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What is Scotland Yard?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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Scotland Yard is the headquarters of London's Metropolitan Police, responsible for safety, crime investigation, and emergency response. The name refers to the building in which the police station is headquartered, which was originally on Great Scotland Yard before moving to Broadway Street in 1967. The name stuck after the move, and it has become a symbol for police work and British law enforcement in general.

The Metropolitan Police was formed in 1829 when Sir Robert Peel, along with others, was concerned about public safety in the rapidly growing city of London, and felt that a police force was needed to protect the citizens. Investigative committees in the House of Lords agreed, and the Metropolitan Police was established. It was responsible for coordinating all the law enforcement in London, while reforming and improving policing conditions.

The expanding Metropolitan Police were given new headquarters at Great Scotland Yard in 1875, and while the public entered through Whitehall, one of the cross streets, there was also a small public entrance on the main street. The Criminal Investigations Branch, along with others, was housed there. It became a central location for most administrative offices in the Metropolitan Police force, although branch stations had administrative staff as well.

Scotland Yard has given nomenclature to a number of common terms, including "Black Maria" for police van, which became popular in 1858. A number of crime techniques including fingerprinting also got their start at there, which often pioneers law enforcement technology. Some of the first female police patrols originated in Scotland Yard, which employed women earlier than many other metropolitan police forces.

The Metropolitan Police has a greater depth of responsibility than the police forces it oversees and is active in international crime detection as well as in London. Scotland Yard protects the Royal Family of England, and the commissioner reports directly to the home secretary. It also works closely with British intelligence organizations to exchange information and personnel.

Scotland Yard employees have investigated some of the most famous crime characters in history, including Jack the Ripper, Dr. Crippen, and the Kray Gang. The organization is often looked to by other metropolitan police forces around the world as a model for organization and crime solving, with the highly centralized headquarters overseeing regional police stations. To many people, the Metropolitan Police Force has a well-earned reputation for efficient, compassionate, effective service throughout London.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a CulturalWorld.org researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By ellafarris — On May 23, 2011

@anon5352 (JR Musselman) - You should contact the Metropolitan Police Station that is the closest to the address of the person in question.

There is loads of information by the Fraud Squad on their website that should be very useful to you. It’s very easy to use and covers a wide range of fraudulent crimes and how to handle them.

If you’ve been the victim of a crime in excess of 75,000 pounds or a 419 fraud then you should call the local switchboard and ask to be put through to the Fraud Squad.

If the crime is less than 75,000 pounds then you can go directly to the nearest London Metropolitan Police Service station that corresponds to the phone number you received.

By anon5352 — On Nov 21, 2007

How may i learn the if a person / office and / or title is accurate or fraud?

If it is fraud who do i contact the proper authority?

J. R. Musselman

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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