Queen's Police Medal

The Queen's Police Medal (QPM) is awarded to police officers in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations, for gallantry or distinguished service. It was created on 19 May 1954, when it replaced the King's Police and Fire Services Medal (KPFSM), which itself replaced the King's Police Medal (KPM) in 1940. The KPM was introduced by a Royal Warrant of 7 July 1909,[3] initially inspired by the need to recognise the gallantry of the police officers involved in the Tottenham Outrage.[4]

Queen's Police Medal
Queen's Police Medals for Gallantry (left) and Distinguished Service (right)
Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations
EligibilityMembers of the Police Force
Awarded for"acts of exceptional courage and skill at the cost of their lives, or [exhibiting] conspicuous devotion to duty"[1]
StatusCurrently awarded
Established7 July 1909 (as King's Police Medal)
Order of Wear
Next (higher)George Medal (QPM for Gallantry)
British Empire Medal (QPM for Service)[2]
Next (lower)Queen's Fire Service Medal, for Gallantry (QPM for Gallantry)
Queen's Fire Service Medal, for Distinguished Service (QPM for Service)[2]
RelatedFormerly awarded as King's Police Medal (1909–1940), King's Police and Fire Services Medal (1940–1954)
QPM ribbons for Gallantry (left) and Distinguished Service (right)


King's Police Medal

The original KPM, despite its name, could also be awarded to members of recognised fire brigades. It was originally intended that the medal should be awarded once a year, to no more than 120 recipients, with a maximum of: 40 from the United Kingdom and Crown dependencies; 30 from the dominions; and 50 from the Indian Empire. More could be awarded in exceptional circumstances. The ribbon was to be "an inch and three-eighths in width, [...] dark blue with a narrow silver stripe-on either side". Those who received further awards of the medal were to wear a silver bar on the ribbon in lieu of a further issue of the medal, or a rosette where the ribbon alone was worn.[3] Initially recipients were required to have shown:

(a) Conspicuous gallantry in saving life and property, or in preventing crime or arresting criminals; the risks incurred to be estimated with due regard to the obligations and duties of the officer concerned.

(b) A specially distinguished record in administrative or detective service.

(c) Success in organizing Police Forces or Fire Brigades or Departments, or in maintaining their organization under special difficulties.

(d) Special services in dealing with serious or widespread outbreaks of crime or public disorder, or of fire.

(e) Valuable political and secret services.

(f) Special services to Royalty and Heads of States.

(g) Prolonged service; but only when distinguished by very exceptional ability and merit.[3]

Provision was also made for the forfeiture of the award in the event that a recipient was later convicted of a criminal offence.[3]

Minor amendments to the warrant were made on 3 October 1916.[3] On 1 October 1930, changes were made to the forfeiture provisions, no longer specifying grounds for forfeiture, but also allowing the medal to be restored again.[5] In the 1932 New Year Honours list, a distinction was made signifying only some of the medals were being awarded for gallantry.[6] On 27 December 1933, the warrant was officially amended to introduce distinctions as to whether the medal was awarded for gallantry or for distinguished service, by adding an appropriate inscription to the reverse of the medal, and adding a central red stripe to the ribbon for gallantry awards. Both types of award adopted the current ribbon design, with a further silver strip in the middle of the ribbon. The award criteria were changed so recipients had:

either performed acts of exceptional courage and skill or exhibited conspicuous devotion to duty; and that such award shall be made only on a recommendation to Us by Our Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department.[7]

In 1936, amendments of 25 May gave greater provision for territories to opt to award their own equivalent medals.[8] Further minor amendments were made on 15 December.[9]

King's Police and Fire Services Medal

On 6 September 1940, the name was changed to the King's Police and Fire Services Medal to better reflect the eligibility of fire service personnel.[3][10] There was no longer any limit on the number to be awarded in one year.[3]

Queen's Police Medal

In a warrant of 19 May 1954 the current version of the medal, named the Queen's Police Medal was introduced;[11] at the same time a separate medal for the fire service was created, the Queen's Fire Service Medal.[1]

Between 30 December 2009 and 12 June 2011, the medal was awarded to 71 officers in England and Wales.[12]

The most common form of the current award is the Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service. The equivalent medal for gallantry, the Queen's Police Medal for Gallantry, which could be awarded posthumously, has not been awarded since 1977, since which time the Queen's Gallantry Medal has also been awarded posthumously. Acts of gallantry in the police service normally attract the George Cross, George Medal or Queen's Gallantry Medal.

Over time, many Commonwealth countries have created their own police medals, replacing the issue of the QPM to police in those countries. For example, Australia created the Australian Police Medal in 1986. It did not supersede the QPM which continued to be awarded to Australians until 1989. On 5 October 1992, Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, announced that Australia would make no further recommendations for British honours.[13] The Australian Order of Wear states that "all imperial British awards made to Australian citizens after 5 October 1992 are foreign awards and should be worn accordingly".[14]

Post-nominal letters

Recipients may use the post-nominal letters QPM, QPFSM, QFSM, KPM or KPFSM, as appropriate, although the right to use these was only granted officially on 20 July 1969.[15]

Description of current medal

  • The circular "silver" medal is 36 mm in diameter.
  • On the obverse is a profile of The Queen.
  • The reverse depicts a figure holding a sword and shield. The words For Distinguished Police Service or For Gallantry are inscribed around the edge of the reverse side.
  • The ribbon's colours consist of three silver stripes and two wide blue stripes (order: silver, blue, silver, blue, silver). For the Gallantry award, a thin red stripe runs through each silver stripe.

See also


  1. "No. 40196". The London Gazette. 4 June 1954. pp. 3335–3336.
  2. "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3352.
  3. "No. 28269". The London Gazette. 9 July 1909. pp. 5281–5282.
  4. "An outrage that appalled a nation". BBC. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  5. "No. 33651". The London Gazette. 10 October 1930. p. 6172.
  6. "No. 33785". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1931. pp. 13–14.
  7. "No. 34009". The London Gazette. 29 December 1933. p. 8426.
  8. "No. 34291". The London Gazette. 5 June 1936. pp. 3578–3579.
  9. "No. 34355". The London Gazette. 29 December 1936. pp. 8415–8416.
  10. It's an Honour—Australia honouring Australians—Imperial Awards—King's Police and Fire Services Medal , Commonwealth of Australia, 22 January 2009. Retrieved on 4 February 2009.
  11. "No. 40196". The London Gazette. 4 June 1954. pp. 3333–3334.
  12. "Queens Police Medal". gov.uk.
  13. A matter of honour: the report of the review of Australian honours and awards, December 1995, pp. 21–22
  14. "The Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards" (PDF). Special Gazette No. S192. Commonwealth of Australia. 28 September 2007.
  15. "Orders and Medals". The Journal of the Orders & Medals Research Society of Great Britain. 8–9: 178. 1969. The use of post-nominal letters was consolidated for the first time in the list of 1955. This has remained unchanged to the present time but will require amendment now that the holders of the various British Police and Fire Service medals have been given official permission to use the letters KPM, KPFSM, QPFSM, QPM and QFSM, to put them in order of date of inception.
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