Dear teachers,

I should appreciate it if someone could tell me why there is no definite article before the plural noun phrase "West Midlands Police", and why the verbs following it are not in the plural:

"West Midlands Police is leading the project and has until the end of March 2019 to produce a prototype."

Thank you very much

Selvakumarwhy there is no definite article

West Midlands Police is treated as singular because it is one organization.



This is an interesting question. Apparently this particular police dept. is always referred to in the singular (and usually without an article - Brits like to omit the article whenever possible), for example:

"West Midlands is investigating the incident."

"The Force is investigating the incident."

"Midlands" is investigating the incident."

"West Midlands Force is investigating the incident."

So this police dept., by tradition, has acquired a singular sense and is always referred to in the singular, as it is here.

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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.

Thank you, CalifJim and anonymous, for your replies.

About 20 years ago, if I am not wrong, I wrote to Oxford dictionary to find out the historical reasons for treating "police" as a plural noun, particularly when it can be like any other collective nouns like "team", "group", "government" and "family", which in British English can accept either singular or plural verbs (depending on the emphasis and meaning). A sub-editor (whose name I can't recall now), replied to me, saying that "police" had, at one time, been like the aforesaid collective nouns, and he cited example sentences to show that it was grammatically acceptable in the 19th (or 18th?) century to use singular verbs with that noun. To wit, "police are" was considered unidiomatic and ungrammatical then. (If you give me some time, I should be able to find the letter that he sent me).

I have just read an article on Oxford Dictionary website that says that there is now a growing trend that suggests that soon "police" will be treated like any other collective nouns that go with either singular or plural verbs.