Police officers are tasked with the administration and maintenance of order in a state or nation and are members of a government institution known as the police service or police force. Countries around the world have invested heavily to establish large police forces to enhance the security of the country and suppress crime. China, India, and the United States have the largest police force in the world based on the number of police officers.
List of Countries By Number of Police Officers
China has the highest number of police officers in the world, standing at about 1.6 million officers in the country’s police force. The primary law enforcement unit in China is the Ministry of Public Security (also known by its acronym MPS). The Ministry of Public Security has established numerous stations known as Public Security Bureaus, aimed at bringing police services closer to Chinese citizens. The MPS is headed by the Minister of Public Security and has its headquarters in Beijing. Another police unit in China is the People’s Armed Police, a paramilitary police unit which is mandated with the preservation of public security and order. The People’s Armed Police unit was formally established in 1982 by the Chinese government. The police unit also engages in other activities including safeguarding crucial government buildings as well as conducting engineering projects. There is also another small unit known as the City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau which is unarmed but uniformed police unit under the various municipal governments in the country.
India is home to the second largest police force in the world based on the number of officers. The total number of police officers in the populous country is estimated to be about 1.59 million. Law enforcement in India is primarily undertaken by the Indian police force which is under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The police force in the country is made up of numerous units, all of which discharging peace preservation duties in different capacities. One such unit is the Border Security Force which is responsible for the policing of India’s borders and the prevention of trans-border crime. Another unit is the Central Industrial Security Force whose primary role is the provision of industrial security by guarding important industrial installations. The National Security Guards is a police unit in charge of counter-terrorism activities as well as conducting rescue missions of hostages. The Central Bureau of Investigation is the police unit charged with carrying out investigations.
The United States has the third largest police force in the world and the largest in any country outside Asia. There are more than 0.91 million police officers in the United States. American Police officers are empowered by the US Constitution to preserve and restore peace within the nation’s borders. The police force in the United States is made up of two categories; federal police and state police. Federal police are established and run the federal government and have authority all over the country while state police are established and operated by the individual state government, and its authority is limited to its respective state.
While the countries mentioned above (China, India and the United States) have the highest number of police officers, the high figures do not necessarily translate to a high police-civilian ratio. The United Nations sets the approximates the world's median at 300 police officers per 100,000 civilians. The Vatican has the highest ratio, with 15,439 police officers per 100,000 civilians.