Sleeping policeman

Sleeping policemanJCF HQThe previous post’s comments reminded me of an amusing photo I’d taken on Old Hope Road in Kingston.

It was the first time I had seen the expression sleeping policeman used in English, although I’d long been familiar with its French equivalent gendarme couché.

The funniest part, however, is that the sign is directly opposite the Jamaica Constabulary Headquarters.

4 thoughts on “Sleeping policeman”

  1. funny how it only evokes mild amusement every once in a while in French, where I’m used to hearing it, while it’s downright hilarious in English…


  2. The first time I heard it was in Baghdad. A map drawn by a parent (how to find the birtday party in a city without proper streetnames and no city map available – state secret!) showed one as the spot to make a left turn. Now I had also frequently noticed sleeping policemen in that country, but that there were actually some so regular that you could use this as a mapmarker amazed me. Wonder where does the expression come from.

  3. I can remember referring to sleeping policemen as far back as my childhood in the 70s in south London. My parents now have one directly outside their house, though they’ve now taken to cutting them up and putting gaps in them so that motorcycles and bikes can get through them more easily, which I guess partly explains why these days they tend to be referred to as speed bumps rather than sleeping policemen – “dismembered policemen” doesn’t have quite the same ring about it.

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