Proposal:Police facilites

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Mapping Police Facilites Version 2.0
Proposal status: Rejected (inactive)
Proposed by: grimpeur78
Tagging: police=*
Applies to: node area
Definition: Mapping police facilites in a more specific manner.

Draft started: 2019-03-09
RFC start: 2019-03-09
Vote start: 2019-04-07
Vote end: 2019-04-21


Version Date Description
1.0 2019-03-09 Original proposal
2.0 2019-03-30 landuse=police has been abandonded, localized police classification as in Key:police:FR has been added, amenity=police will be maintained.


Police facilites shall be mapped in a more differentiated way. There shall be a distinction between types of facilities by general keys (police stations, offices, barracks, checkpoints, holding facilities etc.), and of police forces by their respective name (e.g. FBI, Secret Service, Sheriff of Wonderland, Texas Highway Patrol, NYPD) and type (e.g. SWAT, naval police, airport police, university police). Local classification shall be standardized following the example of Key:police:FR.

police=* shall be used for all police facilites, defining them by their use (see list below). amenity=police will be maintained for public-facing police facilities in the narrow sense.


There are many different types of police facilites. Some serve the public immediately and may be important to locate quickly, such as police stations, while others provide only internal services and are not meant for public access or have special uses and are open to the public only upon invitation, e.g. barracks for special units, offices, warehouses, criminal investigation units. Also, there are usually different types of police with sometimes overlapping, sometimes clearly delimited competences, e.g. national, regional or local police forces, railway, airport, border, university or other polices forces.

Currently, all police facilites tend to be mapped as amenity=police, independently of the type of facility. OSM is therefore of no use to locate police stations in case of emergencies and does not allow to render facilites according to their type. Military installations, on the contrary, can be mapped and rendered in a much more detailed way, using military=* and landuse=military.

A proper tagging scheme for the police with police=* and subkeys following the concept of police:XXX=* paves the way to properly tag the world of police facilites in the future. It will make OSM better adapted to the needs of its users, allowing to locate different types of police facilites more accurately. And, above all, it will allow to distinguish classical police stations as points of first contact from other police facilites.

amenity=police is in heavy use already, with currently over 116 000 instances all over the world. However, the current lack of differentiation among police stations and other police facilites, makes it necessary to review the tagging of facilites that have been tagged as amenity=police. Also, current rendering of these facilities is of limited practical use, because there is no way to know whether a place tagged amenity=police effectively is a police station or will turn out to be only an office building, a warehouse or something else.

police=* is currently used in very few cases. There are only 1 125 instances, most of which are in Brazil and only affect part of the police facilites there. The key is also very poorly documented. It therefore appears reasonable to re-assign the police=* key to hold the type of police facility.


The following scheme shall be established:

Tag: amenity=police

amenity=police shall continue to be used on all public-facing police facilities for the sake of backward compatibility. Public-facing police facilites are typically police stations that serve as first point of contact for the public. This will eventually have to be made clearer in the wiki.

Key: police

This shall be the basic key for all police facilities that are not tagged as amenity=police. It shall define the type of facility. If the type is not known, police=yes can be used.

Key Value Description
police barracks Barracks, similar to military=barracks, e.g. to house special units.
police checkpoint A permanent police checkpoint.
police offices Police administration in general, usually no attention to the public.
police storage A storage facility for material used by the police
police range A shooting range used for training by the police
police  training_area  A training facility for the police, e.g. sports grounds
police  naval_base  Port facilities or a naval police station used by the police, e.g. river police or coast guard. Can also be used in combination with landuse=police to map naval police stations.
police detention  A police holding or custodial facility, for short-term deprivation of liberty. This is intended for bigger holding facilites with several cells that are typically in separate buildings or parts of buildings and should not be used to map holding cells that are usually part of police stations.
police  car_repair  Maintenance facilities for police vehicles.
police  yes If the type of facility cannot be determined.

Key: operator

operator=* shall be used to tag the denomination of police running the specific facility. Because of the huge variety of police organisations in different regions of the world, this tag shall hold the local name of the police organisation instead of a generalized description (e.g. "NYPD" instead of "municipal police" or "Polizei Nordrhein-Westfalen" instead of "state police").

In the future, we may add localised tags for the name of the police.

This scheme is not intended to give any guidance as to what is considered as "police" in different parts of the world.

Key: police:XX

police:XX=*, with XX being a two-letter country code of the country where the police is based, shall be used to hold the local police classification, as is already the case for Key:police:FR. Further country-specific classifications have to be developed by the local communities.

Key: police:unit

Where relevant, police:unit=* shall hold the name of the police force or unit using the facility (e.g. "C.R.S." in France, "SWAT" in the U.S., "Autobahnpolizei" or "GSG 9 on Wikipedia" in Germany).

Localised versions may be added in the future following the pattern police:unit:XX=*.

Other keys

All other keys, like opening_hours=* or wheelchair=*, shall be applied as always.


A normal police station in Hesse, Germany would be tagged as

name=2. Polizeirevier Frankfurt
operator=Polizei Hessen

CRS barracks in France way 44853935 would be tagged as

operator=Police Nationale
police:unit=Compagnie Républicaine de Sécurité
name=Caserne CRS No. 37

And a river police station that is not public-facing in Hesse, Germany, would be

operator=Polizei Hessen

A warehouse used by police would be:


Applies to

node area


Typical police stations, i.e. places where one can get in contact with the police, should be rendered different from other police facilites. These stations are usually manned 24/7 in cities, but may have limited opening hours in rural parts but display a contact phone or have an emergency phone installed. Rendering for amenity=police shall be maintainted. Rendering for other police facilities will have to be defined.

Features/Pages affected

Currently, there are 116 043 instances of amenity=police that would have to be revised and eventually re-tagged according to this scheme, it they aren't public-facing police stations.

There are also 1 125 instances of police=*, that would have to be adapted to this new scheme.

All documentation, with the exception of amenity=police, will have to be written from scratch, although some elements from military=* could be reused.


Please comment on the discussion page.

Voting Version 1.0

Voting closed

Voting on this proposal has been closed.

The result is '.

  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Grimpeur78 (talk) 17:29, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. I think that all the subjects have not been dealt with and still require a little thought and especially the articulation with the other emergency services. --Gendy54 (talk) 19:54, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. I'm really looking for this details in police tagging, but i don't think a landuse is necessary (or it could be a landuse shared with others services like firefighters... ?!), i would just vote for the "police" key itself but nothing else. --Anakil (talk) 20:37, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. Some good ideas but see the discussion page: localized information, police:type... you can be happy that I'm not voting no ;-). --Nospam2005 (talk) 21:33, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. I agree with the general proposal, but also agree that some details still need further refinement --Fizzie41 (talk) 02:00, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. This is a great proposal but to me police:type=* must be reworked to be more meaningful. Fanfouer (talk) 21:30, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. police=* is a good idea but I am opposed to a long time dual tag of stations. you also mentioned removing the landuse=police from your proposal but it is still there (I am in favour of the idea, but not in the same propal because another propal is 'ongoing'. Marc marc (talk) 22:19, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. Thank you for your work on this proposal. I hope you can revise the proposal and gain more support. --Dr Centerline (talk) 16:28, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Voting Version 2.0

Voting closed

Voting on this proposal has been closed.

It was rejected with 8 votes for and 3 votes against.

The proposal has not obtained the required 8 unanimous approvals or 74% approval in 10 votes. Discussions about the details will have to go on. This proposal may be the base for future work.

  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Grimpeur78 (talk) 08:43, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Westnordost (talk) 08:52, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Though what is the meaning of police:type=* used in one of examples? Also, some international classification of police types would be nice but it can be added separately. --Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 10:06, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Anakil (talk) 12:36, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Two reasons. Minor reason: it should define police=station for those who wish to dual-tag with amenity=police (no harm done if both tags are present) without deprecating amenity=police. Main reason: police:FR and other country codes: it would be better to introduce police:classification to simplify queries. Suggest that people in France can continue to go their own way or can dual-tag or can use police:classification when mapping new facilities. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Brian de Ford (talkcontribs) 7 April 2019
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. I'm in favor of adding police=* and police:unit which are the only 2 tags created by your proposal. It's very confusing to have included points 4.1 4.3 4.4 and 4.6 as if he was concerned by this propal when they are existing unmodified tags Marc marc (talk) 21:04, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. For the simple reason that the proposal has a very limited view (Germany, France) and it does not explain why the lack of differentiation is bad. What is the necessity? Maintaining amenity=police as a simple starting point is important. The proposal does not address or investigate situations in other countries. e.g. FBI as well as Brazil are mentioned in the text but no further details or examples are given. How and who should be updating the already existing police=* tags? --ConsEbt (talk) 00:22, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. I'm generally for it. Although I think the country specific tagging, like police:fr, is completely pointless and just leads to tag fragmintations. Instead of people supporting police= in their software, it will have to be a hundred versions of police:whatever. Which isn't good. It should be a given that whatever country the police are mapped in, that's what they are for. Like, there's only American police in America. I don't need to tag them as police:us. It's a given. That complaint aside, I am still for the rest of the tagging scheme. --Adamant1 (talk) 10:02, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --EneaSuper (talk) 11:32, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. The country specific tagging does not seem to be thought through for a global scale--even some of the vote yes people above have questions/issues with this. Remove it from the proposal or develop better consensus and examples about how it could work globally, including for data consumers. --Neuhausr (talk) 17:15, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. It's not yet perfect, but it's much better than the existing scheme --Fizzie41 (talk) 21:55, 8 April 2019 (UTC)