Organisation and structure of the Metropolitan Police Service

Mounted MPS officer outside Buckingham Palace, London

The Metropolitan Police Service of Greater London is organised into five main directorates, each with differing responsibilities. The main ones are Territorial Policing, the Specialist Crime Directorate, Specialist Operations, Central Operations, and administration and support. Each is overseen by an Assistant Commissioner, or in the case of administrative departments a director of police staff which is the equivalent civil staff grade. The Management Board is made up of the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and internal department heads.[1]



The senior leadership rank-holders of the MPS currently are:[2]

  • Commissioner - Bernard Hogan-Howe
  • Deputy Commissioner- Tim Godwin (announced retirement for New Year 2012)[3]
  • Assistant Commissioner Ian MacPherson – responsible for Territorial policing (from 4 December, AC Simon Byrne, formerly, Deputy Chief Constable Greater Manchester Police)[4]
  • Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick – responsible for the Specialist Operations
  • Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens – responsible for Central Operations and Specialist Crime (from 4 December, AC Mark Rowley [formerly, Chief Constable Surrey Police] will take over Central Operations, AC Owens will remain as permanent head of the Specialist Crime Directorate)[4]
  • Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison – Olympics and Paralympics and the National Olympic Security Coordinator.

The highest rank in the MPS is that of the Commissioner.

2012 will see the formation of a new leadership team at the top of the Met, changes include:[4]

  • The Deputy Commissioner retiring to be replaced by an unspecified person to be announced late 2011, and be in post from January 2012[5]
  • Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Simon Byrne, will take over as Assistant Commissioner; Territorial Policing
  • The Chief Constable of Surrey Police Constabulary, Mark Rowling, will take over as Assistant Commissioner; Central Operations
  • Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens will remain as just the Assistant Commissioner; Specialist Crime Directorate

Territorial Policing

The Territorial Policing (TP) directorate is commanded by Assistant Commissioner Ian Macpherson, and is responsible for providing day-to-day policing to geographical areas across Greater London, that comprise the Metropolitan Police District. It is divided into 32 Borough Operational Command Units (BOCUs), with each London borough assigned a BOCU.[6] Each BOCU is commanded by a Chief Superintendent, apart from Westminster which due to its high concentration of Government facilities, is headed by a Commander.

Each BOCU provides police officers who are responsible for patrolling, and responding to emergencies. Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) are usually made up of both police officers and PCSOs, responsible for policing a specific area within a BOCU. CID detectives are also attached to each BOCU providing an investigative capability.

The Royal Parks Operational Command Unit and Transport Operational Command Unit also come under the remit of Territorial Policing.[7][8]

Number of officers per borough

Each BOCU has the following 'officer establishment'. The two letter code given in brackets for each borough is the ID code for that borough. Every Constable and Sergeant in the borough will have those letters on their epaulettes, as part of their shoulder number.

Barking & Dagenham (KG) – 443

Barnet (SX) – 595

Bexley (RY) – 406

Brent (QK) – 699

Bromley (PY) – 522

Camden (EK) – 886

Croydon (ZD) – 747

Ealing (XB) – 727

Enfield (YE) – 592

Greenwich (RG) – 703

Hackney (GD) – 773

Hammersmith & Fulham (FH) – 590

Haringey (YR) – 728

Harrow (QA) – 389

Havering (KD) – 389

Hillingdon (XH) – 516

Hounslow (TX) – 523

Islington (NI) – 712

Kingston upon Thames (VK) – 322

Lambeth (LX) – 1,038

Lewisham (PL) – 681

Merton (VW) – 390

Newham (KF) – 816

Redbridge (JI) – 496

Richmond upon Thames (TW) – 326

Kensington & Chelsea (BS) – 571

Southwark (MD) – 952

Sutton (ZT) – 351

Waltham Forest (JC) – 571

Tower Hamlets (HT) – 818

Wandsworth (WW) – 613

Westminster (CW) – 1,627

(These figures are the authorised establishments, as of June 2010, and were right at the time posted but may no longer be the actual number of officers appointed to each Borough)

(These only include officers assigned to boroughs not officer assigned to specific team e.g. Central Operations)

Source: Metropolitan Police Authority.[9]

The latest figures can be found on the MPA website

Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD)

The Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD) is an investigative branch of the MPS,[10] responsible for the investigation of serious, organised and specialist crime. In some cases, SCD investigates crime that is beyond the remit of CID detectives, attached to a Borough Operational Command Unit.

The SCD is commanded by an Assistant Commissioner, with a further five Commanders heading internal Operational Command Units.[11]

The SCD is made up of 8 Operational Command Units (OCU), each specialising in a form of criminal investigations:[10]

  • Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (SCD2) – Investigates rape and other serious sexual offences.[13]
  • Fingerprint Services – Responsible for the collection and archiving of fingerprints, made up of people currently living in the UK. Along with providing good clearance certificates to members of the public, who wish to travel to countries that require a good behaviour certificate before they are authorised to enter.[14]
  • Forensic Services Command Unit (SCD 4) – Responsible for providing an on call, forensic science capability for the 32 Borough Operational Command Units, along with the rest of the Service. Within the Command several smaller units exist, such as; Forensic Investigation Specialist Crime Directorate, which deals with forensic science capabilities on crime scenes that are within the remit of the SCD, such as homicide and armed robberies.[15]
  • Child Abuse Investigation Command (SCD 5) – Responsible for the investigation of crimes against minors, mainly, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The Command has nineteen CAIT teams covering each borough, aiding local CID detectives, and are in close liaison with Social Services.[16] Within the Command, Major Investigations Teams exist which investigate child homicide, a sexual crime unit, a Hi-Tech Crime Unit which deals with computer investigations, the Safeguarding Children and Development Unit which educates against offences, and deals with after-care of victims, and the Ports Safeguarding Team which monitors London airports to ensure such offenders do not enter the country.[16]
  • Economic and Specialist Crime Command (SCD 6) – Responsible for investigations of serious economic crime, made up of many units within the command, such as; the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, the Money Laundering Investigation Team, Financial Investigation Development Units, the Specialist Crime Operations Team, the Stolen Vehicle Unit, the Arts and Antiques Unit, the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU), the Wildlife Crime Unit, the Extradition and International Assistance Unit, the Criminal Justice Protection Unit, and the Regional Asset Recovery Team.[17]
  • Trident & Trafalgar Operational Command Unit (SCD 8) – Responsible for the investigation of gun related crimes within the black community of London. With focus on firearms related deaths, either where the suspect is black, or the victim. Also investigations where a firearms related incident within the black community led to no injury. The Command also investigates unprovoked shootings or threats to shoot unarmed officers, and PCSOs. Operation Trafalgar is also within the Command unit, dealing with shootings unrelated to black communities.[18]
  • Serious and Organised Crime Group (SCD 7) – Responsible for the investigations of serious, organised and life threatening crimes. The group is made up of the Central Task Force, the Projects Team, the Flying Squad, the Kidnap and Special Investigation Unit, the Hostage and Crisis Negotiations Unit and the Intelligence Support Unit.[19]
  • Covert Policing/Intelligence (SCD 10) – Responsible for providing an undercover surveillance team's capability to the rest of the force. Surveillance officers can be deployed anywhere within the Metropolitan Police District in 90 minutes, and are authorised to be deployed anywhere within the United Kingdom, with an armed capability available. Made up of the Technical Support Unit, which maintains surveillance equipment and The Authorities Office, which deals with gaining authorisation to deploy and the Prison Intelligence Unit.[20]

Central Operations

The Central Operations Directorate (CO)[21] is responsible for providing specialist policing functions along with operational support to the rest of the Service. CO is currently headed by Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens.

Units in this department include:[21]

Operational Support:

The Metropolitan Special Constabulary Tasking Unit/Operational Support Unit has recently been created, consisting mostly of Special Constables who provide high-visibility policing and conduct public order patrols. They are normally active on Friday and Saturday nights, mainly as part of Operation Optic, an initiative aimed at reducing alcohol-related disorder and violence.

Specialist Operations

Specialist Operations (SO) is a directorate of the Service, responsible for providing specialist policing capabilities. Until Sir Kenneth Newman's restructuring of the Metropolitan Police, SO comprised twenty units, but after the restructuring most of them were absorbed by Central Operations. It is currently headed by Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, QPM.

Diplomatic Protection Group, ARV. Purchased in red to denote that it does not carry out general policing duties, along with the yellow stickers on the bodywork identifying the vehicle as carrying authorised firearms officers

SO is currently organised into three Commands:

Protection Command

Split into the following specialist operational areas:

  • Specialist Protection (SO1)
Provides armed personal protection services for ministers and public officials at threat from terrorism, including visiting heads of government and other public figures.
  • Royalty Protection (SO14)
Provides protection of the Monarch and other members of the Royal Family. The OCU is divided into Residential Protection, Personal and Close Protection and the Special Escort Group (SEG) who provide mobile protection.
  • Diplomatic Protection Group (SO6)
Provides protection for foreign missions in London, including protecting embassies, and the residences of visiting heads of state, heads of government and ministers.

Counter Terrorism Command (SO15)

Formed by the merger of Special Branch and the Anti-Terrorist Branch. The priority of this command is to keep the public safe and to ensure that London remains a hostile environment for terrorists. Their responsibilities include: bringing to justice anyone engaged in terrorism or related offences, preventing and disrupting terrorist activity, gathering and exploiting intelligence on terrorism and extremism in London.

Protective Security Command (SO2)

Incorporates financial, resources and HR support for the SO Business Group, including the Assistant Commissioner's private office. It also provides additional security and counter-terrorism co-ordination for London.

Other departments

Overview of Metropolitan Police Service Business Groups
Business Group Led by Role
Directorate of Public Affairs Director of Public Affairs, Dick Fedorcio Deals with the media and looks after publicity and internal communications
Resources Directorate Director of Resources, Anne McMeel Responsible for finance, buildings, procurement etc.
Strategy Modernisation & Performance Directorate Director Stephen Rimmer Comprises three discrete units: The Strategy Unit encompassing Strategic Analysis; the Met Modernisation Programme which incorporates the Corporate Risk Management Group; and the Performance Directorate
Human Resources Directorate Director of Human Resources, Martin Tiplady Personnel management
Directorate of Information Director of Information, Ailsa Beaton Responsible for information systems and operational communications, including the Metcall project.

Police officer strength by rank

The following table gives the police strength in the MPS by rank, as of 31 March 2011.[23]

Constables Sergeants Inspectors Ch Inspectors Superintendents Ch Superintendents Acpo rank Total
24,595 5,583 1,503 448 196 81 34 32,441


  1. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Met Police deputy commissioner Tim Godwin retires, BBC News]
  4. ^ a b c "New Assistant Commissioners' roles announced". 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  5. ^ Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis job vacancy - Metropolitan Police Authority
  6. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Organisational Structure". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Police officer allocation" (PDF). MPA. 2005-02-11. Retrieved 2006-09-21. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  11. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  12. ^ a b c "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  15. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  16. ^ a b "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  17. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  18. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  19. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  20. ^ "Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Directorate". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  21. ^ a b "Metropolitan Police Service – Central Operations". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  22. ^
  23. ^

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