constabulary n : the force of policemen and officers; "the law came looking for him" [syn: police, police force, law]
EtymologyFrom mediaeval Latin conestabularia, a noun use of the feminine version of conestabularius, from constabulus, from comes stabuli, literally ‘master of the stables’.
- A police force.
- The police in a particular district or area.
Usage notesConstabulary is a collective noun and usually has no plural. Only when describing groups of constabularies is it used in the plural sense. For example, the constabularies of England and Wales form part of the constabulary of the United Kingdom.
Constabulary may have several definitions.
- A large civil police force organized and trained along military lines, which may contain paramilitary elements. This is the usual definition in places outside of Great Britain (e.g. Royal Irish Constabulary, Royal Ulster Constabulary, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Pennsylvania Constabulary, Jamaica Constabulary Force etc.). These were based on the French Gendarmerie, originally consisting of military personnel seconded to or recruited directly to the constabulary or military veterans and later became all civilian forces after they were well established.
- A military or para-military type force consisting of soldiers trained for police duties. These were mostly established by the United States in the several countries it had protective status over (e.g. Philippine Constabulary, United States Constabulary in West Germany after World War II, Nicaraguan National Guard, Panama National Guard). These forces also performed military functions by maintaining "mobile forces" of organised units. In Europe such forces are called Gendarmeries or (in Italy) Carabinieri.
A partial list of constabulary around the world:
- Royal Irish Constabulary - Britain's paramilitary police force in Ireland from 1822 - 1922.
- Royal Ulster Constabulary - Britain's paramilitary police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 - 2001 when it was reformed as the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
- United States Constabulary
- Arizona Rangers - existed from 1901 - 1909 and reformed as the auxiliary branch of the Arizona Highway Patrol in 1957
- California State Rangers - existed from 1854 - 1887 when it was merged into the California State Police which in turn was merged with the California Highway Patrol in 1995
- New Mexico Mounted Police - now called the New Mexico State Police
- Massachusetts State Police - very paramilitary in its early years. Now totally demilitarized outside of the training academy.
- Pennsylvania Constabulary - now called the Pennsylvania State Police
- Ulster Special Constabulary
- Royal Hong Kong Police Force
- British South Africa Police
- South African Police
- Philippine Constabulary - now called the Philippine National Police since 1991.
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