Collar number

A collar number, also known as a shoulder number, Force Identification Number (FIN) or occasionally as Force Number (although this can also refer to ID number of a force itself), identifies uniformed officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSO), and some police staff in UK police forces. Although now displayed on epaulettes (i.e. on the shoulder), it is still commonly referred to as a collar number.

In most forces it is simply a one- to five-digit number, but in larger forces a letter code (also known as a Division Call Sign) may be added to indicate the officer's base area or unit.

For the letters shown on riot helmets and the roofs of police vehicles, see Home Office radio callsigns.


City of London

A number followed by a single letter to indicate the division.
Suffix code Meaning
A Anti-Terrorism & Public Order (Dogs, Mounted, Traffic) (formerly Moor Lane)
B Snow Hill
C Bishopsgate
D Specialist Crime Operations (formerly Cloak Lane)
E Professional Development Unit
F Economic Crime Department

This changed in February 2009 when the City of London Police was divided into directorates rather than along the traditional divisional lines. The new shoulder number for all police officers was suffixed by 'CP' and the former department designations A-F ceased to exist for uniform purposes. Territorial Policing response officers now work out of Bishopsgate police station, some support services such as the Dogs and Mounted Unit are based at the Headquarters in Wood Street and community officers, PCSOs and various administrative services work from Snow Hill police station.

Metropolitan Police Service

A number, followed by one or two letters indicating the station/sector, borough, or unit. Current practice favours use of borough codes rather than station codes (with the borough code generally taken from one of the borough's stations - see below - which can cause confusion).

Divisional area codes are still used to identify the areas themselves, together with the police station and vehicles (if any) nominally covering them, but not officers. So for example QY88 would be a panda car notionally assigned to Kingsbury, though it would actually be based at QD (i.e. Wembley, the nearest operational police station) and be crewed by officers whose collar numbers all contain the letters 'QK' (since they are counted as Brent officers regardless of which station they may happen to be based at).

A one or two digit number denotes a Sergeant, a three digit number denotes a Constable, a four digit number beginning with 5 denotes a Special Constable and a four digit number beginning with 7 denotes a PCSO. Confusingly, MPS epaulettes display the letters over the digits, i.e. 81FH (a Sergeant based at Hammersmith) would show FH over 81 on his/her shoulder, which reads more like FH81 (the call sign of a panda car based there). Ranks above Sergeant do not have collar numbers - officers are identified by name (e.g. Inspector Smith, who may once have been just PC 123KG).

An exception to the above is the City of Westminster borough. Westminster has over 1500 officers therefore a three digit number system is too small. Until late 2009 constables and sergeants had four digit shoulder numbers beginning 1, 2, 3 or 4 (with the leading number signifying which part of the borough you were attached to - 1 Westminster North, 2 Westminster Central, 3 Westminster South or 4 Westminster HQ). With the amalgamation of Westminster Central and South in late 2009 the decision was taken to amalgamate all the shoulder numbers into one numbering system. All new officers joining the borough will be given the first available number and cross division moves will no longer result in the need for a new shoulder number.

Specialist MPS units do not necessarily follow any of the above numbering rules, with both Constables and Sergeants having anything from one to four digits.

All Metropolitan Police officers in uniform below the rank of Inspector are required to have their collar numbers on display at all times.[1] It is increasingly common for higher ranks to display their warrant numbers on their epaulettes in addition to their rank.

Code Specialist unit
CC Central Communications Command (CO10)
CO Central Operations (formerly Commissioner's Office)
D Diplomatic Protection Group
ID Heathrow Airport (now Aviation Security (CO18))
TP Operational Support Unit (MSC pan-london public order unit)
P Parliament (CO7)
R Royalty Protection Group
RO Royal Parks
MXC Specialist Crime Directorate
SO Specialist Operations
ST Safer Transport unit
L Learning Directorate (training)
TD Traffic Operational Command Unit - CO15
TL Transport Operational Command Unit - CO17
U Territorial Support Group (also known as 'Uniform' units after the spelling alphabet codeword for 'U'. )
UD Marine Support Unit
Borough Sectors
KG Barking & Dagenham KB Barking, KG Dagenham, KK Marks Gate
SX Barnet SA Barnet, SX Colindale, SF Finchley, SG Golders Green, ST Whetstone
RY Bexley RB Belvedere, RY Bexleyheath, RS Sidcup
QK Brent QC Chalkhill, QH Harlesden, QK Kilburn, QD Wembley, QL Willesden Green, QY Kingsbury
PY Bromley PB Beckenham, PH Biggin Hill, PC Chislehurst, PY Bromley, PN Orpington, PG Penge, PW West Wickham
EK Camden ED Albany Street, EH Hampstead, EO Holborn, EK Kentish Town, EW West Hampstead
ZD Croydon ZD Croydon, ZK Kenley, ZA New Addington, ZY Norbury, ZN South Norwood, ZP Purley (Since 2011)
XB Ealing XA Acton, XD Ealing, XG Greenford, XI Hanwell, XP Northolt, XW Norwood Green, XS Southall
YE Enfield YE Edmonton, YF Enfield, YP Ponders End, YS Southgate, YW Winchmore Hill, YC Cheshunt (now in Hertfordshire Constabulary)
RG Greenwich RM Eltham, RG Greenwich, RA Plumstead, RT Thamesmead, RK Westcombe Park, RW Woolwich
GD Hackney GH Hackney, GD Shoreditch, GN Stoke Newington
FH Hammersmith & Fulham FF Fulham, FH Hammersmith, FS Shepherds Bush
YR Haringey YR Hornsey, YM Muswell Hill, YA St Ann's, YT Tottenham, YD Wood Green
QA Harrow QE Edgware, QA Harrow, QP Pinner, QW Wealdstone, QS West Street
KD Havering KL Collier Row, KA Harold Hill, KC Hornchurch, KM Rainham, KD Romford, KU Upminster
XH Hillingdon XF Harefield, XY Hayes, XH Hillingdon, XN Northwood, XR Ruislip, XE West Drayton
TX Hounslow TB Brentford, TC Chiswick, TF Feltham, TX Hounslow
NI Islington NH Holloway, NI Islington
BS Kensington & Chelsea BC Chelsea, BD Kensington, BH Notting Hill
VK Kingston-Upon-Thames VK Kingston, VN New Malden, VE/VS† Surbiton
LX Lambeth LD Brixton, LC Cavendish, LN/LM† Clapham, LG Gipsy Hill, LK Kennington, LS Streatham
PL Lewisham PK Brockley, PD Catford, PP Deptford, PL Lewisham, PS Sydenham
VW Merton VM Mitcham, VR Morden, VW Wimbledon
KF Newham KE East Ham, KF Forest Gate, KN North Woolwich, KW/KO† Plaistow, KS Stratford
JI Redbridge JB Barkingside, JI Ilford, JN Wanstead, JF Woodford
TW Richmond Upon Thames TR Richmond, TT Teddington, TW Twickenham
MD Southwark MC Camberwell, ME East Dulwich, MM Peckham, MR Rotherhithe, MD Southwark, MS Walworth
ZT Sutton ZT Sutton, ZW Wallington, ZR Worcester Park
HT Tower Hamlets HW Bow, HT Bethnal Green / Whitechapel, HR Brick Lane, HI Isle of Dogs, HH Limehouse, HP Poplar
JC Waltham Forest JC Chingford, JL Leyton, JS Leytonstone, JW Walthamstow, JK Walthamstow Market, JA Waltham Abbey (now in Essex)
WW Wandsworth WA Battersea, WL Lavender Hill, WD Tooting, WW/WH Wandsworth (also includes the Putney Sector Office which replaced the previous Putney station which had the code WP †)[2]
CW Westminster AB Belgravia, CX Charing Cross, DM Marylebone, DP Paddington, DR Harrow Road, DS St John's Wood, CD West End Central

† Some authoritative sources (e.g. Police Almanac) are self-contradictory and incomplete

Not all of these stations are currently operational


  1. ^ "'Maybe he just forgot': Scotland Yard's incredible excuse for police officer being spotted without ID during street protest", Daily Mail, 17 April 2009 (includes extract from Metropolitan Police Service's Dress Code, 2005). Retrieved on 30 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Welcome to the Wandsworth Borough Police homepage", Metropolitan Police Service website


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