List of Law Enforcement Agencies in The United Kingdom

This is a list of law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom. There are a number of agencies which participate in law enforcement in the United Kingdom. There are four general types mostly concerned with policing the general public and their activities and a number of others concerned with policing of other, usually localised, matters.

  • Territorial police forces, who carry out the majority of policing. These are police forces that cover a 'police area' (a particular region) and have an independent Police Authority. Current police forces have their grounding in the Police Act 1996 (in England and Wales), the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 or the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000, which prescribe a number of issues such as appointment of a Chief Constable, jurisdiction and responsibilities.
  • Special police forces, which are national police forces that have a specific, non-regional jurisdiction, such as the British Transport Police. The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 refers to these as 'special police forces'.
  • Non-police law enforcement agencies, whose officers are not police officers, but still enforce laws.
  • Miscellaneous forces, mostly having their foundations in older legislation or Common Law. These have a responsibility to police specific local areas or activities, such as ports and parks and before the passing of recent legislation such as the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 were often referred to as 'special police forces'; care must therefore be taken in interpreting historical use of that phrase. These constabularies are not within the scope of the legislation applicable to the previously-mentioned organisations but can still be the subject of statutes applicable to e.g. docks, harbours or railways. Until the passing of Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, the British Transport Police was such a force.

Over the centuries there has been a wide variation in the number of police forces in the United Kingdom, with a huge number now no longer in existence. See List of defunct law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom for these.

Read more about List Of Law Enforcement Agencies In The United Kingdom:  Naming, Special Police Forces, Miscellaneous Constabularies, Service Police, Crown Dependencies, Overseas Law Enforcement Agencies in The UK, Fictional Police Forces

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