New Scotland Yard (NSY) is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, responsible for law enforcement within Greater London, excluding the City district, which is covered by the City of London Police.
The current New Scotland Yard building is located in Westminster. Administrative functions are based at the Empress State Building, and communication handling at the three Metcall complexes, rather than Scotland Yard.
The name of the headquarters is derived from its original location on Great Scotland Yard, a street within Whitehall. The exact origins of the name are unknown, but one explanation is that the site had once been used as a diplomatic mission owned by the Kings of Scotland, prior to the 1707 Union of England and Scotland. Another being that the street was owned by a man called Scott during the Middle Ages, or that Stagecoaches bound to Scotland once departed from the street.
By the 17th century, the street had become a site of government buildings, with the architects Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren living there. From 1649 - 1651, the poet John Milton lived there during the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell's rule.
The Metropolitan Police was formed by Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel with the implementation of the Metropolitan Police Act, passed by Government in 1829. Sir Robert Peel selected the original Scotland Yard for the new police headquarters, with the help of Eugène-François Vidocq. By 1829 the building was occupied by police, housing the first two Commissioners, Sir Charles Rowan and Sir Richard Mayne. The two Commissioners, along with various police officers and staff, occupied 4 Whitehall Place with one entrance being used as a police station, leading to the location being known as "Scotland Yard" after its address.
Over time, the size of the service increased, leading to the original site of the headquarters becoming inadequate. A new location on the Victoria Embankment, overlooking the River Thames, south of what is now known as the Ministry of Defence HQ, was in the process of being constructed during 1888. During construction, workers discovered the dismembered torso of a female, believed to have been a victim of the Whitechapel murders, alleged to have been perpetrated by "Jack the Ripper"; to this day the case remains unsolved. By 1890 construction was completed, and moved to its new location. By this time, the Metropolitan Police had grown from its initial 1,000 officers to about 13,000, necessitating more administrative staff and a bigger headquarters. Further increases in the size and responsibilities of the force required even more administrators, and in 1907 and 1940, New Scotland Yard was extended further. This complex is now a grade I listed building.
By the 1960s the requirements of modern technology and further increases in the size of the force meant that it had outgrown its Victoria Embankment headquarters. In 1967, New Scotland Yard moved to the present building at 10 Broadway, which was an existing office block acquired under a long-term lease. The name transferred with it and the first New Scotland Yard is now called the Norman Shaw (North) building. Part of it is now used as the headquarters for the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Policing department.
Scotland Yard's telephone number was originally Whitehall 1212. The majority of London area police stations, as well as Scotland Yard itself, still have 1212 as their last four digits. The original Scotland Yard was taken over by the British Army after the Metropolitan Police moved out. Rebuilt, it became an Army recruitment office and Royal Military Police headquarters, complete with cells in the basement. It was bombed by the Provisional IRA in 1973, killing one person. It subsequently became the Ministry of Defence Library, a role which it retained until 2004. Today, the only surviving element of the original Scotland Yard is the Metropolitan Police stables next door, at 7 Great Scotland Yard.
The Metropolitan Police's crime database is housed at New Scotland Yard. This uses a national IT system developed for major crime enquiries by all UK forces, called Home Office Large Major Enquiry System, more commonly referred to by its acronym, HOLMES. In addition, the training program is called "Elementary" in honour of the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
A number of security measures were added to New Scotland Yard's exterior during the 2000s, including concrete barriers in front of ground-level windows, as a countermeasure against car bombing. This was accompanied by a concrete wall around the entrance to the building, and the entrance itself having a covered walkway from the street to the building. Armed officers from the Diplomatic Protection Group were assigned to patrol the exterior of the building.
The senior management team is based at New Scotland Yard, who oversee the service.
On 30 May 1884, during the Fenian bombing campaign of 1883 to 1885, an anonymous letter was sent threatening to bomb Scotland Yard and all other government buildings in Central London. On the night of 30 May an explosive device was placed on a urinal outside Scotland Yard, and later detonated causing severe damage to the CID and Special Irish Branch offices. Later the same night another bomb exploded outside a club in what used to be Sir Watkin Wynn's house, and another was found placed at Nelson's Column.
In much popular fiction and cinema, the term New Scotland Yard is used incorrectly instead of Metropolitan Police to describe the police force in London. Occasionally, the term is even used (again incorrectly) to refer to all police in the United Kingdom.
Scotland Yard has become internationally famous as a symbol of policing, and detectives from Scotland Yard feature in many works of crime fiction. They were frequent allies — and sometimes antagonists — of Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous stories (see, for instance, Inspector Lestrade). It is also referred to in Around the World in Eighty Days.
Many novelists have adopted fictional Scotland Yard detectives as the heroes or heroines of their stories. John Creasey's stories featuring George Gideon are amongst the earliest police procedurals. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, created by P. D. James, and Inspector Richard Jury, created by Martha Grimes are notable recent examples. A somewhat more improbable example is Baroness Orczy's aristocratic female Scotland Yard detective Molly Robertson-Kirk, known as Lady Molly of Scotland Yard. Agatha Christie's numerous mystery novels often referenced Scotland Yard, most notably in her Poirot series.
During the 1930s, there was a short-lived pulp magazine called variously Scotland Yard, Scotland Yard Detective Stories or Scotland Yard International Detective, which, despite the name, concentrated more on lurid crime stories set in the United States rather than having anything to do with the Metropolitan Police.
Scotland Yard was the name of a series of cinema second features made between 1953 and 1961. Introduced by Edgar Lustgarten, each episode featured a dramatised reconstruction of a 'true crime' story. Filmed at Merton Park Studios, many of the episodes featured Russell Napier as Inspector Duggan. The series was succeeded by The Scales of Justice, which dealt with a similar theme. In the comedy series Batman, the caped crusaders in England meet members of "Ireland Yard"- clearly a spoof of Scotland Yard.
Fabian of the Yard was a television series transmitted by the BBC made on film and transmitted between 1954 and 1956, based upon the career of the by then retired Detective Inspector Robert Fabian. It focused on the subject of forensic science, which at the time was still in its infancy. Fabian usually appeared in a cameo shot towards the end of each episode.