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In a lot of US cities citizens can do police ride alongs. You can do so in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, TX, etc.

What about in London? If I was going to be visiting London for, say, a week, could I do a ride along with a police officer?

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It will be a boring ride, no guns! –  MeNoTalk May 30 at 19:02
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I assume you're not referring to London, KY. :) –  Karlson May 30 at 19:10
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Nothing I could find for London but certainly elsewhere: avonandsomerset.police.uk/services/ride-along-scheme –  Karlson May 30 at 19:20
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2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Having worked with London police for some time, I can tell you that, no, you cannot. Until a few years ago this was possible with an advance request, however there was an incident whereby the civilian on the ride-along was injured. To make the long story short, the practice was stopped straight away.

Moreover, even police student officers (i.e. already accepted into the police but still undergoing training) are not normally allowed to go on ride-along, although this rule is a bit easier to bend if you know the right people.

A civilian can take a ride in a police vehicle, as @avid noted, for one of two reasons: if you're arrested (going to the police station) or if you are a victim of crime (drive-around trying to identify the perpetrator). There are also exceptional circumstances where you might end up getting a ride in a police vehicle from point A to point B - but you'd never accompany police officers on their regular duties.

The only exception I know of is for media/journalists working on material about the police - but the formalities to go through to do it are worse than you can imagine.

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A friend of mine once told me that he convinced two officers to give him a ride from London to Birmingham!! He was sleeping in a park at night in London and officers took him for "wandering". He told that his girlfriend was in Birmingham (not lying) for a holiday and they took him there! The funniest story I have ever heard... –  AlfaOmega08 May 31 at 13:12
    
@AlfaOmega08 Sounds like a funny story, but very unlikely to be true. London to Birmingham, in the middle of a night on empty roads is over 2 hours one way. The return trip would have easily taken 5 hours. Not a chance :) –  Aleks G May 31 at 20:15
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Only in handcuffs. Or possibly by becoming a victim of crime. Neither are desirable...

However, this might be of interest: http://www.cityoflondon.police.uk/about-us/history/museum/Pages/default.aspx

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. –  Dirty-flow May 30 at 20:46
    
Summary of that link for the purposes of this question: there is a museum of the City of London Police. That is to say, the link doesn't answer the question, it's merely of potential interest to the questioner. –  Steve Jessop Jun 1 at 1:00
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