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History Question-Police?

Discussion in 'History & Military Discussion' started by sapphirenebula, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. How did the term 'police', often in English letters, the colors of lights and uniforms, and the overall shape of the uniform and badges get so standardized over the years?

    A recent video I saw of police around the world I saw many police from around the world with similar looks. Not the same, but noticeable similar.

    How did that happen? When did this happen?
  2. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

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  3. Police look similar around the world is due, largely, to imperial influence perpetuating its symbols everywhere. It's why military uniforms all look familiar too.
  4. Ironanvil1

    Ironanvil1 Riding a metaphorical pony Magistrate

    Luton Airport
    A lot of Sillitoe Tartan as well.
  5. The answer probably depends on the region and culture in question, and when and how it became opened to the rest of the world.

    For example, up until the early-mid 90s, the Hungarian Police didn't use the word police on anywhere, only the Hungarian equivalent "Rendőrség". If you watch older footage and pictures of other nations' police forces, you'd see the same too, especially for places that didn't have lots of influence from the Anglosphere (and not many tourists).

    EDIT: also it's not universal at all. For example neither the German or Austrian Federal Police (Bundespolizei), nor the Polish national Police (Policja) or the Romanian national police (Politia), or the Finnish national police (Poliisi or Polisen for Swedes) use the English word on their uniforms, coat of arms, or vehicles.As you see, the only common thing in these forces' name, is all of them derived from French word police, which came from the old Latin politia.

    Hungarian police car from the 1970s-80s: (source).
    Two other paintjob/setup: source

    For the color of lights it's a very different question, that probably got standardized probably very early, and as far I and the Hungarian law concerned, there isn't a dedicated light color for police. They use the same siren (siren sound can be different among the services, but that's also irrelevant to the legality) and flashing blue lights setup as every other emergency services and state VIP transport services use. The red light is still optional, and not legal without a blue light.

    Uniforms similarity come out of the same necessity of form follows function, as the uniform identifies the wearer to the general public, as the member of the law enforcement and tailored for their needs too.

    Which might involve the need to not look too similar to the military, which a lot of older uniforms do. Like these Hungarian Police uniforms from 1961:

    which would look very similar to the Hungarian People's Army uniforms of the era, or even the Soviet military uniforms which "inspired" both. This design for example have been kept more or less similar until they started to replace them in 2002 with a different attire. (Current uniforms here and here)
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  6. That's not true, you are coming with us, comrade ...
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  7. I wonder what's the etymology of those words.

    Politia and Poliisi and Police and others do sound similar.
  8. Ironanvil1

    Ironanvil1 Riding a metaphorical pony Magistrate

    Luton Airport
    They're all broadly the same "public order" derivation.
  9. source

    more or less every other language took the term from the French (who formed the first dedicated police force in 1667), and as usual, adopted to their native language over the years. Except the English, who followed their centuries old tradition of wholesale pilfering of words from the French ... ;)

    Except for example the Hungarians, who came up with their own term rendőrség, where rend means order, őrség is guard(ian) service, though it's origin is traced to the German term Polizei-Landreiter, during the early 19th language reformation movement, whose main aim was to come up with new words for a lot of terms the language lacked and took from Germans.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
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