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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.


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 Policemarker and Western Australia Policemarker) or the rank of Chief Inspector 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 Detective 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" (county inspector), "Abteilungsinspektor" (office inspector), "Kontrollinspektor" (control inspector) and "Chefinspektor" (chief inspector).

In Austria the "Inspektor" is a colloquial name for any detective which is used independent of the actual rank.


In most Canadian police services the rank of Inspector is the first above the sergeant ranks. It is usually immediately below the rank of Superintendent. Senior Inspectors are higher ranking administrative rank in Canada's police forces.


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 contemporary Germanymarker, "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), "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 "Bauinspector" (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 detective rank just like in Austria.

Hong Kong

In the Hong Kong Police Force, inspector (including probationary inspector and senior inspector) is the rank senior to station sergeant and junior to chief inspector, an inspector is a leader of a team, a shift or a police station. The rank badge of probation inspector is one silver star on his/her shoulder pad. The rank badge of inspector is two silver stars on his/her shoulder pad. The rank badge of senior inspector is two silver stars above a silver horrizonly bar on his/her shoulder badge. The rank badge of chief inspector is three silver stars on his/her shoulder pad. The Hong Kong Customs and Excise Services also have inspector ranks like the Hong Kong Police Force. The rank badge is similar to HKP, but their stars and bar are bronze.


In the police forces of Indiamarker, an inspector is a commissioned police officer ranking above a Sub-Inspector and below a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) or an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). In the Rural areas Inspectors generally (but not always) have jurisdictions over more than one police station (generally under a Sub-Inspector of Police). However, in many cities, Inspectors would be the Station House Officer (SHO) at every police station. The rank insignia for a Police Inspector is three stars, and a red and blue striped ribbon at the outer edge of the shoulder straps. In rural areas where an inspector is in charge of a police circle (consisting more than one police station) he is also referred to as "Circle Inspector" (CI).


In the Indonesian National Police, there are four levels of inspector, which are First Police Inspector (Inspektur Polisi Satu), Second Police Inspector (Inspektur Polisi Dua), First Police Inspector Adjutant (Ajun Inspektur Polisi Satu), and Second Police Inspector Adjutant (Ajun Inspektur Polisi Dua). Those ranks are below the rank of Police Commissioner Adjutant (Ajun Komisaris Polisi) and above the rank of Chief Police Brigadier (Brigadir Polisi Kepala).

Republic of Ireland

In the Garda Síochána, inspector is senior to Sergeant and junior to Superintendent. Inspectors can 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 Sergeant of 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 Superiore ("Special 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 Sicurezza ("Special 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 Superore - Sostituto Commissario ("Special Inspector - Substitute Commissioner"). Inspectors can serve either in uniformed patrol duties, plain-clothed patrol duties, or as detectives.


In Malaysiamarker's police force, the rank Inspector is one step above the Sub-Inspector and one step under Assistant Superintendent. There are three stages: probation inspector (three years probation), inspector and chief inspector. Inspectors are recruited differently from the normal police constable. Their training is also longer.


In the Romanian Police, inspector is a rank senior to Subinspector and junior to Inspector principal and corresponds to the former rank of Police Lieutenant (see Romanian Police Ranks).

Sri Lanka

In the Sri Lanka Police Service, Inspector of Police (IP) is a gazetted officer rank senior to Sub-Inspector and junior to Chief Inspector. In many cities, Inspectors would be the Officer in Charge (OIC) at most police stations. The rank insignia for a Police Inspector is two stars.

United Kingdom

Within the British police, Inspector is the second supervisory rank. Inspector 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 in specialist roles such as supervising traffic policing.

Plain clothes Detective Inspectors are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts, the prefix 'detective' identifies them as being trained in criminal investigations and being part of or attached to CID.

Uniformed Inspectors epaulettes do not feature a divisional or personal identification number, unlike that of Constables and Sergeants. Instead they feature Order of the Bath stars, informally known as "pips", being the same insignia as a Lieutenant in the British Army.

Newly promoted Inspectors are paid a salary of £43,000, rising to £46,000.

Many Commonwealth police forces also use the rank. The rank has existed since the foundation of the Metropolitan Police formed in 1829, when it ranked directly below Superintendent.

United States

In the United States, the term inspector can have very different meanings depending on the law enforcement agency. For example, in the San Francisco Police Department, inspector is the normal title for a detective, and the investigative branch of the SFPD is called the Bureau of Inspectors.

In the Berkeleymarker, Californiamarker, Police Department, inspector was once the title used for an investigative supervisor who commanded a specific specialized detail, like Homicide, Robbery, or Property Crimes, within the department's Detective Division. They ranked between sergeants and lieutenants and, on the comparatively rare occasions when they wore uniforms, their rank insignia was identical to that worn by warrant officers in the US Armed Forces. The title has since been phased out, and the duties once performed by inspectors are now performed by detective sergeants.

In the Wisconsin State Patrol, inspectors are state troopers assigned to the motor carrier safety inspection unit where they enforce trucking laws and regulations.

In the Hayward, California Police Department, the rank of inspector is a civil service rank above a detective and below that of a sergeant.

In the New York City Police Department, inspector is a high-ranking executive position, two grades above a Captain, and one grade above a Deputy Inspector. In the LAPD, the rank of inspector, one grade above captain, was changed to commander in 1974, because LAPD senior officers preferred the more military-sounding title.

In the FBImarker, 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, the model for Inspector Lew Erskine, the fictional character played by Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in the 1965-1974 ABC TV series The FBI, was perhaps the best-known of the Bureau's Major Case Inspectors. The United States Marshals Service employs a similar position.

In the Postal Inspection Service, inspector is the name given to 1811 Criminal Investigators, better known as special agents in most other Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.

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. An agency may have an Inspector General responsible for preventing internal fraud, waste, abuse and other agency deficiencies. These positions are commonly known as the Fire Inspector or Building Inspector. The duty it act is based on the adopted building or fire code in the municipality.



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