Chief inspector

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Chief inspector (Ch Insp) is a rank used in police forces which follow the British model. In countries outside Britain, it is sometimes referred to as chief inspector of police (CIP).

Usage by country




The rank of chief inspector is used in the New South Wales Police and South Australia Police. Victoria Police declassified the rank in the mid-1990s. In both forces, it is senior to the rank of inspector and junior to the rank of superintendent. The insignia consists of a crown, the same insignia as that of a Major in the army.



The Sûreté du Québec and the City of Montreal Police Service (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal or SPVM) utilize the rank of chief inspector. In both forces, the insignia consists of four gold stripes, similar to the former insignia of a colonel in the Canadian Army and Air Force. Until 1978, the SPVM used British-pattern insignia for the rank consisting of a crown over two pips, also utilizing the rank of assistant chief inspector (a crown over one pip). Both ranks were subsequently abolished. The rank of chief inspector was restored in the SPVM in 1995 and the current insignia adopted in 1997.[1]

Hong Kong


In the Hong Kong Police Force, a chief inspector is normally the second-in-command of a headquarters unit or a division.



In the Japanese National Police Agency, a chief inspector (警部 keibu) serves as the squad commander in a police station and leader of a riot company. Prior to a 2013 restructuring that changed the English translation slightly, this rank was that of inspector.

Papua New Guinea


In the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, a chief inspector is normally a police station commander or the second-in-command of the Police Training College. It is a rank between senior inspector and superintendent.



In the Philippines, chief inspector is a rank in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Bureau of Fire Protection. It is above senior inspector and below superintendent and is regarded as the equivalent of major in the Philippine Army.



In the Romanian Police, inspector principal is a rank senior to inspector and junior to Subcomisar and corresponds to the former rank of police captain.



The rank has been abolished by the Singapore Police Force, except for the Gurkha Contingent.

Sri Lanka


In the Sri Lanka Police Service, chief inspector of Police (CIP) is senior to inspector and junior to assistant superintendent of police. In large cities, a chief inspector is the officer in charge (OIC) of a large police station. The rank insignia for a chief inspector is three stars.

United Kingdom

UK police chief inspector epaulette

In the British police, a chief inspector is senior to an inspector and junior to a superintendent.

Today, the function of chief inspectors varies from force to force. They may assist Basic Command Unit (BCU) commanders, command smaller units, or fill various staff posts. In some forces such as Hampshire Constabulary and Sussex Police, the chief inspector is the senior officer in command of a district (usually consisting of one or more local authority areas). In this respect they have replaced superintendents as the head police officer of larger towns.

Detective chief inspector (DCI) is usually the minimum rank held by a senior investigating officer (SIO), who heads major investigations (e.g. murder), and a pool of these officers usually works out of force headquarters or major police stations. The senior Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer in each BCU usually also holds this rank.

The rank badge of a chief inspector is three Bath stars ("pips") worn on the epaulettes. This is the same badge as a captain in the British Army. Until 1953, chief inspectors in the Metropolitan Police wore a crown on their epaulettes instead.

Chief inspector was one of the ranks proposed for abolition in the 1994 Sheehy Report, but in the end it was retained.

A number of city and burgh police forces in Scotland used the rank of lieutenant until 1948, when it was replaced by chief inspector.[2]

Metropolitan Police


The rank was introduced into the Metropolitan Police in 1868 and was first used by Adolphus Williamson, the first head of the Detective Branch (later the Criminal Investigation Department). When Williamson was promoted to superintendent shortly afterwards, three of his inspectors were promoted to chief inspector and the rank was firmly established. In 1869 it was also introduced as a uniformed rank, with the senior assistant to the divisional superintendent being given the rank. The rank subsequently spread to other police forces.

From 1933, every Metropolitan Police division had two chief inspectors: chief inspector (administration) and chief inspector (crime) (the latter also being a uniformed administrative officer and not replacing the divisional detective inspector (DDI)). From 1949, sub-divisional inspectors and DDIs were regraded as chief inspectors and current chief inspectors were regraded as superintendents. From 1953, chief inspectors commanding sub-divisions and detective chief inspectors commanding divisional CIDs were regraded as superintendents grade I, other chief inspectors were regraded as superintendents grade II, and a redefined rank of chief inspector was created for senior inspectors. Since 1974, the Metropolitan Police has only had one rank of superintendent, in common with the rest of the country.

From January 1954, there was one superintendent grade I and one chief inspector in each sub-division, and one chief superintendent, one superintendent grade II and one detective superintendent grade I in each division.[3] A detective chief inspector was added in each division later in 1954.[4]

It was announced in October 2016 that the rank (along with the rank of commander) would be phased out of the Metropolitan Police Service by October 2018;[5] however, this plan was later cancelled.[6]



A chief inspector's starting salary is £58,332 or £60,654 if serving in London. After three years, it increases to £60,732 or £63,058 if serving in London.[7]

Famous fictional characters



  1. ^ "Historique des grades depuis 1972" (PDF). SPVM. July 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  2. ^ Report of the Committee of Inquiry on the Police, 1978
  3. ^ Report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for the Year 1953
  4. ^ Report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for the Year 1954
  5. ^ "Met police to modernise its rank structure". Archived from the original on 2017-11-20. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  6. ^ "Met cancels plans to abolish two ranks - UK Police News - Police Oracle". Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2017-08-25.
  7. ^ "Police Federation - Inspector Pay Scales".