"Where are the police?"
Translation:Var är polisen?
The English sentence is referring to police in plural (are) shouldn't it be poliser instead of polisen?
This sentence refers not to police officers but to the police in general, in which case English prefers "the police", and Swedish wants "Polisen".
In Swedish, polisen can be either a single police officer or the police in general, you can't tell which without context. So Var är polisen? can mean both Where are the police? and Where is the police officer?.
In English, some dialects/groups of people use a police for a single police officer too, but that usage is not the norm.
What I'm sure of is that it is used as a sort of professional slang, so maybe sociolect would be a better word than dialect. Here's one text about that: http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2014/09/a-police.html which however also cites a dictionary that says it is regional.
I am not a native Swede, so I may well be wrong in saying this - but I believe that 'Var finns polisen?' is more of an existential query than simply 'Where are the police?'. 'finns' is more closely related to 'exists' in meaning. So when you write 'Var finns polisen?' - It's closer to 'Where are the police existing?' which doesn't make much sense. Again, I'm not a Swede so if someone could clarify that my understanding is correct, I'd appreciate it.
Just a quick misconception I think I have that needs clearing up - Since this is referring to location "Where abouts are the police?"
Shouldn't it be 'Vart är polisen?' in the same way that 'Where is grandfather going?' "Vart går farfar?'?
I'm wrong - but can anyone explain why?