Scotland Yard is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service of London, UK. It derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard entrance became the public entrance to the police station. Over time, the street and the Metropolitan Police became synonymous. The New York Times wrote in 1964 that, just as Wall Street gave its name to the New York financial world, Scotland Yard did the same for police activity in London. The Metropolitan Police moved away from Scotland Yard in 1890, and the name "New Scotland Yard" was adopted for the new headquarters.
The Metropolitan Police
Commonly known as the "Met", the Metropolitan Police Service is responsible for law enforcement within Greater London, excluding the square mile of the City of London, which is covered by the City of London Police. The London Underground and national rail network are the responsibility of the British Transport Police. The Metropolitan Police was formed by Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel with the implementation of the Metropolitan Police Act, passed by Parliament in 1829. Peel, with the help of Eugène-François Vidocq, selected the original site at 4 Whitehall Place for the new police headquarters. The first two Commissioners, Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne, along with various police officers and staff, occupied the building. Previously a private house, 4 Whitehall Place backed onto a street called Great Scotland Yard.
By 1887, The Met headquarters had expanded from 4 Whitehall Place into several neighbouring addresses, including 3, 5, 21 and 22 Whitehall Place; 8 and 9 Great Scotland Yard, and several stables. Eventually, the service outgrew its original site, and new headquarters were built on the Victoria Embankment, overlooking the River Thames, south of what is now known as the Ministry of Defence HQ. In 1890, police headquarters moved to the new location, which was named New Scotland Yard. By this time, the Metropolitan Police had grown from its initial 1,000 officers to about 13,000 and needed more administrative staff and a bigger headquarters. Further increases in the size and responsibilities of the force required even more administrators, and in 1907 and 1940, New Scotland Yard was extended further. This complex is now grade I listed and known as the Norman Shaw Buildings. In 1888, during the construction of New Scotland Yard, workers discovered the dismembered torso of a female; the case, known as the "Whitehall Mystery", has never been solved.
The original building at 4 Whitehall Place still has a rear entrance on Great Scotland Yard. Stables for some of the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch are still located at 7 Great Scotland Yard, across the street from the first headquarters.
By the 1960s the requirements of modern technology and further increases in the size of the force meant that it had outgrown its Victoria Embankment headquarters. In 1967 New Scotland Yard moved to the present building at 10 Broadway, still within Westminster, which was an existing office block acquired under a long-term lease; the first New Scotland Yard is now called the Norman Shaw (North) building, part of which is used as the headquarters for the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Policing department.
Current location of the Met