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shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

Why are cops refered to as pigs?

Asked by shpadoinkle_sue (7188points) September 7th, 2010

I was watching a movie this last weekend and I’ve never really put any thought into it before. Why are cops refered to as pigs? I can’t think of any other animal they’ve been likened to. What about a police officer is reminiscent of a pig? I get the police car is called a “panda” because it’s black and white. I don’t understand the pig reference.

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13 Answers

Ben_Dover's avatar

It has to do with their seemingly running the show…See Animal Farm by George Orwell.

But the cops did turn the Pig thing around back in the 70s. They devised a “PIG” award which stood for :

P – Pride
I – Integrity
G – Guits

zen_'s avatar

If you thought the term pig arose in the 1960s, you’re in for a surprise. The OED cites an 1811 reference to a “pig” as a Bow Street Runner—the early police force, named after the location of their headquarters, before Sir Robert Peel and the Metropolitan Police Force. Before that, the term “pig” had been used as early as the mid-1500s to refer to a person who is heartily disliked.

The usage was probably confined to the criminal classes until the 1960s, when it was taken up by protestors. False explanations for the term involve the gas masks worn by the riot police in that era, or the pigs in charge of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

More here from the straight dope

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

@Ben_Dover I did read Animal Farm. George Orwell is one of my favorite authors. Thank you.
@zen_ A very informative answer. Awesome.

It never really dawned on me as to it’s origin. Not even when I was making a pig in a cop uniform at Build A Bear.

Zyx's avatar

Netherlands here, we call cops jews.

People dislike police officers because they have so much power, yet are completely unknown to us most of the time. Also they never seem to be solving actual crimes so much as bothering you anywhere you go.

vipgown's avatar

I think you are all right, the analogy is very appropriate, always support you!

Deja_vu's avatar

because they smell like bacon j/k

Austinlad's avatar

@Zyx… jews, eh? How lovely.

john65pennington's avatar

I guess its time to tell the real reason. if you will go back in time and watch the old black and white movies, like The Keystone Cops, you will notice that most of those officers(actors) were lean and mean. since that time, physical requirements, especially weight control, has become more laxed in most departments. because of these relaxed weight rules, officers have gradually been packing on the pounds(doughnuts). surveys have reveiled that weight gain can also be muscle gain, so the relaxation rules concerning weight. BUT, some officers have taken this rule change to mean they consume a dozen doughnuts a day and thus looking like a pig ready for market. get the picture? i cannot believe i wrote this paragraph. john

ucme's avatar

Yeah other alternatives, at least in Britain are, Bobby’s, (named after Sir Robert Peel) The Fuzz, The Old Bill, The Filth, The Bizzie’s & The Boys in Blue.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

@john65pennington Thanks for that. Appreciate it. :)

Ron_C's avatar

@john65pennington I can’t believe you wrote it either, you’ll have to change your icon. What would your fellow officers say?

By the way, we only have a small (17 person) police force. I have found them to be nothing but helpful, polite and they have an uncanny knowledge about the teens likely to cause trouble.

john65pennington's avatar

Ron c, the vast majority of officers(men and women) are good people. they are human just like everyone else. we all wear the same pants. some officers become harden over the years from dealing with the crude of the earth. some officers have a hard time dealing with the sights they see each day. its difficult not to take your work home with you. this is especially true with the death and mistreatment of children. each officer has his/her own way of dealing with stress. i tried to leave mine at the front door. this was not always possible, especially when children have been killed. your seven man department is probably full of good officers. the smaller towns usually have locals as officers and thats a big help for everyone. john

Ron_C's avatar

@john65pennington I know it sounds petty but I once did a 6 month tour on Shore Patrol in Naples, Italy with the Carabinieri. I had to get an early release because of the nightmares caused by the petty crimes, fights, knifing, etc.. I don’t see how anyone could make a career of that, more power to them and to you for your persistence and strength.

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