Scotland Yard is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London. To most people, its name immediately brings to mind the picture of a detective – cool, collected, efficient, ready to track down any criminal with complete confidence that he will bring him to justice, or a helmeted police-constable – that familiar figure of the London scene and trusty helper of every traveller from overseas.
Scotland Yard is situated on the Thames Embankment close to the Houses of Parliament and the familiar clock tower of Big Ben, and its jurisdiction extends over 740 square miles with the exception of the ancient City of London, which possesses its own separate Police force.
Apart from the 999 Room, one of the most interesting places in Scotland Yard is the Map Room. Here is the General Crime Map, the Deaths by Violence Map, the Accidents Map.
An interesting branch of Scotland Yard is the branch of Police Dogs, first used as an experiment in 1938. Now these dogs are an important part “of the Force. One dog, for example, can search a warehouse in ten minutes, whereas the same search would take six men an hour.
There is also the River Police, which has its own crime investigation officers who handle all crimes occurring within its river boundaries.
There are two other departments of Scotland Yard – the Witness Room (known as the Rogues’ Callery) where a photographic record of known or suspected criminals is kept, and the Museum, which contains murder relics, forgery exhibits and coining moulds.
The name “Scotland Yard” originates from the plot of land adjoining Whitehall Palace where, in about the 14th century, the royalty and nobility of Scotland stayed when visiting the English Court.
The popular nickname of the London policeman “bobby” is a tribute to Sir Robert Peel, who introduced the police force in 1829, and whose Christian name attached itself to members of the force.