I need a little clarification in here about the usage of Police cop. Is using a 'Police cop' to define the police personnel grammatically wrong in written English.

  • 1
    Using them together is quite funny (because they're basically the same thing), hence why this comedy duo refer to themselves as Police Cops
    – Richard
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 19:05
  • @Richard I think the origin of that is the Simpsons from 1999.
    – user71659
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 23:02

3 Answers 3


'Police cop' used as a noun to denote a police officer would be an example of 'redundancy' (saying or writing the same thing twice - a 'cop' is a police officer, so 'a police cop' means 'a police police officer') like e.g. "navy sailor" or "air force airman" and would not be used by native speakers. However it is not grammatically wrong, just as 'police car' or 'police building' are not 'grammatically' wrong. One way that "police cop" would not be redundant would be if it referred to a specialised police officer whose job was to detect wrongdoing by other police officers. In English usage, redundancy is usually defined as the use of two or more words that say the same thing, but we also use the term to refer to any expression in which a modifier’s meaning is contained in the word it modifies.


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    I've heard police cop used informally to refer to people who work in Internal Affairs. (In other words, people who police the police.) Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 14:04
  • 2
    Quis custodiet, eh? Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 14:23
  • I should note that in British usage, any member of the Royal Navy or the Royal Air Force is known as a 'sailor' or 'airman/airwoman' respectively, even if their duties do not involve sailing in ships or flying in planes. Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 14:49
  • Since anybody who works on a seagoing vessel is a sailor ...
    – Joshua
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 16:08
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    I was noting the redundancy of "navy sailor". There are parts of the British navy (and others, I think) that exist on land; dockyards, air bases, depots of various kinds, and so on, and an enlisted person or officer of that navy is still a "sailor" even if he or she never goes in a ship or boat. Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 16:22

"Police cop" is incorrect.

List of alternatives:
"The police" is alright.
"The Police" is a good rock band.
"police officer"
"cop". Informal usage.


It would be very rare that it is right to use this. An example: There is "military police" which handles police situations in the army. You might ask "is this man with the military police" and someone could then answer "no, he is a police cop" to make very clear that he is with the "ordinary" police.

In most cases "police cop" will be very redundant and native speakers wouldn't use the term.

  • In Britain, a non-military police officer is a civilian police officer (or "cop" etc). Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 16:24

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