They use a lot of formal acronyms – and there’s a few that are a bit less PC
Credit to the Plymouth Herald for this fab compilation!
Police love acronyms.
They learn them by heart, pick them up from older coppers, accept them from senior officers and if you ever listened to a Police radio when you could still pick it up on your old transistor – you may have even heard a few.
Of course, we can’t listen to Police radios anymore because the airwave system is uncrackable. However, the acronyms remain and we can sometimes hear them used on TV cop shows which try to be authentic-sounding.
The vast majority of them are merely a shorthand way of explaining important information, roles, incidents or titles.
But occasionally, like a lot of organisations who deal with the public, they create special codewords which are, shall we say, less PC than a PC…
Here’s our guide to Police slang. You’ll find the official terms at the top – and a few unofficial phrases at the end of the article.
The Official Terms:
LOS – Lost or Stolen (“The car’s LOS, Sarge…”)
CRO – Criminal Records Office or Criminal Record (“Sarge, he’s got a CRO)
PNC – Police National Computer
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RTC – Road Traffic Collision, which used to be RTA (Road Traffic Accident) until, as any Hot Fuzz film fan knows, vocab guidelines state Police no longer refer to such incidents as ‘accidents’, they’re now collisions. Because ‘accident’ implies there’s nobody to blame.
Misper – a Missing Person (“Sarge, is Lord Lucan still a misper?”)
TWOC – Taking Without Owner’s Consent (“Ere, bey, have you been done for twokking cars again?”)
PSU – Police Support Unit is a team of officers trained in public order and are used in major incidents, support other officers and bashing in doors with the Big Red Key (see later). In Devon and Cornwall they are now called the FSG – Force Support Group.
FLO – Family Liaison Officer. These are officers who work closely with victims of serious crimes, such as the family of murder victims, or tragic deaths such as fatal road collisions.
TK – Telephone Kiosk. One officer admitted that in their early days on the job they were told to attend an incident at a “TK at Royal Parade”. They spent several minutes interviewing staff at TK Maxx before being told over the radio they were in the wrong place.
PS – Personal Radio
CHIS – Covert Human Intelligence Source. Alternatively known in court as “an informant”. Known in common parlance as a “grass” or “snitch” who may eventually come to a violent end. Hence the phrase “snitches get stitches”.
POLAC – Police Accident. Usually a road accident involving a Police vehicle. This will inevitably lead to the aforementioned driver having to purchase a large quantity of cakes for his laughing colleagues back at the station. (“Sorry Sarge, I think I may have reversed the riot van into your new Audi”)
“Sarge, I’ve put a slight dent in the bumper…”
OIC – Officer In Case (“Right, Constable Crap-driver, you’re now the OIC on this abducted-by-alien complaint”)
SIO – Senior Investigating Officer
POLSA – Police Search Advisor – a specially-trained officer who advises on the best approach to carry out searches in Misper cases or suspected murders where bodies are yet to be found.
Code 11 – Off duty (“Sorry Sarge, I can’t attend that alien abduction, I’m Code 11 as of 10 minutes ago”)
ASNT – Area Search No Trace. When Police have searched area for a suspect but there’s no trace of them.
DL – Driving Licence (“Sarge, got a little green man here with what looks like a dodgy DL”)
Code 4 – a meal break. (“Can someone else go to that Sarge, I’m Code 4?”)
RJ – Restorative Justice. (“Well Sarge, could he at least repaint the fence he’s drawn a k**b on? The victim is okay with some RJ”)
FIM/CIM – Force/Critical Incident Manager. Invariably an Inspector rank officer who oversees all the live “critical” incidents going on in the area and makes the decisions which ensure these situations don’t get any worse.
NFP – Normal For Plymouth (“Sarge, we found the naked bloke wearing a tutu, off his head on mushrooms and mumbling something about ‘Green Army’.” “Yes lad, that’s NFP”.)
NFA – No Further Action. When Police either cannot get the evidence to convince the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) to go for a charge, the case is dropped and the person is told there will be NFA
RUI – Released Under Investigation. Since bail has been hurled out the door by the Government, people are told they are not on bail, but they are RUI and can be arrested at any moment as inquiries continue. This has been sold to the public by the Government as a good thing. No-one in the Police thinks it is a good thing.
NPAS – National Police Air Service. As part of a cost-cutting exercise Police helicopters were taken out of Police force’s control and a single body was created to cover the country.
FPN – Fixed Penalty Notice. Effectively a fine handed to you by Police.
AIO – All In Order (“Sarge, I’ve check the house where the Demis Roussos was being played louder than a jet engine. It’s AIO”)
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WOA – Words Of Advice (“Sarge, we pulled the driver over who had a cow in the back seat of his Land Rover and, as it’s NFP we’ve given him WOA”)
UNIFI – Unified Police Intelligence. The Police’s crime, intelligence and custody computer database. It sends officers mad trying to get it to work. Imagine Windows 89 but on its last legs.
NOIP – Notice of Intended Prosecution. Effectively a note which tells you your future may well involve a court visit.
SOCA – Serious and Organised Crime. As opposed to Jocular and Erratic Crime. This is the environment where you encounter men called Dave with broken noses and leather jackets who keep money in large rolls, run a scrap metal merchants and can get you a shooter to go with a kilo of coke.
SOCIT – Serious and Organised Crime Investigation Team. Where Detectives go when they want to be their childhood heroes, Bodie and Doyle.
SOCO – Scene of Crime Officer (“Sarge, can you get CIS down here for forensics?” “No Constable Savage, this isn’t CSI Miami – in Plymouth we call them SOCOs”)
SODAIT – Sexual Offences and Domestic Abuse Investigation Team.
SOPO – Sex Offenders Prevention Order. An order by the court which attempts to keep sex offenders from committing sex offences. Considered by many Plymouth people to be less effective than a cigar cutter.
SOR – Sex Offenders Register. You can end up on this list from doing everything from patting a person of the opposite sex on the bottom against their wishes to the serial rape of children.
ASBO – Antisocial Behaviour Order. Considered by some to be a badge of honour, although not an ideal addition to your CV.
ABE – Achieving Best Evidence. Where victims of serious sexual assaults are video interviewed for their very first statement, which can then be used in court.
BCU – Basic Command Unit is the largest unit into which territorial British Police forces are divided. Plymouth is populated enough to be an entire BCU. Remarkably, the entire county of Cornwall is just one BCU. In the same way that it’s one sandwich short of a picnic.
D&D – Drunk and Disorderly, not Dungeons and Dragons.
Section 165 – No insurance seizure. Where a vehicle is seized by Police and may well be crushed because the driver had not insurance.
Section 59 – Antisocial behaviour order vehicle seizure. Where the owner has previously been formerly warned for their antisocial driving and yet has continued to drive like a prat, and thus lose their vehicle.
PSU – Public order Support Unit. Usually a Police van/people carrier which everyone outside of the Police force call a “riot van”. Usually has a pack of Haribo in between the two front seats.
MOE – Method of Entry. (“Sarge, we’re going to use the chainsaw through the front door as our MOE”.)
“Yes love, I have an enormous chopper.”
AP – Aggrieved Person. The injured party. The victim.
ARV – Armed Response Vehicle. A vehicle with armed response officers (and their guns). Often heavily ladened with “Gucci gear” (Police-style equipment which is not standard issue gear and is instead purchased by ARV officers from numerous US-type websites because it looks cool/imposing/flash/intimidating)
Big Red Key – battering ram for smashing down doors. It’s big. It’s red. It opens doors.
OT – Overtime (“Sarge, will I be getting any OT for this?”)
Hooly Bar – a large iron bar with a large spike at the end. Can be used for smashing windows and distracting occupants while another officer uses the Big Red Key to gain entry or as a ‘jemmy’ to break open a door.
Refs – Food. (“Sarge, I’ve been on scene guard for six hours. Any chance of some Refs”)
Spray – Captor canister incapacitant. AKA pepper spray.
Stabby – A protective vest worn by officers in the hope it will minimise the risk of being stabbed.
Lid – A Police hat. Because you can’t just call a hat, a ‘hat’.
Of course, occasionally, unexpected phrases can also turn up in the most unlikely of places:
For many years Charles Cross Police station went under the code “EC” while Crownhill had the code EL which stems from the old alpha area codes with Plymouth being the E division and the next letter being the first or last letter of the station.
However, a few years back it was decided to change all the codes, such as the Criminal Investigation Department which went by the well-known name CID. That became the Local Investigation Team – a LIT. And thus Charles Cross unexpectedly enjoyed having its very own CLIT.
Female detectives at that department remarked that on the first day of the changeover, none of the male officers turned up for work in the office… because they couldn’t find it.
Some fun stuff:
While the official list of acronyms runs to an entire booklet with more than 300 terms, there are some acronyms and policing phrases which have eased their way into common Police parlance and very few of them are half as polite or politically correct. However, we must keep in mind, policing can be a dark job on occasions and dark humour grows in such places.
FUBAR BUNDY – F***** Up Beyond Any Recovery But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet. (“Sarge, that scrote who’s been battering old ladies and mugging them has come off his stolen scooter. He’s FUBAR BUNDY.”)
Code Brown – A close shave. (“Sarge, Sarge, that concrete block thrown from the multi-story just missed my head. I’m proper Code Brown here Sarge!”)
Jeremy Kyle referral – A person of the like one would expect to appear on a popular daytime TV show where various wastrels, ne’er do wells and vagabonds are given DNA checks but not dental treatment.
GTP – Good To Police. A sympathetic or welcoming shop/café/organisation/resident. Such as a resident who offers a cup of tea to officers who are on scene guard in the pouring rain.
Furry Exocet – a Police Dog (see also, Land Shark and Hairy Exocet)
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ATNS – like ASNT, but it’s where the likelihood of anyone being around is less than zero, so Area Traced, No Search.
Gidgy – A deployment considered by officers to be a “piece of p***”. A job where there is the pretence of working, but being able to do so without to actually do anything. A bit like SPLB duty – Shuffle Paper, Look Busy.
BINGO seat – Bollocks I’m Not Getting Out seat. The back seat in the PSU carrier.
BONGO – Books On, Never Goes Out. A lazy cop.
LOB – Load of Bollocks. Often used when describing a false or grossly exaggerated call from a MOP – Member of Public. (“Sarge, you were asking about that kidnap, serial killer, alien invasion job… it’s a LOB, close the log.”)
GDP or WDP – Greater Dorset Police or West Dorset Police. A term used to describe Devon and Cornwall Police since so many of its departments have now been taken over by Dorset Police. A term often used by other neighbouring forces when they wish to chide, josh or ridicule Devon and Cornwall Police officers.
A Unit – A person who is considered quite muscular and may cause officers a little bit of trouble.
A Big Unit – A big person, who will definitely cause officers a bit of trouble if he chooses to.
FBU – F****** Big Unit. An awfully big person. (“Sarge, can we have a few more officers please. This bloke you’ve told us to arrest said he won’t come out of the pub and he’s an FBU”)
DODI – Dead One Did It. Used in reference to single vehicle fatal RTCs where there is only one occupant of the vehicle in question.
DILLIGAF – Do I Look Like I Give A F***? A response offered when a MOP indignantly asks for the officer’s name. (“Certainly Sir, I’m Sgt Dilligaf, now would you please blow into this bag. No, this one, not that second one you can see…”)
FLUB – F***ing Lazy Useless B***ard. A term used out of earshot for a very disagreeable and inept officer, who is also possibly corrupt.
NFI – No F***ing Interest (“Sarge, I’ve spoken to the neighbours about it and they’ve NFI”)
PLONK – Person of Little Or No Knowledge. (“Sarge, we’ve spoken to the AP, they’re a PLONK)
RAT- Really Adept at Traffic Law (“Sarge, I’ve got a RAT here who’s convinced driving at 60mph in a 30mph is a Human Right”.)
The final synonym offered from an anonymous source was: “When asked for directions, you point at the hat and cap badge and advise them “It says E II R, not A to Z”.
There’s probably hundreds of others, both legitimate and illegitimate. Comment below to tell us any you’ve heard.