Police & Crime Jargon Buster

Please find below useful terms, abbreviations and sets of initials, which you may come across if your voluntary and community sector organisation works closely with the police and criminal justice system, alongside a list of the police hierarchy.

To access One East Midlands general VCS jargon buster click here.



Full name

Brief Description


Activity based Costing

A widely used costing system that seeks to place an accurate cost on what an organisation produces. In policing the ABC model has been developed to calculate the costs of policing authorities thus enabling managers to continuously improve policing services



Assistant Chief Constable





Association of Chief Police Officers

An independent, professionally led strategic body which leads and co-ordinates the direction and development of the Police Service in England, wales and Northern Ireland



Automatic Number Plate Recognition

System which enables number plate numbers to be linked to data that identifies information about a vehicle i.e. tax, insurance and MOT



Association of Police Authorities

Represents police authorities in England, Wales & N Ireland at a national level.  It influences policy on policing & supports local police authorities



Assessments of Policing and Community Safety

A performance management framework for policing and community safety which streamlines and align the way performance is measured and assessed across policing, crime and drugs



Association of Police Authority Chief Executives





Anti-social Behaviour Order


A court order which prohibits the perpetrator from specific anti-social behaviours.  ASBO’s are issued for a minimum of two years.  The aim is to protect the public from the behaviour, rather than to punish the perpetrator



British Association of Women in Policing


The Association was formed in 1987 in order to fill a gap within the police service, with its main objectives to enhance the role and understanding of the specific needs of the women who are employed within the service.



British Crime Survey


Regular survey undertaken by the Home Office providing a key source of information about levels of crime & public attitudes to crime.



Basic Command Unit


Management structure of many police forces through which a designated geographical area is policed.



Co-ordinating and Tasking Office

Co-ordinates operational activity across the force and ensures the effective and efficient use of resources through recognised tasking procedures.



Command and Control





Chief Constable





Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership

An arrangement in each District that combines the force with other public bodies and groups which collaborate to address the needs of the local community.



Crime Fighting Fund


The CFF was established to boost recruitment, allowing Chief Constables to appoint additional officers over and above their existing recruitment plans.

Ch. Supt.


Chief Superintendent





Chief Inspector





Criminal Investigation Department


Part of force which investigates crime including serious violence, gun crime & robbery plus more complex fraud investigations, surveillance, hi-tech crime, financial crime/fraud & the targeting of key criminals.



Criminal Justice System


Responsible for the delivery of justice for all, by convicting & punishing the guilty & helping them to stop offending, while protecting the innocent.  Responsible for bringing offenders to justice & carrying out the orders of the court such as collecting fines & supervising community & custodial punishment.



Criminal Justice Simple Speedy Summary

Process to improve the way cases are managed & dealt with, focusing on the methods that make the justice system work.



Crown Prosecution Service

Principal prosecuting authority for criminal cases in England & Wales.




Child Protection Unit


Dedicated unit which ensures that there is a consistent, professional service to all reports of child abuse & the need to safeguard children.



Criminal Records Bureau


The aim of the Bureau is to help organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable to work with children or other vulnerable members of society.



Comprehensive Spending Review


Report that sets out the Government's plans for sustainable growth & prosperity in order to improve people's standard or living, fairness &  equality for all, stronger communities & better quality of life.



Central Ticket Office


Processing office which deals with fixed penalty tickets issues by police officers & traffic wardens.



Drug and Alcohol Action Team

Representatives from the police & other bodies work together to deliver the Government's drug & alcohol strategies at a local level.



Domestic Abuse Unit

Unit with an expertise in dealing with the victims of domestic abuse.



Detective Constable





Deputy Chief Constable





Detective Chief Inspector





Detective Inspector





Drug Interventions Programme

Key part of the Government's strategy for tackling drugs & reducing crime.



District Intelligence Unit


Provides Intelligence & Tasking Officers, aligned to a central hub, working at district level in support of local priorities.



Detective Sergeant





Force Intelligence Department


Department operating at local (District/Force) & regional (Cross-border) levels.  Function is to define threats, manage risks & identifying opportunities to facilitate preventative & enforcement activity.



Field Intelligence Officer

An officer who manages & assesses intelligence against threat, risk & opportunity.



Family Liaison Officer





Force Surveillance Unit

Team that provides a specialised & mobilised surveillance capacity.



Harms Analysis Intelligence Group

Team whose function is to undertake dynamic risk assessment of incident, crime response & Investigation & which is instrumental in delivering intelligence led policing.



Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

Independent Inspectorate for the Crown Prosecution Service.




Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary

A body appointed by the Crown whose role is to examine  & improve the efficiency of the Police Service in England & Wales



Home Office


Government department responsible for leading the national effort to protect the public from terrorism, crime and anti-social behaviour



Home Office Large Major Enquiry System

System used in all major incidents including serial murders, multi-million pound fraud cases & major disasters.



Health and Safety Executive

The HSE has merged with the Health and Safety Commission to become a single national regulatory body responsible for promoting the cause of better health and safety at work.



Independent Advisory Group

Lay advisors who give a citizen's perspective on policies & functions.



Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government

IDEA works for local government improvement helping local councils serve their communities better.








Independent Police Complaints Commission


This is a Non-Departmental Public Body funded by the Home Office, but by law entirely independent of the police. They have a legal duty to oversee the whole of the police complaints system.



Initial Police Learning and Development Programme

IPLDP is a national training programme for  student police officers, designed to be tailored and delivered locally to accommodate the characteristics and specific needs of every force.



Local Criminal Justice Board

A combination of agencies that work together to deliver an efficient, effective criminal justice system.



Local Government Association

Promotes the interests of English and Welsh local authorities




Local Public Service Agreement


Designed as voluntary agreements  between upper-tier local authorities and government.  The overall aims of LPSA’s is to improve the delivery of local public services by focusing on targeted outcomes with support from government.



Local Strategic Partnership


LSP’s provide a single co-ordinating framework to work with local authorities to prepare and implement a Community Strategy with aim of improving the economic, social and environmental well-being of an area.



Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements


Supports the assessment & management of the most serious sexual & violent offenders.




Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences

A forum for sharing information & taking action to reduce harm to very high risk victims and their children.



Major Incident Unit

A core team that come together to manage & co-ordinate all activities relating to major incidents.



Major Investigation Unit

A team that manages major investigations.



National Crime Recording Standard

Aim is to promote greater consistency between Forces in classifying and recording reported crimes and to take a more victim-oriented approach to the crime recording process.



Neighbourhood Policing





Neighbourhood Watch

Volunteer organisation aimed at protecting property and local communities.



National Intelligence Model

A model for policing that ensures that information is fully researched, developed & analysed to provide intelligence that senior managers can use to provide strategic direction, make tactical resourcing decisions about operational policing & manage risk.



National Offender Management Service

Ministry of Justice service which aims to reduce offending, punish & rehabilitate offenders & ensure victims feel that justice has been done.



National Police Improvement Agency


The Agency is intended to assist in improving public safety by driving improvement and delivering and developing critical essential services and infrastructure to support day to day policing.



National Standards for Incident Recording


The principal aim of NSIR is to ensure that all incidents, whether crime or non-crime, are recorded by police in a consistent and accurate manner, so as to allow resulting data to be used at a local and national level to meet the management and performance information needs of all stakeholders.



Organised Crime Groups


Manifests itself most graphically in drug addiction sexual exploitation & gun crime.  These groups operate across global frontiers in tight-knit gangs, display in-depth knowledge of law enforcement methods & exploit sophisticated technologies to conceal their activities from the authorities.



Office of Criminal Justice Reform


Cross-departmental team that supports all criminal justice agencies in working together to provide an improved service to the public.  It reports to Ministry of Justice, the Home Office & the Office of the Attorney General.



Officer in Charge





Operational Taskforce


A team of 100 officers who will undertake the policing of the Strategic Road Network, including motorways, respond to all firearms incidents & provide a daily flexible & task able resource to support targeted policing activities.



Police Advisory Board for England and Wales


Statutory body set up to advise the Home Secretary on general questions affecting the police in England and Wales and to consider draft regulations which the Home Secretary proposed to make under section 50 or 52 of the Police Act 1996 - except



Police and Criminal Evidence Act


Combined with the PACE codes of practice provides the core framework of police powers & safeguards around stop & search, arrest, detention, investigation, identification & interviewing detainees.



Partners and Communities Together Panels

A combination of local people, police & other interested parties who highlight the important local issues & identify solutions.


Police and Crime Commissioner

Replaces Police Authorities in November 2012. Will be responsible for the hiring/firing of Chief Constable and setting of Police budget


Police and Crime Panel


Local body made up of 12 or more people to scrutinise the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner


Police and Crime Plan

A five year strategy for policing and crime reduction activity within a policing area set by the Police and Crime Commissioner



Police and Crime Standards Directorate

The Directorate aims to maintain standards of excellence in policing and  in initiatives that aim to ensure community safety.



Police Community Support Officer

Officer who works in designated local areas whose role is to tackle anti-social behaviour, gather intelligence, dealing with quality of life issues & providing public reassurance.



Professional Development Review

Process designed to enhance the contribution that individuals can make to an organisation and to improving the performance of that organisation.



Police Negotiating Board


The PNB exists to negotiate agreements which it recommends to the Home Secretary relating to the pay and terms of conditions of all UK police officers.



Police National Computer


National information system available to the police, criminal justice agencies & a variety of other non-policing organisations.



Police Performance Assessment Framework


PPAF is intended as an effective framework for comparing performance in policing in a way that provides a firm basis for effective performance management at Force, Authority and Central Government level.



Prolific and Other Priority Offender Programme

A cross-government crime reduction strategy that aims to catch & convict offenders, rehabilitate & resettle offenders, & to undertake preventative action.



Public Service Board


The Board aims to make a real and lasting improvement to the wellbeing of people in the country by joining together to improve public services across Warwickshire.  It brings together key partner agencies within Warwickshire to collectively take decisions within applicable legal parameters which make a positive difference to Warwickshire residents.



Police and Partnership Support Unit


A new unit in the Home Office created after the Police Standards Unit and the Partnership Performance Support Unit merged.  The unit seeks to influence and review delivery of the community safety agenda at regional government level whilst retaining the capability to engage with underperforming police forces where necessary.



Public Protection Unit


A specialist unit responsible for the management & investigation of crimes involving adult abuse, child abuse, domestic abuse, sex & dangerous offenders & vulnerable & intimidated witnesses.



Public Service Agreement


Identifies the Government's highest priorities from the Comprehensive Spending Review & sets out the key priority outcomes the Government wants to achieve.



Police Staff Council


Negotiates national agreements on pay and conditions of service for police staff (including PCSOs) in England and Wales, excluding the Metropolitan Police.



Police Use of Resources

PURE involves auditors assessing whether police authorities and forces are achieving value for money, effective financial management and good standards of governance and accountability.



Protecting Vulnerable People

The combined responsibilities of the Domestic Abuse Unit, Child Protection Unit & Public Protection Unit.



Persistent Young Offenders

A young person aged 10 to 17 years who has been sentenced by any criminal court in the UK on 3 or more separate occasions for 1 or more recordable offence.



Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

The Act legislates for using methods of surveillance and information gathering to help the prevention of crime, including terrorism.



Road Traffic Collision





Special Branch


Deals with any matters which may involve any form of subversive activity, such as terrorism which may affect life or property, acquiring intelligence in relation to national security & domestic extremism.



Senior Investigating officer

The primary manager responsible for leading an investigation.



Safety Neighbourhood Teams

A combined team of Police Officers, PCSOs & Special Constables who undertake high profile policing in local communities to tackle anti-social behaviour & issues of local concern



Serious Organised Crime Agency

SOCA is an intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers and harm reduction responsibilities.



Scenes of Crime Officer


Civilian personnel employed by Police Authorities to investigate crime scenes in order to recover evidence by use of fingerprints, photographic & forensic techniques.


Strategic Policing Requirement

The shadow strategic policing requirement is a statement of the collective capabilities that police forces across England and Wales will be expected to have in place in order to protect the public from cross-boundary threats such as terrorism, civil emergencies, public disorder and organised crime.



Safer School Partnership


Representatives from the Police & other bodies who aim to protect children & young people from harm, reduce youth crime & anti-social behaviour, prevent children & young from becoming victims, support a safer school environment, ensuring that participating bodies have suitably trained staff in place



Scientific Support Unit


Provides technical expertise & equipment to support criminal investigations using fingerprint, photographic & forensic science technology.



Victim and Witness Information Partnership

A multi-agency partnership that seeks to ensure that victims & witnesses are treated sensitively, are kept informed of developments within their case & have information & advice at all stages in the process.



Witness and Victim Experience Survey

A Government survey designed to help to determine victim & witness satisfaction with the criminal justice system.



Youth Offending Team


Representatives from the Police & other bodies that focus on preventing offending of young people aged between 10 and 17 who have offended or are likely to offend.


Hierarchy of Police Rank



Chief Constable


Deputy Chief Constable


Assistant Chief Constable


Chief Superintendent

Ch Supt



Chief Inspector