London Metropolitan Police Force | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Policing


The London Metropolitan Police Force, also known as the Met Police or simply the Met, is a police force established in 1829 to serve the greater London area.

Imagine you’re setting up a new game. You’d want clear rules, and you’d want someone to ensure everyone sticks to them. In the same way, the Met Police was established to ensure people followed the laws within London. The Met Police, oldest and largest police force in the United Kingdom and one of the oldest worldwide, is responsible for keeping London’s residents safe and enforcing its laws.

A Significant Shift in Policing History

Before the Met Police was established, law enforcement looked quite different. It depended on watchmen and constables chosen by local authorities, much like a neighborhood watch today. But this system had its flaws. This led to the formation of the Met Police in 1829, marking a significant change in how public safety was managed.

Creating this professional police force aimed to enhance safety, reduce crime, and earn public trust. It was a bit like hiring a team of referees for a big sports game. The aim was to keep the game fair and safe and make sure the players trust the referees.

Policing Innovations under Sir Robert Peel

The Met Police introduced several new ideas under its first Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel. Think of him as the team coach, coming up with strategies to make the team work better.

One innovation was the use of uniforms. These made police officers easy to identify, just like sports jerseys make players identifiable. They also established a central headquarters, acting as a coordination center for policing efforts. It was like a game control center, keeping track of what was happening and directing players.

Additionally, they established a strict code of conduct, setting clear expectations for professional behavior. This ensured police officers acted like referees in a game, maintaining fairness and upholding standards.

Pioneering New Technologies and Techniques

Just as players learn new skills and use new equipment to improve their game, the Met Police adopted new technologies and methods. These included fingerprinting, a technique for identifying individuals, and the use of telegraphy and later radio communication for better coordination and faster response times.

These innovations were like adopting new playing strategies and using walkie-talkies to coordinate better during a game. They helped the Met Police become more effective in maintaining safety and upholding laws.


The London Metropolitan Police Force has been an essential player in the history of policing. It marked a significant shift from the previous system and introduced several innovations that changed policing worldwide. Today, it continues to play a crucial role in maintaining public safety and enforcing laws in London.

By understanding the Met Police’s role and history, we can better appreciate the evolution of policing systems and their impact on public safety.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 03/10/2023

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