Police Vocabulary: What Cops are Hiding From You
Police vocabulary is definitely not the first thing every English learner will pay attention to at the beginning of their language learning journey. However, those A-students who hanker after new words to achieve English proficiency will take time to memorize terms and slang from the police terminology list, especially if they are keen on detective films and tv shows. Plus, knowing some police vocabulary can save your life or help to report a crime at the end of the day. So, we strongly advise you to get deeper into the law enforcement vocabulary for your own good.
Police Terminology List: Types Of Crimes And Criminals
English is full of law enforcement terms such as types of crimes and criminals. Most learners are familiar with basic terminology but aren't able to specify a theft or properly define a person who committed the crime. Therefore, calling them criminals doesn't correlate with advanced English skills. So, suppose you want to watch TV shows about police and investigations catching every nuance of the police terms and definitions related to types of crimes and criminals. In that case, you will definitely benefit from the police terminology list below.
Definition: taking someone away against their will by force
Example: Two guys were charged with the abduction of a woman in Brazil.
Definition: intentionally setting fire to damage or destroy a property such as a car or building
Example: Jeremy committed arson because he needed insurance money to cover his debt.
Definition: killing someone important or popular
Example: A couple of days ago, someone broke into the house of a famous actor and tried to hurt him. Police called it an assassination attempt.
Definition: a physical or verbal attack with the intention of harming someone
Example: Carry was fired for trying to assault the company's recruiter.
Definition: being married to more than one person at a time in countries where it is illegal
Example: After five years together and two kids, it turned out Tom was a bigamist.
Definition: demanding money or another benefit, usually by sending letters, emails, messages, or giving calls from someone by threatening to expose their secret
Example: Don't even try to blackmail me, you have no idea who you are dealing with.
Definition: an attack on the area or a group of people using explosives
Example: A woman survived after bombing an occupied city.
Definition: giving money or other goods to make someone influential, usually from the government, act in your interests
Example: Is giving doctors money for taking extra care of you bribery?
Definition: breaking into the property with the intention of stealing something
Example: That fancy house from the Home Alone movie was a cherry on the top for two burglars.
Сriminal: Child abuser
Definition: violent actions against a child
Example: Child abusers should be sentenced for life.
Definition: when someone in a position of power acts in their interests to take money or other goods to benefit someone else
Example: The corruption level has gone higher for the past few decades.
Definition: conducting a crime over the Internet, social media platforms, or computer systems
Example: Cybercrime requires some good technical skills.
Definition: acting violently or aggressively emotionally or physically within the home against your partner or other family members
Example: There is no acquire for domestic violence, stop victim blaming!
Сriminal: Drunk driver
Definition: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Example: Jeremy got arrested for drunk driving after Chloe's birthday party.
Definition: stealing the money that someone is responsible for, usually from organizations, businesses, or people a person works for
Example: Never give an accountant full access to your bank accounts. Some people can't resist temptation and become embezzlers.
Definition: secretly obtaining and reporting some information, especially military, political, or business, to be used in someone's interests
Example: A big American company accused a local Texas agency of espionage.
Definition: copying someone's signature or stamp, creating a fake document, banknote, or a replica of a valuable object to pass it off as an original
Example: I won't sign this document instead of you, it's a forgery.
Definition: obtaining someone's money in an unfair and illegal way
Example: I advise you not to trust Toby because he is a real fraud.
Definition: killing a lot of people because they belong to a particular nation or ethnic group
Example: Holocaust is a proven genocide of the Jews.
Definition: taking control over the aircraft or vehicle by force to demand something or make a statement
Example: The terrorists hijacked the airplane before causing it into the building.
Hit and run
Definition: a road accident when a driver hits someone, doesn't stop, and drives away without helping a victim and calling for emergency services
Example: There is a traffic jam because of the hit and run earlier this morning.
Definition: a disruptive and violent behavior of young people on streets
Example: Every time some football team loses a match, fans turn into hooligans.
Definition: carrying a child or an adult by force to demand money for their return
Example: The kidnapper was wearing a blue denim jacket, black pants, and a big yellow hat.
Definition: stealing goods during a war or riot
Definition: killing someone unintentionally
Example: He doesn't admit the murder but agrees it was manslaughter.
Definition: a street robbery when the criminal attack the victim and threatens to hurt them if they don't give what they want (money, jewelry, gadgets, etc.)
Example: People say that mugging in New York happens all the time.
Definition: killing someone intentionally
Example: The man was charged with murder.
Definition: lying in court after giving the oath to tell only the truth
Example: The defender encouraged the witness to commit perjury to save his client.
Definition: stealing goods from someone's pocket unnoticeably
Example: You should be very cautious in grounded places in Rome because of pickpocketing.
Definition: stealing goods of a small value for fun or adrenalin
Example: The maid was caught pilfering valuable things from the house she has been working in for the past four years.
Definition: sexual assault of any form against a person's will
Example: Many women won't go to the police to file about the rape just because they feel guilty.
Definition: causing public disturbances with violent and noisy actions
Example: The Prisoners seriously hurt a guardian during the last riot.
Definition: stealing a lot of money from a bank, store, or another property using force, threats, and weapons
Example: After John successfully prevented a bank robbery, he decided to become a rookie cop in his 50s.
Definition: stealing something small from a store
Example: A salesperson accused a little girl of shoplifting because she looked suspicious.
Definition: transporting things through the border illegally
Example: Three housewives barely made it to smuggle fake cash through the American-Canadian border.
Definition: driving over the speed limit
Example: She got a ticket for speeding, but it turned out that she wasn't driving the car that day.
Definition: intentionally watching and following someone for some time, bothering them with unsolicited attention
Example: The main character from the Netflix show You definitely has a passion for stalking.
Definition: threats to do something harmful or dangerous acts against a significant number of civilians to influence the government
Example: The world should unite against terrorism.
Definition: a general term for stealing
Example: Two teenagers have admitted theft while their peers deny all the accusations.
Definition: being and selling goods or people illegally
Example: Young single women are typical victims of human trafficking.
Definition: stepping on someone's land or inside the property without permission from the owners
Example: In Texas, people have the right to use force to terminate trespassing on their private property.
Definition: intentional destruction and damaging people's property
Example: Two students were arrested for vandalism after destroying the university garden.
Definition: secretly watching someone naked or having sex
Example: The woman called 911 after detecting her neighbor practicing voyeurism.
Police Vocabulary: Slang, Jargon, And Acronyms
It might seem surreal, but police officers do use official codes and acronyms as well as unofficial slang and jargon for better internal communication. Film writers didn't think all of those police phrases up just for fun. Instead, they serve to pass information clearer and mistake-free. Most of the police vocabulary is difficult to follow because, except for the police, nobody uses it. However, knowing police terminology can help you orientate in critical situations and understand movies about cops much better. Let's learn some police slang, jargon, and acronyms that officers tap into to remain their conversations discreet.
This is a snag term for a portable radio police use to send and receive information. It was named like so because of the journalist reporting on the new invention during the war.
Berries and Cherries
That is how police call the blue and red lights on patrol cars. Because of the light's colors and rounded shape, it reminds them of those fruits.
Hookem and Bookem
This one decodes as handcuffing and booking someone into the system. Simply put, that's a police term for getting someone from the streets and putting them behind bars.
To communicate effectively but briefly, police officers use a unique digital code for passing information through their radio. The most well-known among civilians is the ten-codes system. Basically, the ten plus another number has a particular meaning. For instance, 10-4 stands for «ok» or «message received.»
Taking a code 7
Some police codes don't refer to crimes, emergencies, or direct work situations. Cops also have codes to let others know about their personal needs, such as going to the bathroom or taking a lunch break. For example, taking code 7 refers to the last one.
This is how police officers call a drunk driver to keep it short. It comes from California, where the government added to Vehicle Code section 23102 about the drunk driving violation, known as a "deuce.»
A house mouse
Police officers are brave and can cope with danger better than others. However, it doesn't mean everyone loves to go to the streets to deal with criminals daily. Some of them stay at the police station and work with papers. For such colleagues, cops coined the term "house mouse." It means the police officer who doesn't go out on patrol.
This police acronym decodes as "Forget It, Drive On.» Cops use it when they decide something is not worth their attention or assistance, and there is no need to stop the car.
This verb comes from the term Miranda Rights, which stands for the Constitutional rights that a person has while being under arrest. The officer must read an arrestee their right to Mirandize them.
A Sam Browne
That's another way of naming an officer's belt. Cops call it that in honor of its inventor General Sam Browne. After losing his left arm, which made it difficult for him to draw his sword, the man came up with the idea of wearing a second belt over his right shoulder.
If cops call for the bus, they mean an ambulance. The slang term comes from New York City. Decades ago, the first batch of ambulances was bought from the same vendor that sold NYC their school buses. So, police officers started to refer to them as buses. If a cop wants to emphasize that they need an ambulance fast, they will say, "put a rush on the bus."
It decodes as a Personally Owned Vehicle, the opposite of a patrol car.
That is an idiom that means a police helicopter. It got its name because of the 1993 song "Ghetto Bird" by Ice Cube. In lyrics, the artist refers to a helicopter as a bird that flies over the ghetto in search of a crime.
The term comes from rap music and means a stolen vehicle.
How To Learn Police Terminology With Promova
Becoming a professional user of police terminology requires special training in a police academy and some practice in implementing law enforcement words into use at work. However, if you aim to learn police vocabulary just to expand your English glossary, you won't need any of that. The language learning platform Promova can help you to level up your knowledge of the police vocabulary words.
The Promova app offers to memorize all the basic types of crimes against property and people, as well as money crimes, useful verbs in the legal world, and idioms related to crime using the spaced-repetition method. Our bite-sized lessons are built, so you don't need to dedicate much time to learning new lexicon. Instead, you can pick a lesson according to your level and memorize the words just in 5-10 minutes of playing with our cute flashcards. A big plus is that you can learn all that English law enforcement terminology through English. Such an approach will increase your chances of learning quicker as you are fully immersed in the target language.
As a one-stop tool for English learning, Promova also encourages you to learn and practice cop terminology with the help of professional English teachers. We created a tutoring program that meets all English learners' needs. We offer individual and group classes according to the level, target skill, preferred variation of English, and availability. You can take our placement test to determine your proficiency level in English and get a personalized learning plan that considers your interests, goals, strengths, and weaknesses.
And as a cherry on top, the Promova authors regularly update the blog to give you even more educational content to grasp. And since you are into police vocabulary, you could also learn some scammer phrases to spot a crook and slang for money.
Knowing police vocabulary will benefit your English in everyday life, even if you have nothing to do with police in terms of work:
- You will finally dare to watch criminal and detective tv shows in English without subtitles. We know that watching English content where the characters constantly tap into specialized terms might be intimidating and unmotivating. But once you memorize police terms and definitions the movies and series about cops or the FBI will feel like fun again.
- Police terminology will help you fully participate in hot-topic discussions. Media always keep people informed about the crimes committed and significant trials like the one with Amber Heard and Johnny Depp.
- Most importantly, you will be able to get the gist of the criminal situation near you and act in the best way possible and blow the whistle to catch someone red-handed.
What are slang words for police?
Calling a police officer simply officer, policeman, or policewoman is pretty formal. And having face-to-face communication with a defender of the law is the only correct way of addressing them. Nonetheless, in movies and day-to-day life, you will rarely hear someone referring to a police representative in such a way. Most likely, people will use some slang synonyms. In the UK, slang words for police are plod, peeler, and fuzz. The US police are called cop, bobby, copper, bogey, the boys in blue, bear, barney, and bull. There are some other slang words for law enforcement personnel. Detectives are dicks, FBI agents are federals, the feds or G-men.
What is the police alphabet code?
The phonetic police code is a system of words and names that directly correlates to letters. As an English learner with some experience, you know that spelling and pronunciation in English differ a lot. That is why the US police developed a phonetic alphabet to clarify communication with dispatchers through radio, even if the radio traffic is fuzzy. It may take a little mortise to pass the information, but it also eliminates the need to repeat messages because the dispatcher received it correctly from the first attempt. The alphabet published by the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, in 1956 has been used in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The police alphabet consists of the following:
- A is Adam
- B is Boy
- C is Charlie
- D is David
- E is Edward
- F is Frank
- G is George
- H is Henry
- I is Ida
- J is John
- K is King
- L is Lincoln
- M is Mary
- N is Nora
- O is Ocean
- P is Paul
- Q is Queen
- R is Robert
- S is Sam
- T is Tom
- U is Union
- V is Victor
- W is William
- X is X-Ray
- Y is Young
- Z is Zebra
What is a digit police code?
A digit police code is a numerical code for transmitting information through the police radio systems used by law enforcement personnel. Such codes correspond to specific situations, crimes, and states on duty. Police officers usually pronounce every code digit-by-digit to make their message clear to the receiver. Signals, incident codes, response codes, or other status codes vary by state, county, and agency. So, police officers always have to refresh their knowledge when changing their place of work. In general, it is more tactically advantageous and safe to use police code than explain what is going on with "plain language" so anyone could understand the police and act at a disadvantage. Nonetheless, all codes can be found publicly available on the Internet. That's how we know that, for instance, 10-54 corresponds to a hit-and-run accident, and 11-99 means that an officer needs help.
What do police say in arrests?
If you are a fan of American movies and tv shows about police, detectives, and the FBI, you must have heard what the law enforcement personnel says to a suspect during the arrest. Usually, the US law representative informs a person why they are being arrested and reads their Miranda Rights.
The Miranda Warning says: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?"
If the police officer forgets to read the Miranda Rights, the suspect will be released from the guard because the arrest was improper.