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Superintendent (Supt), often shortened to "Super", is a rank in British police services and in most English-speaking Commonwealth nations. In many Commonwealth countries the full version is Superintendent of Police (SP). The rank is also still used in the former British Colony of Hong Kongmarker.


In Australia, the rank of superintendent is the next senior rank from Inspector and is less senior than a Chief Superintendent (Victoria Policemarker, South Australia Police, New South Wales Police, Queensland Policemarker) or an Assistant Commissioner (Western Australia Policemarker).Some officers also hold the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent (though this is seldom used) and Detective Superintendent.Superintendents wear an epaulette bearing one pip below a crown, the same rank badge as a Lieutenant-Colonel and wear police caps with a laurel wreath across the brim to indicate seniority.


In Canadamarker, the rank of Superintendent is usually the next senior rank up from Inspector. Some police forces also have the higher rank of Staff Superintendent (Senior Staff Superintendent) or Area Superintendent.


In Indiamarker, a District Superintendent of Police or Deputy Commissioner of Police heads the police force of a district. Superintendents of Police are officers of the Indian Police Service. Their rank badge is the State Emblem above one star, although those selected for higher rank or with fifteen or more years' service wear the State Emblem above two stars. The rank below it is Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADL.DCP) or Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), while the rank above it is Senior Superintendent of Police or Deputy Commissioner of Police .


In the Republic of Irelandmarker the rank of Superintendent is between Inspector and Chief Superintendent. There are usually two or three assigned to each division. Detectives use the "Detective" prefix. There were 178 Superintendents in An Garda Siochana at the beginning of 2006. In Irish Gaelic, a Garda Superintendent is a Cheannfort, which translates literally as "Headman". Ard-Cheannfort is a Chief Superintendent or "High Headman". Cheannfort is also used for the military rank of "Commandant", equivalent to Major.

Each police District is commanded by a Superintendent. Districts are sub-units of Divisions, which are commanded by Chief Superintendents.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the rank of Superintendent is above Inspector and below Assistant Commissioner. Superintendents are typically appointed as regional commanders, and the chief of the Royal New Zealand Police Collegemarker holds the rank.

Sri Lanka

In the Sri Lanka, Superintendent of Police (SP) is a senior gazetted officer rank senior to Assistant Superintendent of Police and junior to Senior Superintendent of Police. Superintendents are typically appointed as regional commanders of police divisions.

United Kingdom

The rank of Superintendent is senior to Chief Inspector and junior to Chief Superintendent. The rank badge is a crown worn on the epaulettes, the same as a Major in the British Army.

Metropolitan Police

The rank of Superintendent was introduced at the foundation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829. Each division was commanded by a Superintendent. The rank below Superintendent was originally Inspector until the introduction of Chief Inspector in 1868. Originally, only the Commissioners held a higher rank than Superintendent (and they were not sworn police officers). In 1839, Captain William Hay was appointed to the new rank of Inspecting Superintendent, replaced by Assistant Commissioner in 1856. The rank of Chief Constable was introduced between Superintendent and Assistant Commissioner in 1886.

The rank of Superintendent was also adopted in the Detective Branch (later the Criminal Investigation Department) from 1868, when Adolphus Williamson, the first head of the branch, was promoted to the rank.

In 1949, Metropolitan Police Superintendents were regraded to the new rank of Chief Superintendent, Chief Inspectors were regraded to Superintendent, and Sub-Divisional Inspectors and Divisional Detective Inspectors were regraded to Chief Inspector (with those ranks being abolished).

In September 1953, there was another change, when the rank was split into Superintendent Grade I (current Superintendents, Chief Inspectors commanding sub-divisions and Detective Chief Inspectors commanding divisional CIDs) and Superintendent Grade II (other current Chief Inspectors), with a new rank of Chief Inspector being created for senior Inspectors. Superintendents Grade II wore the crown (the rank badge formerly worn by Chief Inspectors), with Superintendents Grade I wearing a crown over a pip (the rank badge formerly worn by Superintendents). This lasted until 1974, when Superintendent once more became a single rank, wearing a crown on the epaulettes.

From January 1954 there was one Superintendent Grade I and one Chief Inspector in each sub-division, one Chief Superintendent, one Superintendent Grade II and one Detective Superintendent Grade I in each division, and one Commander, one Deputy Commander, one Detective Chief Superintendent, and one Detective Superintendent Grade II in each district. A Detective Chief Inspector was added in each division later in 1954.

Other British forces

In most other forces, Superintendent lay between Inspector and Assistant Chief Constable until well into the 20th century. In many smaller forces, the senior Superintendent was also the ACC. Some forces had Chief Inspectors, and some later acquired Chief Superintendents, but this was by no means universal. Today, however, every force in the country has all three ranks.


A Superintendent's starting salary is £56,274, which increases to £58,596 upon the second year of that rank. After 5 years at that rank the pay rises to £65,565. These pay scales have been in effect since 1 September 2006. These salaries may be affected by regional and competence police pay allowances.

United States

In the United Statesmarker, Superintendent is sometimes the title used for the head of the department, such as Superintendent of Chicago or Superintendent of New Orleans.


Hong Kong Police ranks are based on the British system:

  • Chief Superintendent - in command of a branch or district formation
  • Senior Superintendent - second in charge of a district or commander of a bureau
  • Superintendent - in command of HQ unit or police division

Famous fictional examples


  1. Indian Police Service Uniform Rules, Indian Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  2. Report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for the Year 1953
  3. Report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for the Year 1954
  4. Police Pay Scales


  • Police Forces of the World, by William Hall Watson, Zeus Publications 2006, ISBN 1-9210-0563-7

See also

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