News stories about the cell phone scandal that rocked Rupert Murdoch’s closed newspaper News of the World referred to the London police department, which is implicated in the matter, as Scotland Yard. Why is it called that? London isn’t in Scotland.
The proper name for the London police department, founded in 1829, is the Metropolitan Police Service. With more than 33,000 bobbies, or officers, it’s the world’s second-largest police force after the New York Police Department, according to the service’s website.
It has long been referred to as Scotland Yard because of its original location: The first base of operations was between two streets, Whitehall Place and Great Scotland Yard.
Why the street facing the entrance to the headquarters was called Great Scotland Yard is subject to debate, reports another page at the department’s site. One theory holds that the location once was the site of a home used by the kings of Scotland when they were in London. Another maintains that a man named Scott owned the land during the Middle Ages.
Each time the department, also nicknamed The Met, has moved to a different location, in 1890 and again in 1967, the new headquarters has been referred to as New Scotland Yard.
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