A glossary? For a blog?

Well yeah, actually. The police love abbreviations, and I occasionally find myself telling my wife stories where she stops me and tells me that I haven’t actually said a full word for several sentences. It’s easy to forget; I am with my colleagues for up to 12 hours a day (sometimes longer), and we drop into our own patter. We have bodies, and mispers, and PRs, and WIVs, and… Well, let’s just say that I’ll try to keep track of them all on this page.

Don’t worry, you’ll soon speak Metropolitan Police like the best of us.


AFO – Authorised Firearms Officer – the guys with the loud weapons.

ARV – Armed Response Vehicle. A car full of AFO’s. See Firearms Unit on Wikipedia


CAD – Computer Aided Dispatch – This is a computer system that deals with all calls we deal with: Anything said on the radio, by members of the public, or by other police staff (CCTV etc) is tracked in a CAD; this means that if we need to refer back to it later, we can simply give a CAD operator a reference number, and they can tell us when a call came in, what was said, and other details about the call.

CAD Operator – The people who man the CAD.


Fxxx – In police reports etc, we’d write someone’s height as F followed by three numbers. The first number is feet, the other numbers are inches. If someone is 5 ft 9 inches, you’d write F509. See also Mxx

Flashes – When you run a person through PNC, they can have ‘flashes’ attached to their name.


IC – Identity Codes are used to identify the ethnicity of a person, including IC1 (white), IC3 (black), IC4 (west asian), IC5 (east asian) etc. For a full listing, check out the rather useful Wikipedia page.

IRV – Incident Response Vehicle. – That’s the cars that drive around in response to 999 calls, frequently with blue lights flashing and sirens blaring.


Job, The – Police tend to refer to the police as “the job”. If you want to ask someone how long they’ve been a police officer, you’d ask “how long have you been on the job”. If someone tells you about a car crash they had, the first question is usually “Was it a job car”. I still haven’t figured out quite why, but it’s rather nice to have a way to referring to ‘the police’ without saying ‘police’ every second sentence.


Met – The Metropolitan Police Service.

MDT – Mobile Data Terminal. That’s the in-car data terminals we have, where we can check number plates and people’s details. It’s also used by CAD

Mxxx – In police reports, we’d write someone’s height, if it is given in the metric system, as M followed by a series of three digits; that’s their height in centimeters. So if someone is 1 meter and 89 centimeters tall, they’d be written up as M189. See also Fxxx


On the Hurry Up – If you need help, or a prison van, quickly, you’d order it ‘on the hurry up’. Those are the magic words that make the blues-and-twos go on, and people rush to your assistance as fast as they can.

OP / Operator – The operator is the second officer in a police car. They are ‘operating’ (i.e. typing away on MDT, talking on the PR, etc)


PNC – The Police National Computer. A database of people who have been in contact with the police, driving licences, stolen vehicles, and much, much more.

PR – Personal Radio. The Motorola radios we are issued.

PTT – Push-To-Talk. Normally, when you’re calling someone up on the PR, you’d use your PTT button. You press and hold to transmit, and release it to open up the airwaves again.


Red Button – The Red button is the emergency button on the police radio. When it is pressed, the radio makes a beep-beep-beep sound, and all other transmissions are interrupted. the person who pressed it can talk for 10 seconds without having to hold down their PTT button. Any subsequent transmissions (i.e. when you press the PTT button) will again override any other transmissions. This button is normally used for urgent assistances; when your life is in danger, or when you need extra people on the hurry up.

RTC – Road Traffic Collision.


Trojan – Our firearms support officers have the call-sign “Trojan” – and that’s what they are routinely referred to as.


One response to “Glossary

  1. Wife? does she know about the lovely Kim? or is she just a mills and boon type addition to “sex up” the dossier?

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