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Metropolitan Police [Scotland Yard]

In 1829, when Sir Robert Peel was Home Secretary, the first Metropolitan Police Act was passed and the Metropolitan Police Force was established in London. The task of organising and designing the "New Police" undertaken at 4 Whitehall Place, the back of which opened on to a courtyard which had been the site of a residence owned by the Kings of Scotland, known as "Scotland Yard". These headquarters were removed in 1890 to premises on the Victoria Embankment known as "New Scotland Yard." In 1967 further removal took place to a larger and more modern headquarters building at Broadway, S.W.1, which is also known as "New Scotland Yard".

The Commissioner, who heads the Metropolitan Police has traditionally answered directly to the Home Secretary. This dates back to the formation of the Metropolitan Police and reflects its difference from other police forces and its national and international responsibilities. The Metropolitan Police Service performs national functions, such as those in relation to the protection of royalty and countering terrorism in Great Britain. In addition to these two, the MPS has a number of other capital city, and national responsibilities such as the protection of certain members and ex-members of the government and the diplomatic community and assisting with enquiries concerning British interests at home and abroad. These responsibilities make the Metropolitan Police Service unique among UK police forces. The Metropolitan Police Service should not be confused with the City of London Police, which is a separate force responsible for policing The Square Mile in the City of London.


Leading edge technology has been adopted to enhance MPS expertise as national co-ordinators of the police response to terrorism. Inter-agency communication channels continue to be developed in conjunction with the Security Service, the lead authority for counter terrorism intelligence. The Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department has undergone major re-structuring resulting in the amalgamation of Royalty Protection and Royal Palaces on 1 April 1995. The department provides high quality policing to Royal Palaces and other Central London locations with response times usually being measured in seconds rather than minutes.


The Directorate of Intelligence provides unique and specialised services to the MPS, including a number of new responsibilities. The MPS is moving towards becoming a proactive intelligence-led Service. The Technical Support Unit and Surveillance section are recognised as a center of national and international excellence.

The Scientific Intelligence Unit develop behavioural analysis of the more unusual sexual offences and murders. It is the reception point for identifications as a result of DNA testing and plays a major part in efforts to counter all crime. The Drug Related Violence Intelligence Unit targets and develops intelligence on active criminals operating across London and nationally. The unit has established a database of subjects and an image library in liaison with Commonwealth, European and American countries. The Financial Disclosure Unit is pivotal in informing the MPS of suspect and irregular financial dealings. The unit has developed a software package which is becoming accepted as the standard for financial disclosure units throughout the country.

The Directorate of Intelligence has trained 600 officers in targeting, surveillance and covert photography techniques. The "CRIMINT" computer-based intelligence application has been completed and is being delivered to all MPS police stations. A Service-wide interactive computer-based training package has been developed to accompany the application.

The Special Irish Branch was formed in 1883 to combat the threat from the Fenian movement, whose aim was independence in Ireland and who had been responsible for a series of explosions in London. The Special Irish Branch later became known as the Special Branch and extended its work into Royalty protection with Queen Victoria's Jubilee. While the Special Branch is a division of the police force, in practice it coordinates closely with MI5. Special Branch has continued to develop its role as a conduit of information and intelligence for the MPS and Security Service. In 1995, dedicated liaison teams were devolved to each Area in support of MPS priorities.

The MPS is responsible for day to day management of the National Identification Service (NIS) which includes the National Criminal Record Office and National Fingerprint Collection.

SO and TO groups

Specialist Operations

SO1 International and Organised Crime
SO2 Department Support Group
SO3 Scenes of Crime Branch
SO4 National Identification Bureau
SO5 Miscellaneous Forces Index
SO6 Fraud Squad
SO7 Support
SO8 Forensic Science Laboratory
SO9 Flying Squad
SO10 Crime Operations Group
SO11 Criminal Intelligence Branch
SO12 Special Branch
SO13 Anti-Terrorist Branch
SO14 Royalty Protection Branch
SO15 Royal Palaces Division
SO16 Diplomatic Protection Branch
SO17 Palace of Westminster Division
SO18 Police National Computer Bureau
SO19 Force Firearms Unit
SO20 Forensic Medical Examiners Branch

Territorial Operations

TO1 General Department Services and HQ
TO3 Area Support
TO4 Public Carriage Office
TO5 Central Ticket Office
TO6 Central Services
TO7 Divisional Support
TO9 Crime and Divisional Policing Policy Branch
TO10 Courts Division
TO14 Traffic
TO18 Public Order Training
TO20 Public Order
TO25 Central Communications Branch
TO26 Air Support Unit
TO27 Mounted Branch
TO28 Police Dog Section
TO29 Thames Division
TO31 Community Affairs Branch -- Vulnerable Groups
TO32 Community Affairs Branch -- Partnership Branch

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