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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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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
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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.

1 Answer

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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