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A.B.H.Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (A.O.A.B.H.)  An assault which results in some form of actual harm short of G.B.H or wounding.  Examples would be a graze, bruising or other minor injury.  It has been held that if it requires medical attention mental illness can be considered actual bodily harm
Ab LoadAbnormal Load, due to slow speed, excessive weight, or height, width, length. (Usually requires a Police Escort)
A.C.C.Assistant Chief Constable
A.C.P.O.Association of Chief Police Officers.  Organisation of Officers above Acting Chief Constables.Represents them but also has committees and publishes guidelines on matters that will have an effect on the whole country e.g. Traffic Committee
Acting RankWhen an Officer performs the duty of the rank above their own.  Normally used to cover short term needs such as sickness etc. ( No requirement for person to be qualified to the next rank)
A.F.O.Authorised Firearms Officer.  An officer who apart from their normal duties were authorised to carry a firearm.  Phased out in the 1990s when only T.F.U. (Full time Tactical Firearms Unit officers) were allowed to carry firearms
A.I.O.All In Order / Appears In Order
A.L.Annual Leave
APABApparently Abandoned
A.P.S.Acting Police Sergeant
A.Q.O.P.A.All Quiet on Police Arrival
A.Q.O.P.D.All Quiet On Police Departure
A.R.V.Armed Response Vehicle
A.S.N.T.Area Searched No Trace
AssaultThe act of creating the apprehension or fear of offensive contact.  There is no requirement for actual touching but the threat can not be by words alone (It must be accompanied by a physical action e.g. shaking of fist or moving towards you and it must be physically possible to be assaulted so no ten foot fence between offender and victim.  The act of touching is called battery.
A.W.O.L.Absent Without Leave


BatteryThe physical element of an assault and in plain terms is unwanted and unlawful touching of another.  In the old offence of common assault the charge will read that someone had been assaulted ‘by beating’.  This is not as dramatic as it sounds as it can be as little as a touch and is designed to differentiate between this and an assault by merely putting someone in fear of suffering unlawful violence.
B.D.V.Broken Down Vehicle
BeatGeographical Area patrolled by one officer i.e.. foot patrol, rural beat, neighbourhood officer
B.I.D.Brought In Dead (see also D.O.A. – Dead On Arrival)
BilkingAn Offence of “Making off” without payment, e.g. leaving  a taxi or restaurant without payment
BinColloquial term used by officers for the cell block
B.R.British Rail
B.T.P.British Transport Police (Responsible for Policing of the Railways)


C & DComplaints and Discipline (Those who investigated Police Officers, now known as Professional Standards)
C.A.D.Computer Aided Despatch ( In Metropolitan Police their control room is known as the C.A.D. room)
Call-SignA series of coded numbers and letters, used to identify different units quickly on the radio.  The makeup of the call-sign will also indicate its location and type, e.g. E1Y1 was an area car that covered Stevenage in the 1990’s.
CarrierShort for a Police Personnel Carrier
C.C.Crown Court or Chief Constable
C.C.R.County Control Room (see control room)
C.C.T.V.Closed Circuit Television
C.D.U.Central Detective Unit (Headquarters unit of Detectives used for more serious criminality and in late 20th century had the surveillance capability of the Force)
C.E.O.Civilian Enquiry Officer
C.I.Chief Inspector
C.I.D.Criminal Investigation Department
C.I.S.Crime Information System ( Local Hertfordshire computer system that recorded all crimes as well as persons arrested and linked to each crime)
C.J.A.U.Criminal Justice Administration Unit ( The unit responsible for the processing of crime files from submission by the officer until the case is completed at court). Has had numerous names over the years including Divisional Admin and Criminal Justice Department
CollarSlang for an arrest (From “feel his collar”)
C.L.Complete Lift. (As in vehicle recovery.  The whole vehicle has to be on the truck)  This normally because the vehicle is so damaged that it would be dangerous for a two wheel lift or if the vehicle is an automatic which would cause damage to the vehicle
Control RoomOtherwise known as Operations Room where units are controlled from by radio.  Has had various names over the years, F.O.R Force Operations  Room, D.O.R. Divisional Operations Room. C.C.R. County Control Room
C.O.Coroners Officer.  A Police Officer who acts for the Coroner preparing the cases of sudden deaths for the Coroners Court
C.P.O.Crime Prevention Officer
C.P.S.Crown Prosecution Service
C.R.O.Criminal Records Office.  This is where details of previous convictions and fingerprints are held.  On first conviction each person is assigned a number which includes the year.  This is a person’s C.R.O number which is sometimes known by Police Officers as a Club Number.
C.T.O.Central Ticket Office. (Where parking and speeding tickets are processed)
Custodian HelmetA Male Constables traditional Helmet.  (I believe that these relate to the helmets that were issued in the late 1970s which had the dual straps of the traditional chinstrap and the webbing straps for use in public order situations)


D & DDrunk and Disorderly
D & IDrunk and Incapable
D.A.I.Deeper Accident Investigation.  The unit that carries out the technical investigation of serious and fatal road traffic accidents / collisions.
D.C.Detective Constable
D.C.C.Deputy Chief Constable
D.C.I.Detective Chief Inspector
D.I.Detective Inspector
D.I.C.Drunk in Charge (of a motor vehicle)
DisqualDisqualified Driver
D.O.R.Divisional Operations Room (See Control Room)
DivisionGeographic and Administrative Unit upon which Policing was organised.  In Hertfordshire designated with a letter e.g. Watford C Division, North Herts E Division.  Can be split into subdivisions, e.g. C Division, Watford Central and Rickmansworth.  The letters for the different areas have changed over the years so should be used with caution.
D.S.Detective Sergeant
E.S.S.O.Derogatory term used by shift officers for an officer who either because of the unit they worked on or by manipulation of leave etc had all weekends off
E.T.Early Turn.  Used to start typically at 6.00 a.m., now more often 7.00 a.m.


 E Division For most of the Forces history E Division has been North Herts. Originally it covered both Stevenage and North Herts but in the mid eighties the two were split with North Herts (Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston) becoming G Division
E.D.T.Emergency Duty Team (Social Services)
E.O.Enquiry Officer
E.R.D.Some shift patterns needed a floating extra day off so that officers didn’t work too many hours


 F Division St Albans had a separate  City Police Force until 1947.  After this it was incorporated into the County Force and became F Division.  Its boundaries have changes and for a while in the eighties and nineties it was combined with Welwyn and Hatfield and became B Division
F.A.G.I.False alarm good intent
F.B.Fire Brigade
F.E.I.H.Further Enquiries in Hand
F.I.B.Force Intelligence Bureau
F.I.D.O.Force Intelligence Development Officer (Short experiment in the 90s to have civilian Surveillance Officers.  Was ended when budgets became tight and found to be less flexible than using warranted officers)
F.I.O.Field Intelligence Officer ( An officer responsible for developing intelligence such that Police action can be taken)
F.L.O.Family Liaison Officer (Officer designated in murder or other death to support the family of the victim/deceased and provide a link between them and the Police)
F.L.Front Lift (Vehicle recovery)
F.O.R.Force Operations Room (See Control Room)
F.P.Foot Patrol
F.P.T.Fixed Penalty Ticket (Parking, Speeding etc.) latterly FPN – Fixed Penalty Notice
F.T.A.Fail to Appear (In answer to Bail)
F.T.S.Fail to stop (Either after Road Traffic Accident or for police)


G.B.H.Grievous Bodily Harm  The most serious level of assault where the victim lives.  The injuries required are such as broken bones or serious internal injuries.  If the Injury is the piercing of the whole skin (deep cut) then the offence is known as and charged as wounding
  G.O..General Orders (distributed across the force on a weekly basis). Covers such things as staff movements and updates to Standing Orders.
 G.O.B. General Occurrence Book
G.P.General Purpose (car another name for a panda car)
 Guv  Informal term for an officer of the rank of Inspector or above (From Governor)


H.C.H.S.                 .Hertfordshire Constabulary Historical Society
H.G.V.Heavy Goods Vehicle
H.O.R.T.Home Office Road Traffic ( A series of nationally standardised forms used when dealing with motor vehicles.  For example HORT1 was issued to drivers to produce their documents while HORT2 was the form filled in when they did so at a Police Station.  Largely now redundant with the details being held on line)


I.C.Home office identity code to categorise ethnicity e.g. IC1 white, IC3 Black. (Formerly RC1, etc, for ‘Race Code’).
I.D.Identifiy (As in ‘has he been ID’d ?’).
I.E.D.Improvised Explosive Device
I.R.V.Immediate Response Vehicle (Normally double crewed and was originally called the Area Car)


J DivisionHertfordshire didn’t have a J Division until they took over the area covered by the Metropolitan Police in April 2000. From then until the Force reorganised into three Areas a few years later J Division covered the Borough of Borehamwood.
J.P.Justice of the Peace (Magistrate)
Judges’ RulesPrior to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1983 the rules by which Police could speak to suspects under and what cautions were needed to make the conversation admissable in court.
J/WJunction with


K DivisionHertfordshire didn’t have a K Division until they took over the area covered by the Metropolitan Police in April 2000. From then until the Force reorganised into three Areas a few years later K Division covered the Borough of Broxbourne


Key Holder (Person responsible for property)

Slang for a cheque. ‘To fly a kite ‘ – to use a stolen cheque.



Larceny In simple terms this is the old term for theft which was removed from legislation under the 1968 Theft Act.  It is an ancient term but the law was consolidated in the Larceny Act 1916 which said:  The definition of larceny for the purposes of the Act was: a person steals who, without the consent of the owner, fraudulently and without a claim of right made in good faith; takes and carries away anything capable of being stolen, with the intent at the time of such taking, permanently to deprive the owner thereof. Provided that a person may be guilty of stealing any such thing notwithstanding that he has lawful possession thereof, if, being a bailee or part owner thereof, he fraudulently converts the same to his own use or the use of any person other than the owner.
L.I.O.Local Intelligence Officer (Originally known as the Collator) and responsible for recording information on persons of interest  and their methods
L.T.Late Turn (shift traditionally starting around 2pm but recently become more flexible and may start as late as 5pm)
L.U.T.Lighting up Times (for Road Traffic Legislation)


Making OffTo Run away. Either from Police or as in Making Off without Payment (Bilking)
M.C.Motorcycle / Magistrates Court
 M.G. Manual of Guidance
 M.G. forms A set of standardised forms issued by the CPS so that all forces and CPS offices work to the same rules; e.g. MG11 is a witness statement
 M.H.A. Mental Health Act
 M.O.T. Ministry of Transport
 M.P. Military Police / Metropolitan Police
 M.P.D. Metropolitan Police District
M.V.Motor vehicle ( A mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on a road)


N.A.R.P.O.National Association of Retired Police Officers
N.F.A.No Fixed Abode / No Further Action
N.F.P.A.No Further Police Action
NickSlang for either the Police Station or to arrest someone (as in “you’re nicked”)
N.R.No Reply
N.S.Y.New Scotland Yard
N.T.No Trace / Night Turn
N.V.A.No Vehicle Available



O.I.C.Officer in Case / Officer in Charge
O.P.Observation Point
O.S.U.Operational Support Unit (responsible for administration)
OverUsed in Radio transmission to indicate you have finished speaking



P.A.A.O.T.C.O.Please allow an officer to call on
P.A.C.E.Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1983.  Total overhaul of rules under which Police operate and interact with public.   Covers Arrest, Search, Detention and Interview.
PathfinderType of hat worn by female Police Officers since the late 1980s
P.B. or P.N.B.Pocket Book (An officer’s contemporaneous record of their actions and any dealings with the public. (also Pocket Note Book)
P.C.S.O.Police Community Support Officer
P.H.Public House
P.I.Personal Injury (as in Road Traffic Accident)
P.I.R.A.Provisional Irish Republican Army
P.L.G.Private Light Goods ( Category on a Driving Licence, which could mean car or van)
P.N.C.Police National Computer. Holds details of persons convicted of crimes as well as having a link to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority)  database on vehicles and licenses
P.O.Public Order
P.O.A.Public Order Act / Power of Arrest
P.O.L.A.C.Police Vehicle Accident
Police FederationBody that represents officers up to the rank of Chief Inspector.  Not a union but carries out many of the functions of one.
P.Q.M.S.Person of Questionable Mental Stability
P.R.Personal Radio
ProvedPerson has died ( A way of passing the information over the air without a member of the public knowing what it means)
P.S.Police Sergeant. Police Station
P.S.U.Police Support Unit.  A group of uniformed officers for use on an operation such as a demonstration or public event.  May also have Riot equipment and can be deployed as such
P.T.C.Police Training Centre ( Where officers used to go for initial training) also DPTC District Police Training School.
P.T.I.Pre Trials Issues. A hearing at court prior to any trial where decisions are made as to what will take place in the trial.  For example which witnesses or evidence is in dispute and what can be agreed to be read out by either the defence or the prosecution.  It is deigned to save time during the full trial. Also Physical Training Instructor e.g. at a Training School.
P.T.U.Probationer Training Unit ( Group of Officers who tutor new Officers on their first return from training school before they are deemed ready for independent patrol)


Q.P.M.The Queen’s Police Medal.  A prestigious award for exceptional Police service


R.C.S.Regional Crime Squad ( Group of detectives from a number of forces who deal with crime that crosses county borders. for example drug dealing/importation, armed robberies, kidnapping etc.)  Hertfordshire was part of 5 Region that covered East Anglia
R.D.Rest Day
R.F.A.U.Reason for Activation Unknown
R.I.C.Remanded in Custody
R.L.Rear Lift (vehicle recovery)
R.O.Registered owner (motor vehicle)
R.O.B.Remanded on Bail
R.O.S.P.A.Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
R.P.Responsible Person / Rendezvous Point
R.T.A. Road Traffic Accident ; Road Traffic Act


S.C.Special Constable
S.D.O.Station Duty Officer ( No longer used but was an officer responsible for the admin duties around the station.  These could include the enquiry desk, answering the phone, visiting the prisoners, completing returns and sending telex messages as well as answering the radio in small stations.
S.D.P.Social Domestic and Pleasure ( Category on motor vehicle insurance certificates)
S.I.O.Senior Investigating Officer
SkipperInformal term for a Sergeant
S.L.O.School Liaison Officer
S.O.C.O.Scenes of Crime Officer
S.O.I.E.Set off in Error
Special ConstablePart time unpaid volunteer Police Officer.  Originally used at time of crisis (Riot or during War time), now an integral part of everyday Policing
S.T.W.Senior Traffic Warden


T.A.D.A.Taking and Drive Away. Colloquial term for taking a conveyance.N.B. ‘Joy Riding’ which, for the victim of the illegal act, (especially if it involves damage or injury), is far from joyous.
Temporary A Temporary Rank is used where a person moves up a rank for a specific project (Where perhaps their is no substantive post in the structure).   To carry out this role you must be qualified to the next rank.
T.F.U.Tactical Firearms Unit
T.I.C.Taken into consideration ( This is where when an offender pleads guilty to an offence they ask the court to take further offences into consideration.  This has the advantage for the offender that the court is severely restricted on what sentences it can impose on these new matters while they know that they can not be dealt with them at a future date.  For the Police and the victims it allows for offences that would be otherwise unsolved to be detected when in reality in many cases they would never have enough evidence to convict.
T.K.Telephone Kiosk
T.O.Time Off
T.W.Traffic Warden
T.W.O.C.Taking Without Owners Consent. Former term for taking a conveyance. (see T.A.D.A.)


U.H.F.Ultra High Frequency (Radio, until the advent of the digital age and the Airwaves sets this was the frequency that personal radios operated on)
UnitTerm for a Policing resource.  Normally designates a police car and crew
U.R.N.Unique Reference Number ( Could relate to any number of things but mostly used when referring to logs of incidents)
U.X.B.Unexploded Bomb



V.D.R.S.Vehicle Defect and Rectification Scheme ( System where motorists could avoid prosecution for defects on their vehicles if they fixed them and took them along to an M.O.T. testing station for verification)
V.H. The Home Office designation of Hertfordshire Constabulary for Communication purposes.  So for example Hertfordshire’s Control Room has the call-sign VH and when Officers are wearing Riot Gear there is a Large VH along with their warrant number on the back of their helmets so that they can be identified when working with other Forces.  Incidentally Bedfordshire’s call-sign is VA while Cambridgeshire uses VB and the Metropolitan Police use MP
V.H.F.Very High Frequency (Radio, the frequency used up until digitisation of the system with Airwaves in Police Cars)


W.D.C.Women Detective Constable / Without Due Care
W.G.C.Welwyn Garden City
W.P.S.Women Police Sergeant
W.P.C.Women Police Constable (use phased out during 1990s)
W.S.C.Women Special Constable


X-Ray Call-sign used by or for a control room



Y.L.O.Youth Liaison Officer


This page was added on 03/07/2015.

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  • A lot of the glossary is archival and meant to be !
    I am a writer/blogger with great interest in police matters and the dire negative correlation:- funding cuts, therfore manning cuts and likely exponential rise in cyber crime. It is already exponential rise. I have a particularly high respect for Herts Constabulary and their reputation for very comfortable cohesion of manpower and for being an altogether very decent force.

    By David Connolly (16/07/2019)

    By John Halsey (17/02/2016)
  • Thanks for this I have added it to the list


    By peter clavey (20/02/2016)
  • SB – Special Branch

    By John Weeks (24/11/2015)
  • Sorry its taken me so long to get to this but have now included this. Any more suggestions Ill try and get to quicker


    By peter clavey (20/02/2016)