Inspector is both a police rank and an administrative position, both
used in a number of contexts. However, it is not an equivalent rank in
each police force.
3.1 Staff Inspector
6 Hong Kong
12 Papua New Guinea
18 Sri Lanka
19 United Kingdom
20 United States
20.1 Municipal police
20.2 State police
20.3 Federal agencies
20.4 Administrative law
21 In popular culture
22 See also
In Australian police forces, the rank of
Inspector is generally the
next senior rank from Senior
Sergeant and is less senior than a
superintendent (in the cases of the Queensland
Police and Western
Australia Police) in the other Australian police forces. Members
holding the rank usually wear an epaulette featuring three silver
pips, the same rank badge as a Captain in the army. In addition to the
general rank of Inspector, some police forces use other ranks such as
Inspector and District Inspector.
In Austria a similar scheme was used as in Germany. At some point the
police inspector was completely removed from the list of service
ranks. The current police service has an inspectors service track with
"Inspektor" being the entry level – it is followed by
"Revierinspektor" (precinct inspector), "Gruppeninspektor" (group
inspector), "Bezirksinspektor" (district inspector),
"Abteilungsinspektor" (section inspector), "Kontrollinspektor"
(control inspector) and "Chefinspektor" (chief inspector).
In most Canadian police services the rank of inspector is the first
above the staff sergeant rank. It is usually immediately below the
rank of superintendent. Senior inspectors are a high administrative
rank in Canada's police forces and are considered to be the first
level of senior management.
Police Services and the majority of Municipal Police
Services, such as the Toronto
Police Service have a staff inspector
rank, which ranks above inspector and below superintendent.
Other commonwealth police agencies and some American police
departments, such as the Philadelphia
Police Department also have
In the French National Police, inspecteur is a former rank of members
of the Command and Management Corps. There were several grades of
Inspecteur, with senior detectives holding the various grades of
commissaire. See French National
Police for current ranks. In the
French customs, inspecteur is the first rank of members of the Command
and Management Corps.
In contemporary Germany, "Inspektor" is a civil service rank. It is
the lowest and therefore the entry rank of the gehobener Dienst (upper
service) requiring a degree from a three-year administrative college.
The rank is not used in the German police services; there the
equivalent of Inspektor is Kommissar. In earlier times the upper
service track was called "Inspektorenlaufbahn" (inspectors service
track) ranging from "Inspektor", "Oberinspektor" (senior inspector),
"Amtmann", "Amtsrat" to "Oberamtsrat" (senior supervisor).
The title is used on many professional areas that require an
inspection service, like "Brandinspektor" (fire inspector in the fire
department), "Steuerinspektor" (tax inspector in the financial
department) or "Bauinspektor" (building inspector in building control)
that are in a supervision position of their department. In many
administration parts a corresponding position exists like the
"Regierungsinspektor" (government inspector on the federal level),
"Stadtinspektor"/"Stadtverwaltungsinspektor" (city administration
inspector), "Kreisinspektor"/"Kreisverwaltungsinspektor" (county
administration inspector) that serve in supervision of the department.
In some regions the "Inspektor" is a colloquial name for any police
officer just like in Austria.
In the Hong Kong
Police Force, inspector (including probationary
inspector and senior inspector) is the rank senior to station sergeant
but junior to chief inspector, leading a sub-unit in day-to-day
policing. Rank badge of probationary inspector is one silver pip on
his/her epaulette; 2 silver pips for inspector of police; and 2 silver
pips and one bar on for senior inspector of police. The epaulettes
rank badge of chief inspector is 3 silver pips. The epaulettes of all
inspectors do not show their personal identification number.
Plain-clothes detective inspectors have the prefix "detective"
identifying them as having been trained in criminal investigation and
being part of
Criminal Investigation Department
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or Organised
Crime Triad Bureau (OCTB).
Several of the HKP's past and current Commissioner of Chiefs joined
the force as Probationary
Inspector ranks as opposed to the junior
Customs and Excise Department also have inspector ranking but with
bronze stars and bars rank badge instead.
In addition, there are Health Inspectors from the Food and
Environmental Hygiene Department who carry out investigation and
prosecution on sanitary nuisance and irregularities of food business
under related ordinances. They are characterised by golden stars and
yellow rank badge.
In the Indonesian National Police, there are four levels of inspector,
which are First
Inspector (Inspektur Polisi Satu), Senior
Inspector (Inspektur Polisi Dua), First
Adjutant (Ajun Inspektur Polisi Satu), and Second
Adjutant (Ajun Inspektur Polisi Dua). Those ranks are below the rank
Adjutant (Ajun Komisaris Polisi) and above the
rank of Chief
Police Brigadier (Brigadir Polisi Kepala).
Main article: List of police ranks in India
Police in India are typically the officer in charge at a
police station. In a police station in India, there are Constables,
the Head Constables, Sub
Inspector and The Inspector. They have the
three-star insignia to indicate their position and they are high
command officers. Inspector's post is higher than sub inspector's post
whose post is higher than assistant sub inspector's post.
In the Garda Síochána, inspectors are senior to sergeants and junior
to superintendents. Inspectors may be either detectives or in uniform.
In the Polizia di Stato, the position of Ispettore (Inspector)
replaced the rank of Maresciallo after the 1981 reorganization and
demilitarization of the corps; an Ispettore is thus a
several sorts, above the rank of Sovrintendente (Superintendent, which
is somewhat equal to a Senior Corporal) and under the rank of
Commissario. There are three four different
Inspector ranks in the
Polizia di Stato: Vice Ispettore ("Assistant Inspector"), Ispettore
("Inspector"), Ispettore Capo ("Chief Inspector") and Ispettore
Special Inspector", or "Superior Inspector"), roughly
equivalent to the ranks ranging from Junior
Sergeant to Second
Lieutenant. A fifth position, called Ispettore Superiore S.U.P.S.,
where the achronym stands for Sostituto Ufficiale di Pubblica
Inspector – Substitute Public Safety
Commissioned Officer"), is used to designate those Inspectors which
can act as substitutes to Commissioners in the chain of command under
certain situations, or in
Police detachments that are too small to
require the presence of a Commissioner; when this happens, the officer
is named Ispettore Superiore – Sostituto Commissario ("Special
Inspector – Substitute Commissioner"). Inspectors can serve either
in uniformed patrol duties, plain-clothed patrol duties, or as
Inspector ranks are the highest that an Italian Police
officer can reach without having a University degree.
In the Royal Malaysia Police, the rank of
Inspector is one level above
Inspector and one level below Assistant Superintendent. There are
two stages: probation inspector (probation lasts within three years)
and inspector. Inspectors are recruited differently from normal police
constables, requiring at least a degree, and their training is longer.
Papua New Guinea
In the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, the rank of
one level above Chief
Sergeant and below Senior Inspector. Officer
Cadets normally graduate and automatically become an Inspector.
In the Philippines, inspector is a rank in the Philippine National
Police, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Bureau of
Fire Protection. It is above the senior officer 4 (sergeant) and below
the senior inspector (captain). It is regarded as an equivalent of a
lieutenant in the Army.
In Poland, inspector (inspektor) is a high rank (above podinspektor
and młodszy inspektor, but below nadinspektor), comparable to colonel
of the armed forces.
In the Romanian Police, inspector is a rank senior to Subinspector and
Inspector principal and corresponds to the former rank of
Lieutenant (see Romanian
In the Singapore
Police Force, there are several ranks that have the
Inspector in it.
In the junior police officer category, there is the rank of 'Station
Inspector', 'Senior Station Inspector' and 'Senior Station Inspector
(2)'. The title of 'Inspector' is in the senior police officer
category. For National Servicemen, outstanding policemen may be
appointed as a 'National Service Probationary Inspector'.
In the National
Police Cadet Corps, the rank of 'Inspector' is given
to teacher officers or honorary officers who have first entered the
Corps. The rank insignia is two diamonds.
In Spain, the rank of
Inspector exists in the National
Spain (Cuerpo Nacional de Policía), the Catalan
Police Force, and
several municipal police forces.
In the Sri Lanka
Police (IP) is senior to
Inspector and junior to Chief Inspector. In many towns, Inspectors
would be the Officer in Charge (OIC) at most police stations. The rank
insignia for a
Inspector is two stars.
UK police inspector epaulette
Police ranks of the United Kingdom
Within the British police, inspector is the second supervisory rank.
It is senior to that of sergeant, but junior to that of chief
inspector. The rank is mostly operational, meaning that inspectors are
directly concerned with day-to-day policing. Uniformed inspectors are
often responsible for supervising a duty shift made up of constables
and sergeants, or act in specialist roles such as supervising road
The rank of inspector has existed since the foundation of the
Metropolitan Police, formed in 1829, when it was used to designate the
rank immediately below that of superintendent, and many Commonwealth
police forces also use the term.
Plain-clothes detective inspectors are equal in rank to their
uniformed counterparts, the prefix "detective" identifying them as
having been trained in criminal investigation and being part of or
attached to their force's
Criminal Investigation Department
Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The epaulettes of uniformed inspectors, unlike those of constables and
sergeants, do not show a divisional or personal identification number.
Instead they feature
Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath stars, informally known as
"pips", being the same insignia as those of a lieutenant in the
Newly promoted inspectors currently receive a salary of £48,690
(£50,823 London) (2016 payscale) rising to £50,061 (£52,200
In the Metropolitan Police, the rank was formerly officially known as
Inspector to distinguish it from the more senior rank of
Sub-Divisional Inspector (abolished in 1949). A Station
a single star on his epaulettes until 1936, when this changed to a
star over two bars to accommodate the new rank of Junior Station
Inspector (wearing a star over one bar).
In the United States, the term inspector can have very different
meanings depending on the law enforcement agency.
Police ranks of the United States
An inspector in a US municipal police department is more likely to be
a senior executive officer, analogous to a Commonwealth police
superintendent or chief superintendent. It may also be a title held by
a supervisor of detectives.
In the New York City
Police Department, a deputy inspector is one
grade above captain and an inspector is another grade higher, wearing
the insignia of a military colonel. in the Philadelphia Police
Department, a staff inspector is a grade above captain and an
inspector is another grade higher, with the insignia of a lieutenant
colonel. An inspector is also two grades above a captain in the
Police Department, Nassau County
Police Department and
Inspector is more rarely used as a rank that is one grade above
captain, such as in the Metropolitan
Police Department of the District
of Columbia. This is equivalent to a major or commander in other
departments. The Los Angeles
Police Department formerly had a rank of
inspector for this purpose. It was changed to commander in 1974,
because LAPD senior officers preferred the more military-sounding
In the police departments of Hayward, California,
Oklahoma City and
formerly in Berkeley, California, inspector is the rank held by a
In the San Francisco
Police Department, inspector was the normal title
for a detective. Unlike detectives in most other departments,
inspectors in San Francisco always had supervisory duties. The
investigative branch of the SFPD was called the Bureau of Inspectors,
since renamed the Investigations Bureau.
In the Wisconsin State Patrol, and others, inspectors are state
troopers assigned to the motor carrier safety inspection unit where
they enforce trucking laws and regulations.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Division of Motor
Vehicles License and Theft Bureau uses the title of inspector for its
sworn state law enforcement agents/investigators. The inspectors of
this agency investigate motor vehicle theft, title and odometer
frauds, state issued identification and driver's license frauds, as
well as regulate and inspect motor vehicle dealerships, repair shops,
tow and storage facilities, and emissions and safety inspection
centers. The NC DMV License and Theft Bureau is the state's oldest law
enforcement agency and was formed in 1921 to combat vehicle theft with
the rising sales of Ford's Model T. The agency has kept the title
designation of inspector for traditional purposes.
Oregon Liquor Control Commission
Oregon Liquor Control Commission uses the title of inspector for
sworn law enforcement agents who investigate violations of the Liquor
Control Act and other related crimes.
Federal Bureau of Investigations
Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), an inspector is a
special agent whose main duty is inspecting local field offices and
resident agencies to make sure they are operating efficiently. Since
FBI inspectors are not tied to any particular field office, they have,
in the past, also been used as trouble-shooting investigators on major
cases. Joseph Sullivan was perhaps the best-known of the Bureau's
Major Case Inspectors and served as the model for
Erskine, the fictional character played by
Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in the
1965–1974 ABC TV series The FBI.
Samuel P. Cowley
Samuel P. Cowley was an FBI
inspector in the late 1920s and 1930s who assisted in bringing down
notorious gangsters such as
John Dillinger in the early 1930s, before
his death in November 1934 in a gun battle with Baby Face Nelson.
United States Marshals Service
United States Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement
Administration employ similar positions, but they primarily serve as
internal affairs investigators. The United States Park
the rank of
Inspector to the rank of Major, which is between captain
and deputy chief. In the Postal Inspection Service, inspector is the
name given to 1811 job series criminal investigators, better known as
special agents in most other federal law enforcement agencies.
Prior to 2003, the US Customs Service (USCS) and the Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS) had uniformed, law enforcement employees
called Customs Inspectors and Immigration Inspectors. These employees
inspected and processed people and merchandise entering the United
States from foreign countries, at a land border, seaport or airport.
They wore different types of uniforms and had different duties, but
were paid essentially the same. After US Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) was established with the merging of the above two agencies, the
inspectors were retitled Customs and Border Protection Officers and
merged their responsibilities.
In American administrative law, an inspector is an official charged
with the duty to issue permits, such as a building inspector or
sanitation inspector, and to enforce the relevant regulations and
laws. These positions are commonly known as the Fire
Building Inspector. The duty it act is based on the adopted building
or fire code in the municipality. A government agency may also have
Inspector General responsible for preventing internal fraud, waste,
abuse and other agency deficiencies.
In popular culture
In fiction, "Inspector" is often used as a term and title for a
detective, even if their duties and role does not match that of an
inspector in a Commonwealth police force. Examples of fictional
inspectors include the characters of
Inspector Clouseau, Inspector
Inspector Morse and the title character of
Police Service. "Toronto
Police Service :: To Serve and
Protect". Torontopolice.on.ca. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
^ "The Job Vancouver
Police Department". Vancouver.ca. Retrieved
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-11. Retrieved
^ "ranks". phila.gov. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
^ Official Web of Spanish National
Police Force Policia.es, Cuerpo
Nacional de Policía.
Police Badges", The Times, 27 June 1936