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A newspaper ran this headline today:

Police crack down on IAC protesters.

Isn't the following more appropriate?

Police cracks down on IAC protesters.

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, JLG, Gnawme, Bravo, Will Hunting Aug 27 '12 at 6:52

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
It takes a plural verb: macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/police –  JLG Aug 27 '12 at 4:19
    
Whyever would it take a singular verb? It is not just one police who is doing the cracking down. It’s the police force in general who are doing it. –  tchrist Aug 27 '12 at 4:29
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Government cracks down on IAC protesters. As a Brit, I don' mind that "newspaper headline" using singular or plural verb with government. But police can only be plural to me. I'm not sure why. –  FumbleFingers Aug 27 '12 at 4:40
    
@FumbleFingers: To me too. I suppose it's because the police are only ever perceived as police men and women and not as an abstract whole. –  Barrie England Aug 27 '12 at 6:40
    
@FumbleFingers This isn’t just a UK think. “The police” will always be plural in North America, too. I do not know why. It just doesn’t work as a singular. –  tchrist Aug 27 '12 at 12:43

1 Answer 1

According to ODO:

Definition of police

noun

[treated as plural] (usually the police)

the civil force of a state, responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the maintenance of public order:

local people have lost faith in the police

Unlike (FF's) government which can be treated as singular or plural, police is treated as plural.

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