How do you differentiate between "Where are the police?" and "Where is the police?" Or is it that the group noun "the police" always plural? Tack!! :)
They would both be the same. :) The police as a collective is called ’polisen’ and one single officer would also be ’polisen’. You could also make the latter plural and say ’poliserna’ if you’re talking about many police officers but not the police as a collective.
can't you just say the swedish word for "officer" after polisen when talking about a singular one?
Right, but the typical Swedish word for "officer" is polis. So to a Swede, "police officer" sounds like "police police". :p
We do have the word officer as well, but it means military command rather than police officer.
So is there a way to say a singular police officer without having any confusion from the start?
Sure, there are a few - polisman is a police officer, and you could also use poliskvinna since it's not the 19th century any longer. For a gender-neutral option, there's (polis)konstapel, but it'll make you sound like you're very out-of-date. :)
Isn't "police" singular and so it must be "where IS the police"? And even if "polisen" is plural, then it has to be a plural in English like "police officers" "policemen"...
If you mean in English, I think this is a UK/US difference. Groups of people such as football teams are generally plural in UK English and singular in US. Now that I try to think of an example, every US sports team that comes to mind is called The somethings... but for international teams in Britain they would say "England are trailing by two goals" while Americans would say "England is down by two". I think!