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  1. #1
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question "Plainclothes police officer"?

    Hi,
    Is this term used commonly in English? Any informal word to refer to such police members?


    Thanks.

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    Yes, this is a common term in American English. Informally, we'd say, "undercover cop."

  3. #3
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    Yes, this is a common term in American English. Informally, we'd say, "undercover cop."

    Many thanks, dear Mukwyner.
    And is there any British informal term for this too? Hope some British speaker will see this, too.


    Regards

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    A plainclothes policeman isn't necessarily undercover.
    For example, we have police in plain clothes who drive unmarked police cars on the highways, to catch speeding motorists (and for revenue raising). I wouldn't call these undercover cops. 'Undercop cop', to me, implies someone who disguises himself and infiltrates an organisation, pretending to be someone he's not. Plainclothes cops don't pretend not to be cops; they just don't advertise the fact.

  5. #5
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    A plainclothes policeman isn't necessarily undercover.
    For example, we have police in plain clothes who drive unmarked police cars on the highways, to catch speeding motorists (and for revenue raising). I wouldn't call these undercover cops. 'Undercop cop', to me, implies someone who disguises himself and infiltrates an organisation, pretending to be someone he's not. Plainclothes cops don't pretend not to be cops; they just don't advertise the fact.

    Thanks dear Raymott. Can I conclude that "undercover cop" has nothing to do with their clothes? And, is there any informal term for this? (I mean it must be sort of abstract.)

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Thanks dear Raymott. Can I conclude that "undercover cop" has nothing to do with their clothes?
    Well, undercover cops don't wear a uniform. They have that in common with plainclothes cops. You don't wear a police uniform if you're trying to infiltrate a bikie gang, for example. You wear bikie's clothes.
    And, is there any informal term for this?
    For what? - undercover work? or plainclothes work? These are informal terms (I think). The technical term might be something like 'covert assignment' - but don't quote me.
    In Australia, the detective division don't wear uniforms.
    (I mean it must be sort of abstract.) ?
    The terms would probably be different in different countries.

  7. #7
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Many thanks, dear Mukwyner.
    And is there any British informal term for this too? Hope some British speaker will see this, too.


    Regards
    We're not ignoring you, Mehrgan.

    It's just that, to my knowledge, we have no informal term for plainclothes police officers, at least in general parlance. I suspect the criminal classes have a few choice words for them, but unless they write in to enlighten us we may never know.

    I agree with Raymott that they are not necessarily working undercover. They may be deployed in sensitive situations where the presence of a uniformed officer might be intimidating - such as interviewing children or the mentally disturbed.

    Rover
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 12-Feb-2011 at 22:32.

  8. #8
    Coolfootluke is offline Member
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Hi,
    Is this term used commonly in English? Any informal word to refer to such police members?


    Thanks.
    I am not a teacher.

    You can say "plainclothes police officer" and sound normal. There is also "plainclothesman", believe it or not. I do not know of a general informal word for that.

  9. #9
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    We're not ignoring you, Mehrgan.

    It's just that, to my knowledge, we have no informal term for plainclothes police officers, at least in general parlance. I suspect the criminal classes have a few choice words for them, but unless they write in to enlighten us we may never know.

    I agree with Raymott that they are not necessarily working undercover. They may be deployed in sensitive situations where the presence of a uniformed officer might be intimidating - such as interviewing children or the mentally disturbed.

    Rover

    Thanks for your consideration. Since I love British English I had a gut feeling that there must be a hypocorism for this term!


    Thanks to all dear posters.

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: "Plainclothes police officer"?

    You could also describe a plainclothes policeman as being 'in civvies' - meaning 'in the clothes of a civilian' - but this expression could be applied to anyone who wears uniform when on duty (soldiers, sailors, doormen, parking attendants...).

    b

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