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A Basic Command Unit (BCU) is the largest unit into which territorial British Police forces are divided[1] This may actually be called a BCU or may have another designation, such as Division, Area, Local Policing Unit (LPU), or Local Policing Team (LPT). There are 228 BCUs (or equivalent units) in England and Wales.

Most forces are divided into at least three BCUs and some have many more. Most BCUs are further subdivided into smaller units. The BCU is usually commanded by a Chief Superintendent.[2]


Metropolitan PoliceEdit

The Metropolitan Police use the term Borough Operational Command Unit (BOCU) for regional units (which are based on the 32 London boroughs). The term Operational Command Unit (OCU) is used for specialised units, for example the Aviation Security OCU.

However, since March 2018 the Metropolitan Police now has 3 BCU's "Basic Command Units". 1) Central North - the joining of Islington and Camden Boroughs. 2) East Area - the joining of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge Boroughs. 3) Central East - the joining of Tower Hamlets and Hackney boroughs. As of January 2019 the Metropolitan Police has a 4th BCU 4) West Area - The joint of Ealing, Hounslow and Hillingdon

West Midlands PoliceEdit

West Midlands Police is split into 10 Local Policing Units (LPUs). Each LPU is in turn organized into four Core Policing Teams (CPTs) that manage its different core functions: Investigation, Neighbourhood, Response and Community Action and Priority Team (CAPT).

Warwickshire PoliceEdit

Warwickshire Police has abolished BCUs, the first British territorial police force to do so. The force is now divided directly into five Districts, each headed by a Chief Inspector. These were formerly grouped into two Areas (BCUs), North and South, each headed by a Chief Superintendent.


  1. ^ Basic Command Unit replaces the earlier terms Sub-Division and Division that had been in use since the 1880s.
  2. ^ Neighbourhood Statistics. "Notifiable Offences Recorded by the Police 2001/2002". Retrieved 2009-06-09.