It is grammatical to use plural verb with police or the police. But when we say Delhi Police, London Police, California Police, etc., why do we use singular verb? I've seen this so many times in news.

Delhi Police asks motorists to avoid Connaught Place...

Delhi Police has registered two cases...

Also the initial letter of Police is capitalized in this case. Why?

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    Also check “police are” or “police is”
    – user3169
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 16:58
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    I disagree that this is a duplicate. Police here is being used as part of a proper noun (Delhi Police), which is different to the linked question, which is talking about its use as a common or collective noun. Commented May 25, 2015 at 19:59
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    THIS IS NOT A DUPLICATE - these close voters are lazy!! :( Bad close voters, bad, bad :( Close these close voters ;) Commented May 26, 2015 at 12:25
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    @Adam But the question about singularity/plurality in the OP's type of example is not answered in the linked-to question. As the OP says, there are lots of instances out there in published books and magazines of Delhi Police/police is. That's the point of this question. The usage seems at first glance to contradict the answers on that post. The OP says as much in their question! :-) Commented May 26, 2015 at 13:28
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    @Araucaria I've reread the offered options and you and starsplusplus are both right (and I'm sorry I voted to close hastily, I thought that the answer about a 'police department' in the question suggested in the comments resolves the issue, but it doesn't specifically mention proper nouns - please don't close me :-)). I hereby apologize to the OP.
    – Lucky
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 14:59

3 Answers 3


OALD says police is plural. No usage note. But see this article of Oxford Words blog. http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/09/agreement-over-collective-nouns/

If you see "police" as an organisation, as a whole, you can use it as a singular, when you see "police" as a group of civil servants you can use it as a plural.

  • What about the capitalization?
    – Gurpreet
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 10:24
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    Dehli Police is considered the proper name of the organisation.
    – rogermue
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 11:07
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    +1 Phew, this question got one good answer before it got wrongly closed! Nice link. Commented May 26, 2015 at 12:28
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    @Gurpreet You are right: Your question is about the proper noun "Delhi Police", while the Oxford Words blog post is about the common noun "police". Notice the capitalization of "Colchester police".
    – Ben Kovitz
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 18:49
  • @rogermue The link you provided describes collective noun without the capitalization of the first letter of Police.
    – Gurpreet
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 4:00

Perhaps the usage is different in India. But in the U.S., I think "police" is always used as a plural, even if referring to a specific police department, PROVIDED THAT "police" is being used as a noun and not an adjective. When it's used as an adjective, than of course the noun governs the number of the verb.

That is:

"The Michigan State Police are advising citizens to avoid Detroit."

"The Michigan State Police Department is advising citizens to avoid Detroit."

We wouldn't say, "The Michigan Police is ..." It's always "are".


In this context, the entire phrase "Delhi Police" is a proper noun. It is an abbreviation of "the Delhi Police Department" (or whatever the official name actually is). As rogermue says, the department can be singular or plural depending on linguistic preference. Generally:

  • If "Department" is present, AmE favors treating the whole phrase as singular (regarding "the department" as a single organization).
  • If "Department" is absent, AmE is either neutral or favors plural (regarding "the police" as a collection of individuals).
  • BrE is either neutral or favors plural, regardless of whether "Department" is present (can assume either interpretation).

Using zero article in front of "Delhi Police" is a bit weirder, in my AmE opinion. But, in my somewhat limited experience with Indian English speakers, omitting the definite article is not uncommon, at least in simple sentences like this one. However, many AmE and BrE native speakers will label it as incorrect, so I would recommend including "the" here, at least if you have an American or British audience in mind:

The Delhi Police [Department/--] [ask/asks] motorists to avoid Connaught Place...

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