Other Police Ranks

Below the rank of chief superintendent, police forces in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland share the same titles, and officers should be addressed in the same way. There is no longer any differentiation between male and female officers.

At the beginning of a letter to a chief inspector, inspector, police sergeant or police constable, the appropriate rank is placed before the name, eg ‘Dear Chief Inspector Lisle’. The rank is also placed on the envelope before the name.

Police sergeant is often abbreviated to PS, police constable to PC, detective sergeant to DS and detective constable to DC. T

‘Ma’am’ is commonly used to verbally address female officers of the rank of inspector and above in British police forces. Although the correct pronunciation is to rhyme the word with ‘lamb’, female officers are still generally addressed as ‘Ma’am’ rhyming with ‘harm’.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are elected to a four-year term in a police area of England and Wales. They are not warranted police officers.

For the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) the prefix ‘Detective’ is added to the ranks from constable to chief superintendent, eg ‘Detective Inspector Sheraton’.

How to Address a Police Officer

The recommended style of address is as follows:

Beginning of letter Dear Chief Superintendent Smith (or appropriate rank)
Envelope Chief Superintendent/Inspector John Smith, or John Smith, Esq
Verbal communication Chief Superintendent, Inspector etc or by name

 

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