"Pig!"

Powered by FreeFind.
in
Advanced find

Using the term "Pig" as a sharp insult towards the police, typically by British skinheads, is a word usage that can be traced back to 1546AD, which is strange, not least because there were no police at that time.
It may have originally been a simple insult-comparison towards anybody, as in "dog".
Circa 1850AD, it was commonly used in political cartoons depicting the type of industrialists that we would today term "Fat Cats".

The original usage faded out, and the modern following appears to be a recoinage, stemming from the 1960s.

A sign of the times: Spot the Hippy
Spot the Hippy

Vietnam protests
Vietnam protests

At that time in America, demonstrations were breaking out against the Vietnam War.
Riot police attempting to break up the protests wore gas masks which made them look as if they had snouts, and the term reerupted.

Other possible contributions include the British Army's use of a lightly armoured car in crowd control in Northern Ireland.
Nicknamed a Pig, probably because it (roughly) has the profile of one, view from the side.

The vehicle had "wings", like extra doors without the hole, with gunslots, behind which soldiers could take cover.
When the wings were in use, the Pig was said to be "flying".

The 'Pig' armoured car
The "Pig" armoured car

The police themselves kid themselves that it stands for "Pride, Integrity, and Guts", but that wouldn't be a very effective insult, would it? That's just something the police made up, apparently the American police first.

The original use is still used to denote filth and greed generally, including such terms as swine and snout, and such phrases as: Piggy bank, Pig's ear, and Pigs may fly.
When common phrases bump into police activities, such as the helicopters and the flying, new reinforcements pop up spontaneously.

The Word Origins etymological website back's this up:

The OED2 has pig being used as a term for a contemptuous person as early as 1546AD. The earliest cite for a police officer in particular is from the Lexicon Balatronicum of 1811AD, which defines pig as "a China Street Pig, a Bow Street officer." The Bow Street Runners were an early police force of London, named after the street that housed their headquarters. The Lexicon Balatronicum also offers "floor the pig and bolt," meaning to knock the policeman down and run. According to Partridge, by 1873AD the term's usage was restricted to plain-clothes officers. The term was an underground term, part of the criminal argot, until it reerupted into the mainstream in the 1960s.
It may be unrelated, but the origins of the modern game of Football (Soccer) in medieval times, used an inflated pig's bladder used as a ball. In those unenlightened times, large hooligan-like mobs clashed from rival villages. Perhaps the only difference between then and now is they were the players.

Google® search for Pig-related terms.

Related Pages

The Freedom Campaign main page.
Robin H.'s Stalkers.
Play a game.
Gallery about the Wiltshire police.