Police Abbreviations UK: The ULTIMATE Police Jargon Buster!

  • Time to Read: 4 min.

Policing in the UK is carried out by 43 separate police forces, not including the British Transport Police. Each force has its own police abbreviations. They can be confusing at first, but luckily there a lot of these are common across the forces. Check out our police jargon buster now!

If you are new to policing, it can be like listening to a different language. This can be really daunting and is one thing that you do not need to panic about. Here we have done a poll of over 10 forces to compile a list of the most common police abbreviations for you.

This is not an exhaustive list as there are 100’s if not 1000’s of TLAs (Three Letter Abbreviations) used in policing. Hopefully, this Police jargon buster will cover all the main terms that you will need to get through day-to-day policing.

Police Abbreviations / Police Jargon Buster / Police Slang!

See, police abbreviations/police jargon/police slang; three terms for saying the same thing! A way to avoid this is to all use the same terms!

A  C  D  G  H  I  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  V  W  X  Z


Ab LoadAbnormal Load
ABCAcceptable Behaviour Contract
ABHActual Bodily Harm
ACCAssistant Chief Constable
ACPOAssociation of Chief Police Officer
AFOArmed Firearms Officer
AirwavesRadio System
AIUAccident Investigation Unit
ANPRAutomatic Number Plate Recognition 
ARVUArmed Response Vehicle Unit 
ASB Anti-Social Behaviour
ASBOsAnti-Social Behaviour Orders
AWOLAbsent Without Leave (Military Personnel)


BCU Basic Command Unit
BOPBreach of the Peace
BPABlack Police Association
BTBritish Telecommunications
BTPBritish Transport Police
BUABuilt-Up Area
BVPI Best Value Performance Indicator
BVRBest Value Review


C & CCommand and Control
CABCitizens Advice Bureau
CAMHSChild & Adult Mental Health Services
CBCasualty Bureau
CBOCriminal Behaviour Order
CBRNChemical Biological Radiological Nuclear
CCChief Constable
CI/CInspChief Inspector
CIDCriminal Investigation Department 
Claire’s LawFind out if a partner has a violent past
CMHTCommunity Mental Health Teams Compact
COMPACTMissing person system
CPUChild Protection Unit
CSICrime Scene Investigator 
CSupt/Ch SuptChief Superintendent


D & DDrunk & Disorderly 
D/LDriving Licence
DC/DCon/DConstDetective Constable
DCCDeputy Chief Constable
DCIDetective Chief Inspector
DCSDetective Chief Superintendent
DI/DInspDetective Inspector
DIBDivisional Investigation Bureau
DNADeoxyribo-Nucleic Acid
DOBDate of Birth
DPPDirector of Public Prosecutions
DS/DSgtDetective Sergeant
DSUDedicated Source Unit (as per RIPA/CHIS)
DSuptDetective Superintendent
DVLADriver Vehicle Licensing Authority
DVUDomestic Violence Unit


EGTEvidence Gathering Team
ElvisVehicle Recovery System
EMASEast Midlands Ambulance Service
ETAEstimated Time of Arrival


F/S CODEForce/Station Code
FHQForce Headquarters
FIBForce Intelligence Bureau
FIOField Intelligence Officer/Officer
FIOForce Intelligence Officer/Officer
FLOFamily Liaison Officer
FMEForensic Medical Examiner


GBHGrievous Bodily Harm
GMPGreater Manchester Police


H/AHome Address
HATOHighways Agency Traffic Officer
HMICHer Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary
HMPHer Majesty’s Prison
HOHome Office
HRHuman Resources
HRHuman Rights
HSEHealth & Safety Executive


I/PInjured Party
IP Injured Party
IPCCIndependent Police Complaints Commission


No common abbreviations


No common abbreviations


L&DLearning & Development
LIOLocal Intelligence Officer/Officer
LPULocal Policing


MAGSMagistrates Court
MAPPAMulti-Agency Public Protection Arrangements
MISPERMissing Person
MODMinistry of Defence
MPSMetropolitan Police Service


N/TNo Trace
NAINon Accidental Injury
NCALTNational Centre for Applied Learning Techniques
NCRSNational Crime Recording Standard
NDMNational Decision Making (Model)
NFANo Fixed Abode
NFANo Further Action
NFPANo Further Police Action
NHWANeighbourhood Watch Association
NIBNational Identification Bureau
NIMNational Intelligence Model
NIRSNational Incident Recording Standard


OICOfficer in Charge/Command
O’SARAProblem-solving model used by Neighbourhood Policing 
OSTOfficer Safety Training aka PST


P/StaffPolice Staff
PACEPolice and Criminal Evidence Act
PATPro-Active Team
PCPolice Constable
PCSOPolice Community Support Officer
PDFPersonal Descriptive Form
PDPPotentially Dangerous Person
PDRPersonal Development Record/Review
PNBPocket Note Book
PNCPolice National Computer
PNCIDPolice National Computer Identification Number
POLACPolice Accident aka PVA
PRECONSPrevious Convictions
PS/PSgtPolice Sergeant
PSDProfessional standards department
PSHPerson Susceptible to harm
PSTPersonal Saftey Training aka OST
PSUPolice Support Unit
PSVPolice Support Volunteer
PVAPolice Vehicle Accident aka  POLAC
PYOPersistent Young Offender


No common abbreviations


RTCRoad Traffic Collision
RTIRoad Traffic Incident


S/InspSpecial Inspector
S/SgtSpecial Sergeant
Sarah’s Law Child Sex offender Disclosure Scheme
SARCSexual Assault Referral Centre
SBSpecial Branch
SCSpecial Constable
SIOSenior Investigating Officer
SNTSafer Neighbourhood Team
SNUSurname Unknown
SOCOScenes of Crime Officer (This is being replaced by SSO)
SOLOSexual Offences Liaison Officer (see SOIT)
SPOCSingle Point of Contact
SUDISudden Unexplained Death of an Infant
SWOTThe model used in assessing options to address situations resolve problems
SYPSouth Yorkshire Police


T/DCTrainee Detective Constable
TATactical Advisor
TACTTerrorism Act
TFMVTheft from Motor Vehicle
TICTaken Into Consideration (In respect of sentencing)
TWOCTaking Without Consent (Concerning motor vehicles)


U or U/KUnknown
UNISONProfessional Body representing Police Staff
URNUnique Reference Number
USIUnlawful Sexual Intercourse


VELVehicle Excise Licence
VINVehicle Identification Number (PNC Facility)
VISORViolent Sex Offenders Register
VRMVehicle Registration Mark




No common abbreviations


No common abbreviations


No common abbreviations

Printable Version of your Police Abbreviations!

If you are a student officer and want to look like you know what you are talking about from day one – why not print off a copy of these police abbreviations. If you train student officers, why not print off this jargon buster and put it on your classroom wall! 

Wow! That was a lot of abbreviations. As in all organisations, communication is key. It’s important that everybody is using the same terms.

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