The Work of the Police in Great Britain 

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The Work of the Police in Great Britain

The essential responsibility of the central government for the preservation of law and order throughout Great Britain is reflected in the police powers granted by Parliament to the Home Secretary in England and Wales and to the Secretary of the State for Scotland in Scotland. These Ministers are concerned in the overall organization of the police service in that it is their function to approve voluntary and, if necessary, initiate compulsory police force mergers. They are also involved in its administration and operation, since they must approve the appointment of chief constables and assistant chief constables; and may require a police authority to retire a chief constable in the interest of efficiency; withhold the government grant paid to police authority if not satisfied that a force is being efficiently maintained; call upon any chief constable to submit a report on the policing of his area; or cause a local enquiry to be held. The Ministers are, in addition, empowered to make regulations as to the government, administration and conditions of service in police forces, and they have certain appellate functions in regard to police discipline.

All regular police forces have a uniform department which deals primarily with the prevention of crime and the protection of life and property, and a criminal investigation department, primarily responsible for the detection of crime and bringing offenders to justice. Most forces have additional departments and branches for dealing with special aspects of police work.

Because the visible presence of a constable is regarded as an important check on crime and disorder, and because a police officer must be immediately accessible to the public if he is to give effective help when it is needed, most members of a police force are officers in uniform – the majority on patrol.

The function of such officers is to be on the look-out for any breach of the law or any incident which requires their attention. In the course of their duties they may have to arrest people committing offences or (in certain cases) suspected of acting in an unlawful way, prevent disturbances or obstruction of the highway, deal with road accidents, give first-aid to sick or injured, escort children or elderly people across busy streets and give assistance or information to any member of the public who asks for help.

In most urban areas, a constable carries out these duties under a system known as "unit beat policing", which provides great flexibility of development and makes full use of modern communication techniques. The system consists in the main of assigning police officers to regular "beats", in which they are encouraged, where practicable, to live (so that they may establish close contacts with the public), and which they patrol-on foot at their own discretion.

Constables in rural districts have the same basic responsibilities as their colleagues in towns and cities, although their day-in-day work is likely to be of a different kind.

Other duties of the uniform branch include: "point duty" at street crossings for controlling the flow of traffic; the marshalling of crowds, the inspection of places of public entertainment; and the investigation of reports of lost property. In courts of law where civilians are not employed as court ushers, constables are responsible for controlling the admission of the public, supervising witnesses, taking charge of any exhibits relevant to the case being heard, ensuring the privacy of the jury " while they are considering their verdict, and keeping prisoners in custody. In England and Wales the police, in addition, decide whether or not to prosecute persons suspected of criminal offences.

Vocabulary Practice

Ex. 1. Read the following. Mind the stress.

'fiction de'tection poli'ticians
'warden de'tective investi'gation
'diplomat fa'miliar qualifi'cations
'guard in'tensive under'go
'sergeant con'temporary  
'circumstances pro'tect  

Ex. 2. Complete the list of derivatives. Use a dictionary if necessary.

Verb noun (agent) noun (concept)
to identicate    
to detect    
to order    
to drive    
to train    
to investigate investigator investigation
to guard    
to maintain    
to keep    
to convict    

Ex. 3. Pair the words in column B with the ones from column A.

B internal A agents
  material   skills
  detective   training
  odd   stories
  professional   regulations
  academic   qualification
  intensive   helmet
  police   authority
  parking   force
  controlling   offences
  national   security
  special   evidence

Ex. 4. Decide which verbs you would use with the noun phrases you have identified in ex. 3.

to identify, to recruit, to handle, to be familiar with, to have, to form, to obey, to gain, to deal with, to call, to be responsible for, to undergo;

Ex. 5. How are the following ideas expressed in the text.

1. protection against law breaking;

2. an expression of an intention to hurt, punish, cause, pain;

3. an official body of men whose duty is to protect people and property, to catch criminals;

4. a policeman whose special job is to find out information that will lead to criminals being caught;

5. the condition in which laws and rules are obeyed by most of the people and the government or the person(s) in charge can keep control;

6. a certain type of clothing which all members of a group wear, esp. in the army or the police;

7. an official who helps to see that certain laws are obeyed;

8. to do what one is asked or ordered to do by someone;

9. the offence of driving faster than the lawful limit;

10. to examine the reason for something, the character of someone;

11. to go at regular times round an area or building to see that there is no trouble, that no one is trying to get in or out unlawfully;

12. to keep safe, esp. by watching for danger;

13. something unpleasant, undesirable that happens unexpectedly or by chance;

14. ownership, with its rights and duties according to the law;

15. means of proving who one is.

Ex. 6. Match English phrases and their Russian equivalents.

1. traffic wardens a) полицейские силы
2. to arrive at the crime scene – b) прибыть на место преступления
3. to secure the crime scene c) оградить (обезопасить) место преступления
4. to be familiar with d) приобретать определенный уровень теоретической подготовки
5. the police force e) носить форму
6. professional skills f) пройти период интенсивной подготовки
7. to keep law and order g) профессиональные навыки
8. to gain a certain level of academic qualification h) быть знакомым с
9. to undergo a period of intensive training i) соблюдать правила парковки
10. to wear uniforms j) уполномоченный по поддержанию порядка на дороге
11. to obey the parking regulations k) обнаруживать преступников
12. to be regularly armed l) поддерживать правопорядок
13. to guard politicians and diplomats m) оказывать помощь при дорожно-транспортных происшествиях
14. to patrol airport n) быть постоянно вооруженным
15. to assist at accidents o) выполнять обязанности дорожно-патрульной службы
16. to deal with lost property p) охранять политических деятелей и дипломатов
17. to perform road traffic duties; q) патрулировать аэропорт
18. to detect criminals r) иметь дело с пропавшим имуществом
19. miscellaneous services s) разнообразные услуги
20. fail to solve the crime t) не раскрытое преступление
21. criminalistics technician u) эксперт-криминалист
22. preliminary v) предварительный
23. providing aid w) оказание помощи

Ex. 7. Give the English equivalents for the following:

a) главные обязанности; набирать штат; выполнять различные функции; опытные компетентные люди; совершенствование управления и практики расследования; в пределах юрисдикции; ограбление банка; хищение; взяточничество; мошенничество против правительства; кража правительственного имущества; вымогательство; борьба против рэкета;

b) самая большая в мире коллекция отпечатков пальцев; разыскиваемый опасный беглец; посредством идентификации отпечатков пальцев; единственное средство опознания потерпевшего; научные экспертизы; специальные агенты с особой подготовкой; раскрыть преступления; осудить обвиняемого; на основе материальных улик; лабораторная экспертиза; доказать невиновность лица; подозревать в совершении преступления;

c) картотека; наиболее ценные версии; обеспечивать постоянную связь; уголовный архив; изучать информацию о преступлениях; главное управление; курсы переподготовки; практические навыки и техника; следственная техника; сбор, идентификация и сохранение вещественных доказательств; тщательная подготовка; огнестрельное оружие; экстремальная ситуация; в опасности;

d) иметь дело с; нарушение федеральных законов; вопросы внутренней безопасности; привести к осуждению; организованная преступность; основанная на страхе, запугивании, взяточничестве и силе; азартные игры, наркотики, проституция, вымогательство; отряды высококвалифицированных агентов; собрать достаточно улик; выстроить сильное обвинение; привлечь к суду; бороться против организованной преступности; местные правоприменительные органы; осуществлять надзор за расследованием; расследование дел о беглецах; обнаружить местонахождение и задержать убежавших из тюрьмы заключенных.

Ex. 8. ick out the types of crimes:

defendant, racketeering, embezzlement, extortion, deserter, victim, fugitive, fraud, prisoner, espionage, employee, theft, robbery, field officer, FBI agent, bribery, conviction, innocence.

Ex. 9. omplete the sentences using the words in the box:

bribery, intimidation, fugitive, identify, convicted, leads, organized crime, responsibilities, fingerprint, robbery, the collection, identification, preservation, to handle.

1. The FBI was created primarily... criminal investigations for the Department of Justice.

2. The fight against... involves a great deal of efforts in the work of the FBI Special Investigation Division.

3. To fight against a threat to the Nation's security is one of the... of the FBI.

4. In a number of crimes some of valuable... in an investigation result from information contained in the files of law enforceent agencies.

5. Many crimes are solved through... identification.

6. The dangerous... was located and arrested on the basis of the information of the witnesses.

7. Laboratory examination proved the innocence of the defendant suspected of having committed...

8. Laboratory examination of the fingerprints found on the murder victim helped... the murderer.

9. The gang leaders were... on the basis of sufficient evidence collected by the FBI Agents together with the officers of the local enforcement agency.

10. Practical skills and techniques are paid great attention to in the course of training and retraining FBI Agents. The courses involve... and... of physical evidence.

11. Organized crime is built on fear,...,... and force.

Ex. 10. Give all possible word combinations:

1. crime (организованная, совершить, расследовать, подозревать, бороться против, раскрыть, доказать);

2. to handle (преступления, уголовные расследования, отпечатки пальцев, информация, внутренняя безопасность);

3. fingerprints (ценные, идентифицировать, обращаться с, сохранить);

4. fugitive (установить местонахождение, задержать, разыскиваемый, опасный, найти, арестовать);

5. evidence (материальные, вещественные, достаточные, обеспечить, идентификация, собрать, сохранение);

6. to fight against (рэкет, организованная преступность, хищение, взяточничество, нарушение законности, азартные игры, мошенничество, вымогательство);

7. investigation (тщательный, иметь дело, уголовное, надлежащее).

Ex. 11. Fill in the missing words in the sentences below. Choose from the following:

abolished coroner inquest loot
alibi custody internment martial law
amnesty damages judicial on parole
bail euthanasia justice statement
clues illicit law-abiding warder
conviction injunction legislation warrant

1. The _____________ of political prisoners is quite common in some countries. Britain tried it unsuccessfully in Northern Ireland to combat the IRA.

2. The government is thinking of introducing ___________ making it compulsory for every citizen to carry an identity card.

3. A person who looks after prisoners is called a prison officer or a ____________.

4. Since there was something very suspicious about the man’s sudden death, the __________ was held at the Town Hall.

5. In Britain, capital punishment in the form of death by hanging was ____________ in 1969.

6. The court issued an ____________ forbidding the newspaper from publishing any more photographs of the Princess of Wales at a private Health Club.

7. The police have issued a ____________ for her arrest.

8. Trial by jury is an important part of the British system of _____________.

9. The new governor issued a general ____________ to all the rebels.

10. After the unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government, the whole country was put under ___________ for a month.

11. His ____________ for the night of murder was that he had been at his girlfriend’s, watching TV.

12. He successfully sued the newspaper for libel and was awarded nearly £50,000 in __________.

13. The judge refused to grant him ___________, as it was feared that he would try to leave the country before his trial came up.

14. Before the police took him away, the thief told his wife where he had hidden the ___________.

15. They were prosecuted for dealing in _____________ substances.

16. The doctor was found guilty of ____________ when he turned off the life-support system of a patient who was terminally ill with cancer.

17. The police took down the man’s ___________, read it back to him, then asked him to sign it.

18. Detectives still haven’t found any ____________ as to the whereabouts of the two missing 13-year-old schoolchildren.

19. The robbers were taken to the police station and held in ____________ until their trial.

20. She couldn’t possibly have done it. She’s the most honest, ____________ citizen I’ve ever met.

21. This was his seventh ____________ for stealing cars.

22. Not all countries have the same political or ____________ systems.

23. He was released ____________ to go to his mother’s funeral.

Ex. 12. Choose the best alternative to complete the following sentences

1. During the twentieth / eighteenth century the English police forces have become well known throughout the world / only in Great Britain.

2. Policemen are to be seen in towns and cities walking in the streets / sitting in the offices.

3. The modern policeman needs ordinary qualification / a great variety of new professional skills.

4. Separate police force is controlled by central government / a committee of local county councillors and magistrates.

5. The Royal Commission on the Police listed eight / ten main functions of the contemporary police force.

6. About a quarter of the police strength of the country is in Scotland Yard / the Metropolitan Police of London.

7. In practice the police don’t help the court much / bring almost all criminal cases to court.

8. Opinion polls show that majority / minority of the public sympathises with the police.


Ex. 1. Complete the following sentences in part A by adding the phrases given in part B.


1. The essential responsibility of the central government for the preservation of law and order in Great Britain is…

2. All regular forces deal with…

3. The duties of the uniform branch in dudes…

4. In courts of law constables are responsible for…

5. The English police force have become well-known...

6. Any regular reader of English detective stories is familiar with...

7. All members of the police must...

8. There are Regional Crimes Squads in England and Wales with...

9. In certain circumstances specially trained police officers can be...

10. The decision to commence criminal proceedings in England and Wales is...

11. The duties of the police are ranging from...

12. The main functions of the contemporary police force are:


a) armed but only with the permission of a magistrate.

b) assisting at accidents to safeguarding public order.

c) experienced detective officers.

d) made entirely by the police.

e) throughout the world from the great mass of fiction about crime.

f) have gained a certain level of academic qualification.

g) the figure of the ordinary policeman sometimes called the “bobby”.

h) to maintain law and order, to prevent crimes, to detect criminals.

i) reflected in the police powers granted by Parliament to the Home Secretary.

j) prevention of crime and the protection of life and property.

k) the marshalling of crowds, the inspection of places of public entertainment and many others.

l) supervising witness, ensuring the privacy of the jury.

Ex. 2. Choose the best way to complete the sentences.

1. The police may arrest a person without a warrant

a) issued by a magistrate

b) according to the local Head of the Police Service

c) not in any case.

2. An arrested person has the a right to consult a solicitor

a) only after he or she has been charged

b) under the permission of the Head of the Police Service

c) it is common practice

3. Is the use of scientific aids widespread in all areas of police work?

a) to investigate the most complicated cases

b) is not exercised at all

c) very often nowadays

4. Any regular reader of English detective stories is familiar with the detectives from

a) Scotland Yard

b) Criminal Investigation Department

c) Regional Crime Squads

5. Each separate police force is headed by

a) Chief Superintendent

b) Chief Constable

c) Chief Inspector

6. The object of the Squads is

a) to patrol airports

b) to perform road traffic duties

c) to provide trained flexible mobile groups of crime investigation.

7. The duties of the police are controlled by

a) central government

b) a committee of local county councillors and magistrates

c) the Crown Court

8. Only a few policemen are regularly armed

a) those who guard politicians and diplomats

b) traffic wardens

c) detectives

9. The main duties of police are listed by

a) the Metropolitan Police of London

b) the Royal Commission on the Police

c) the Home Secretary

Ex. 3. Mark the statements which are true.

1. The founder of the police force is Theodore Roosevelt

2. Britain has its national police force.

3. The police are helped by members of public working voluntarily.

4. The police are not responsible for controlling offences like speeding, careless driving.

5. All police forces are armed.

6. The Metropolitan Police of London is responsible for the whole area of Great Britain.

7. In practice the police bring about 97% of all criminal cases to court.

Ex. 4. Choose someone to act as the Chief Constable and answer the visitors questions.

What is (are) the figure of an ordinary English policeman
What do you mean by a great variety of professional skills
Could you explain to me to keep law and order
Can you tell me about there are a number of ranks
Who is (was) Britain has no national police force uniformed people are traffic wardens the police carry guns the duties of the police are varied the work of the police in practice

Ex. 5. Read the words in the box, make sure you understand them and predict the events.

armed police, to seal off the scene, jewellery; display case, to chase, head injuries; forensic teams.


Ex. 6. Fill in the chart.

Type of crime What happened What are the police doing?

Ex. 7. Speak on the police force in Great Britain.

1. The organization of the police force in Britain:
police officer; founder; to divide into 52 areas; police authority; to be seen in towns; national police force; to work voluntarily;

2. Duties and functions of the police force:

to keep law and order; to cooperate; to give assistance at accidents; to deal with lost property; to safeguard public order; traffic wardens; to obey the parking regulations; speeding; careless driving.

3. Members of the police:

a number of ranks; to carry firearms; to guard politicians; certain circumstances; to gain a certain level of academic qualifications; a period of intensive training.

Ex. 8. Make up stories starting or ending with the following.

1. Once I was arrested on suspicion of burglary...

2. The police had no leads in their hunt for the killer....

3.... The suspect didn’t have an alibi for the time of the crime.

4.... The suspect was released on bail.

Grammar Practice

Subjunctive Mood

Ex. 1. Put the verbs into the correct form.

1. If I (pass) my exam, I'll join your company.

2. If he tried again, I think he (succeed) in passing his driving test.

3. If you (speak) more slowly, he might have understood you.

4. He wouldn't have been arrested if he (not, try) to leave the country.

5. I (take) a taxi if I had realized it was such a long way.

6. If they (ban) the sale of alcohol at football matches, there might be less violence.

7. You not (have) so much trouble with your car if you had it served regularly.

8. He (not, be) in prison now if he hadn’t committed a crime.

Ex. 2. Use the Subjunctive Mood.

1. If someone (offer) you to buy one of these pictures, which one you (choose)?

2. You (get) pneumonia now if you (not, change) your wet clothes yesterday.

3. It's desirable that you (learn) to forgive the shortcomings of other people just as you expect them to overlook yours.

4. It is required that people (observe) certain norms of behaviour in any society.

5. I wish my friends (be) frank with me, and I (be) frank with them.

6. I wish you (understand) that happiness is not just a sum of pleasures.

7. It is time people (realize) that it is no longer possible to settle international disputes by means of war.

8. A radical reconstruction of the economy requires that enterprises (be) self-financing.

9. The diplomats suggested that negotiations on this problem (start) at once.

10. We'll catch the 6 o'clock train so that we (arrive) on time.

11. He looked at them as though he never (see) them before.

12. But for the darkness we (not, lose) our way in the forest.

13. Shall I tell them the news? - I'd rather they (not, know) about it.

14. But for his accent one might (take) him for a Russian.

Ex.3. Express the same idea without "If”.

1. If he should come, ask him to wait for me.

2. If need should arise, I'll communicate with you.

3. If they could come tonight, we should have a good time.

4. If she were here, she would help us.

5. If he had found the right buyer, he would have sold the house.

6. If they had not interfered in their daughter's material problems, there would have been peace between them.

Ex.4. Change the sentences using the Subjunctive Mood.

1. It's a pity you are so busy these days. (wish)

2. It's time for you to understand that you are no longer a child and to think of your future.

3. He behaved ungentlemanlike. (as if)

4. It's advisable for you to consult the doctor before going to the South.

5. It's very unusual for him to have made such a mistake.

6. Nobody can blame you for it.

Ex.5. Translate into English.

1. Если бы вы прислали свою статью вчера, она была бы уже опубликована в газете.

2. Если бы у него было больше свободного времени, он бы уже закончил этот проект.

3. Желательно, чтобы Вы знали не только свои права, но и обязанности.

4. Преподаватель предложил, чтобы студенты обсудили этот вопрос в группе.

5. Как жаль, что я не могу водить машину. Моя жизнь была бы более интересной.

6. Если бы не его помощь, мы не смогли бы добраться сюда вовремя.

7. Как жаль, что я не знал об этом. Я бы постарался все изменить.

Ex. 6 Put the verbs inbrackets into the correct form of the Subjunctive Mood.

1. If I (know) that you were in hospital (visit) you.

2. You (see) my garden at its best if you (be) here last week.

3. Rome (be captured) by its enemies if the geese (not, cackle).

4. If people (stop) committing crimes, the world (change) for better.

5. Why didn't you say that you were short of money? If I (know) it, I (lend) you some.

6. The demonstrators demanded that their wages (increase) in proportion to the rise in prices.

7. It's high time you (start) preparing for your exams.

8. It's important that students (take) interest in public life.

9. I wish they (not, notice) my embarrassment.

10. But for the rain we (can, go) for a walk yesterday evening.

11. But for that accident he (not, put) to prison.

Ex 7 Paraphrase the following using the Subjunctive Mood.

1. It is necessary for the children to sleep in the open air.

2. The doctor strongly recommended the man to keep to the prescribed diet.

3. He insisted on being given a chance to prove his point of view.

4. It's a pity you are so busy these days.

5. What a pity he is leaving us so soon.

6. It's high time for you to get down to business.

7. Her hands were trembling so that it seemed she had not recovered from a great shock.

8. It is advisable for you to consult a doctor before going to the South.

Ex. 8 Read and translate the sentences paying attention to modal verbs and Perfect Infinitive:

1. Mr. Brown can’t have committed a crime. He simply couldn’t do it.

2. The witness testimony could have discovered the identity of the criminal.

3. He cannot have confessed.

4. The officers should have gone to the crime scene once again.

5. The investigator ought not to have interviewed those witnesses in their office.

6. Tracing the fugitive must have been included in this plan of the investigation.

7. The criminal must have already been identified as the perpetrator of the criminal acts.

8. The identity of the criminal may have been discovered by eyewitnesses testimony.

9. The criminal's confession may not have been sufficient to prove his guilt.

10. The investigating officers must have discovered some more additional facts to associate the accused with the crime scene.

11. Competent and credible witnesses can not have been discovered at the beginning of the investigation.

12. This stressful situation may have been avoided, but you must have done something for it.

Ex. 9 Translate the sentences paying attention to various means of expressing negation:

1. Not only has a private person the power to arrest any person who commits any felony in his presence, he also has the duty to arrest him.

2. If a crime is committed in the presence of a person, whether a police officer, or not, he will be guilty of a misdemeanor if he fails to arrest the criminal.

3. The glass was no better than the others but it had fingerprints on it.

4. When the policemen were in the room, an envelope was brought to the owner of the room. No name was written on it, but only the number of his room.

5. No fingerprint by itself is especially valuable, but if it's discovered at the crime scene, it is of great importance.

6. All marks of identification had not been destroyed, the investigation was in progress.

7. The detective did not find the coat from which the button had been torn, neither did he locate the owner of the coat.

8. Robbery, it seemed apparent, could not have the motive. Was it possible that he had committed the crime without having a motive?

9. A glance was sufficient to tell the experienced detectives that a search for evidence would be useless.

10. I don't see how she could register under a false name, unless she came with forged credentials.

11. The police told him not to go anywhere until he was allowed to do it.

Text B. Read and translate the text, get ready to discuss the main points.

The Police Mission

The police mission is maintenance of social order within carefully prescribed ethical and constitutional restrictions. The mission as currently defined involves:

1. The Prevention of Criminality. This activity views the police role in constructive terms and involves taking the police into sectors or the community where criminal tendencies are bred and individuals motivated to indulge in antisocial behaviour, and includes seeking to reduce causes of crime.

2. Repression of Crime. This activity stresses adequate patrol plus a continuing effort toward eliminating or reducing the opportunities for criminal actions.

3. Apprehension of Offenders. This activity views quick apprehension as the means to discourage the would-be offender. The certainty of arrest and prosecution has a deterrent quality which is intended to make crime seem less worthwhile. Additionally, apprehension enables society to punish offenders, lessens the prospect of repetition by causing suspects to be incarcerated, and provides an opportunity for rehabilitation of those convicted.

4. Recovery of Property. This activity seeks to reduce the monetary cost of crime, as well as to restrain those who, though not active criminals, might benefit from the gains of crime.

5. Regulation of Noncriminal Conduct. This aspect of the police mission involves sundry activities that are only incidentally concerned with criminal behaviour, such as the enforcement of traffic and sanitary-code provisions. The main purpose is regulation, and apprehension and punishment of offenders are means of securing compliance. Other methods used to obtain compliance are education (e. g. observance of laws) and the use of warnings, either oral or written, to inform citizens of the violations without taking punitive actions.

6. Performance of Miscellaneous Services. This involves many service activities peripheral to basic police duties and includes, for example, the operation of detention facilities, search and rescue operations, licensing, supervising elections, staffing courts with administrative and security personnel, and even such completely extraneous things as chauffeuring officials.

While these six general responsibilities may be accepted by the police and the community-at-large as the police mission, there is often sharp disagreement on the appropriateness of specific methods and operations used to fulfil them. Various groups may staunchly defend different points of view or values and seemingly or actually work against one another, the resulting conflict may cause the police to fall short in reaching the common objective – superior law enforcement protection for the community.

Points for Discussion:

1. The detective maintains a report on the policing of the area.

2. Most forces have additional departments and branches to deal with special aspects of police work.

3. Constables in rural districts have different functions as their colleagues in towns and cities.

4. In England and Wales the police, in addition, decide to prosecute persons suspected only in civil offences.

Text C. Read the text and make up the plan for the discussion.


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