Why is it called New Scotland Yard? How the Met Police got its nickname

·3-min read
A general view of New Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police  (Nick Ansell / PA Archive)
A general view of New Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police (Nick Ansell / PA Archive)

A damning report by Baroness Dame Louise Casey has found that the Met Police is institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic.

The report, which was commissioned in the wake of the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Met officer Wayne Couzens, found that the police force is facing problems so severe that there could be other officers as bad as Couzens still within the ranks.

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Baroness Casey said on Monday (March 20): “There must be fundamental change. This must not be another report that the Met forgets. It has to do a better job for Londoners.”

With the Met Police in the spotlight, all eyes will be on New Scotland Yard.

What is New Scotland Yard?

New Scotland Yard is home to the Metropolitan Police and is responsible for policing London’s 32 boroughs.

Its headquarters have relocated three times during its history, which started out in the City of Westminster, at 4 Whitehall Place, in 1829.

The headquarters then moved to the Norman Shaw Buildings in 1890, before switching to 8-10 Broadway in 1967. In 2016, the Met Police moved to its present headquarters at Victoria Embankment on the river Thames — just north of Westminster Bridge in the City of Westminster.

In 2014, the Broadway HQ was sold to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group for £370 million, the Birmingham Mail reported.

Why is it called Scotland Yard?

Scotland Yard got its name from the former public entrance of the Whitehall Place headquarters, which faced the St James district of Westminster.

Originally, Whitehall Place had an exit called Great Scotland Yard, named because it originally housed the Scottish royal family when they visited England’s capital.

After expansion, it was used as the main entrance. It was later shortened to Scotland Yard, and from that time the Met became synonymous with the name.

This name became so related that, when the Met moved from Whitehall Place in 1890, the new headquarters adopted the name New Scotland Yard.

Some of the Met Police’s stables are still located at 7 Great Scotland Yard, which is a link between the past and the present that’s spanned nearly 200 years.

What are the origins of Scotland Yard?

The Met Police was originally stationed at Whitehall and had a back entrance, which faced Great Scotland Yard.

The Met Police expanded throughout the 1800s and the force took up several buildings across the Whitehall area of Westminster from 1829 until 1890.

During this time, the main address at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a back entrance on to Great Scotland Yard, became the public entrance for the force.

As such, the building was referred to as Scotland Yard and so the name is now synonymous with the London police force.

What are its links to Scotland?

The Met Police doesn’t have any official links to Scotland, other than the location of its headquarters on Great Scotland Yard — a street in the St James’s district of Westminster.

It got its name because it stood on the site of a medieval palace, that had housed Scottish royalty when they were in London during visits.

By the time the police force had taken up residence in Westminster, the palace no longer existed.

What area does the Metropolitan Police cover?

The Met polices 620 square miles and serves more than eight million people across the UK’s largest city.

The area consists of 32 boroughs within Greater London, excluding the City of London.

How many police officers does the Met Police have?

According to the Metropolitan Police, the force is the largest service in the UK and uses 25 per cent of the entire policing budget of England and Wales.

The Met Police comprises:

  • 32,920 police officers

  • 9,791 police staff

  • 1,229 police community-support officers

  • 1,801 special officers