezi Park protests, Turkey.
Bike cops surrounding protesters during a demonstration in the U.S.
A wreath laying team from the Armenian Police's Honour Guard Battalion at Tsitsernakaberd.
Albertine i politilægens venteværelse (1885–1887), painting by Christian Krohg.
A police car in Utrecht, Netherlands

The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state, with the aim to enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder.

- Police

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Police brutality

Excessive and unwarranted use of force by law enforcement against an individual or a group.

Nine police officers subduing a member of the public in Egypt
End SARS is a decentralised social movement, and series of mass protests against police brutality in Nigeria.
A protester shows his wounded eye. Police brutality was one of the main issues arising from the 2013 protests in Turkey.
The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn in its new location
Yellow vests protesters holding a sign referring to victims of police violence, 9 February 2019
A pin from Northern Ireland that reads "Help the Police, beat yourself up."
Polish ZOMO squads with police batons during martial law in Poland, 1981–1983. The sarcastic caption reads "outstretched hands of understanding" or "outstretched hands for agreement".
2017 Catalan general strike against police brutality
Spanish National Police storm polling station during the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.
LAPD officers restrain a man during the Watts Riots, August 1965.
In June 2020, the "defund the police" slogan gained widespread popularity during the George Floyd protests.
Ian Tomlinson after being pushed to the ground by police in London (2009). He collapsed and died soon after.
Protest against police brutality after the eviction of unemployed demonstrators occupying the Post Office in Vancouver, Canada, 1938
Protest march in response to the Jamar Clark shooting, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Protesters in Minneapolis on 26 May 2020, the day after the murder of George Floyd
Australian police use illegal pain hold on activist at University of Sydney.

By the 19th and early 20th centuries, many nations had established modern police departments.

Police officer

German state police officer in Hamburg
Carnival 2010 on the day of Donetsk, Ukrainian female police officer on duty.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) represents the largest police force in the United States, with an authorized uniformed police officer strength of 38,442 as of 2018.
A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in the force's distinctive dress uniform
Mounted Tourist-Police officers in Petra, Jordan
Officers of the Polizia Municipale from Piacenza, Italy

A police officer is a warranted law employee of a police force.

Police state

Extreme level of control over civil society and liberties.

Demonstration in Amsterdam against the police state (politie staat) in Portuguese Angola
"No to police state" banner in Ukraine

There is typically little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive, and the deployment of internal security and police forces play a heightened role in governance.


General Sir Richard Dannatt, dressed in the formal attire of the Constable of the Tower, speaking at the Ceremony of the Constable's Dues, June 2010
Rank epaulette of a leading senior constable of the New South Wales Police Force
A constable of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in full dress. Constables are typically the lowest rank in Canadian police services.
An epaulette showing an officer's divisional code (DF) and individual number.

A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in criminal law enforcement.

Park ranger

Person entrusted with protecting and preserving parklands – national, state, provincial, or local parks.

Park ranger in Uganda
Jorge Cieslik, a park ranger in the Iguazú National Park in Argentina, on the border with Brazil and Paraguay
Park Rangers (guardaparques, in Spanish) patrolling in the Iguazú National Park in Argentina, on the border with Brazil and Paraguay

Law enforcement: Law enforcement rangers have police powers and enforce national, state, provincial, and/or local laws as well as park regulations. In some developing countries, the park rangers patrolling natural preserves may be heavily armed and function as paramilitary organizations against organized poachers or even guerrillas. In many other developing countries however, park rangers have law enforcement authority and do carry firearms as they seek to achieve respect for nature by building good relationships with local communities and the visiting public. In units of the U.S. National Park System, Law Enforcement Rangers are the primary police agency; their services may be augmented by the US Park Police, particularly in the Washington, DC and San Francisco metropolitan areas. The U.S. National Park Service also has a section of "Special Agents" who conduct more complex criminal investigations. According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, National Park Service Law Enforcement Rangers suffer the highest number of felonious assaults, and the highest number of homicides of all federal law enforcement officers. The City of New York has a uniformed division of Park Rangers called the New York City Parks Enforcement Patrol who are responsible for patrolling the city parks, pools and beaches.


Unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority.

The spiked heads of executed criminals once adorned the gatehouse of the medieval London Bridge.
Kang Kek Iew before the Cambodian Genocide Tribunal on July 20, 2009
Religious sentiment often becomes a contributory factor of crime. In the 1819 anti-Jewish Hep-Hep riots in Würzburg, rioters attacked Jewish businesses and destroyed property.

This approach considers the complex realities surrounding the concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social, political, psychological, and economic conditions may affect changing definitions of crime and the form of the legal, law-enforcement, and penal responses made by society.

Law enforcement

Activity of some members of government who act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing people who violate the rules and norms governing that society.

Lieutenant debriefing New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers at Times Square. The NYPD is the largest police force in the United States, with a uniformed force of almost 35,000 officers as of 2021.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers boarding a ship
Indonesian National Police officers during foot patrol
Police officers in Australia

The term encompasses police, courts, and corrections.


Act of apprehending and taking a person into custody , usually because the person has been suspected of or observed committing a crime.

A man arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents
Arrested kidnappers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil lying on the ground
A United States Army soldier arrests a man in June 2007, during the Iraq War.
American socialist activist Lucy Parsons after her arrest for rioting during an unemployment protest at Hull House in Chicago, Illinois, 1915
A police officer arresting suspected gang members in Los Angeles, United States
Police officers taking a man into custody in Chicago, United States

Police and various other officers have powers of arrest.

Law enforcement agency

Any government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.

A police officer and a police vehicle are traditional identifiers of a locally based law enforcement agency.
Non executive powers jurisdictional coverage of Europol
List of law enfPolice agency division within England
Two military police officers and a four-wheel drive police car from the Żandarmeria Wojskowa (Poland)
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters building in Tikkurila, Vantaa, Finland

Many law enforcement agencies are police agencies that have a broad range powers and responsibilities.

Internal security

Act of keeping peace within the borders of a sovereign state or other self-governing territories, generally by upholding the national law and defending against internal security threats.

South Korean policemen standing guard at the North Korea-South Korea border. View from South Korea.

Responsibility for internal security may range from police to paramilitary forces, and in exceptional circumstances, the military itself.