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There Are No Police

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In a modern city, full of schools, post offices and subway lines, there is one thing noticeably absent: the police. Whether you're on a murder spree, blowing up buildings, or just walking around stealing things, there's no need to fear the police. This is because they don't exist. No one even mentions the police or tries to avoid detection. Compare Police Are Useless, where they exist but aren't going to help. See also Anarchy Is Chaos.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • Multiple times in Karakura Town there have been explosions, buildings being damaged or destroyed, and large numbers of humans being killed. The series has never shown any police investigation (or any government response of any kind, for that matter) to these events.
    • There was a scene in the first movie where someone had to have called the paramedics to retrieve Ichigo's body, due to him being in Shinigami mode, and therefore out of his body. Then again, this isn't canon.
    • The first instance in canon was during the recent Xcution arc, where the Big Bad starts fights Ichigo and a few new protagonists, however because none of them are in "spirit bodies" like the other fights, people do take notice. In fact, the fight is broken up because the police are coming.
    • The first episode perhaps? You see a group of police who have blocked off an area where a "Gas explosion" had caused damage, we however know it was caused by a hollow.
  • In Noir the Anti-Hero protagonists never shows the slightest concern towards the police in wealthy industrialized nations when applying their trade of killing people for money. And indeed, the only time that the police interfere is when they are corrupt cops hired by an equally corrupt judge to protect himself from them. You would think that he could have gotten perfectly legal police protection, under the circumstances.
  • Ranma ½: Nerima never has any kind of police response to martial artists causing massive damage or endangering the lives of combatants and bystanders. When people are menaced by supernatural spirits, they go to martial artists for help, suggesting they operated outside the normal legal system.
  • School Days: After Sekai stabs Makoto, and Katsura carries his severed head around no one even mentions the police or tries to avoid detection.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, pre-Duel Monsters, killer theme parks, and people being set on fire occur without the specter of police attention.

    Comic Book 
  • Scott Pilgrim: Even though Scott’s battles take place in public—with one bystander saying that he’s calling the police—cops are nowhere to be seen. Even Todd Ingram’s confrontation with the Vegan Police is only due to violating his vegan diet.

  • In The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, the Thief in question publicly beats his wife, attacks his own customers at his restaurant and commits his crimes in full view and yet, no cops show up.
  • Pulp Fiction has a noticeable lack of police or any sort of legitimate authority figure. Either the characters are very lucky, or there are no cops in Los Angeles. Even after Butch deliberately runs down Marcellus, gets into a car wreck, is chased down the street and shot at and a bullet hits a bystander, nobody thinks to call the cops. Although Maynard does call one cop...
  • The above applies to Kill Bill as well, a murder spree happens across both Texas and Japan and you only see the police in one scene.
  • American Psycho: As part of the ambiguity of the plot (is Patrick Bateman a brilliant sociopath or a deluded wannabe?), the police are portrayed inconsistently, and there is zero police presence when Bateman goes on his more murderous rampages.
  • Killers: The main characters and the enemy agents drive around a heavily populated suburb, engaging in gunfights and car chases and causing explosions, yet not a single law enforcement officer appears in the entire movie.
  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, police officers (that is, legitimate ones; the ones who ambush Nick Fury early in the movie are corrupt cops working for HYDRA) show up a grand total of once in the film: a single police car reports to the overpass ambush and is immediately blown up by Bucky Barnes. Given that the movie takes place in Washington DC, which has so many police agencies and federal agencies, you would expect the DC area to go on lockdown after each and every major incident.
  • In both Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. there are shootings, robberies, attempted robberies, kidnappings, hit and run, mob activity and no police until the very last few minutes.
  • Pet Sematary (2019): The cops never show up to inform the family that their child's grave has been robbed; their appearance at the house would likely have reduced the death toll (and transformed the story from a personal tragedy to a zombie apocalypse).


  • Domina: The city started as a prison-island, and it's implied a few times that the guards were killed decades ago. Technically Necessarius acts as the police, but they're mostly just the largest gang in the city. To make their jobs easier, they give the warlords of any sufficiently large gang the authority to seek "retribution" for crimes against them. While sometimes retribution is settled financially, it usually just involves the victim shooting the perpetrator in the head in front of a Necessarian witness.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, there are no police on the Moon. There are only the Warden's guards, who don't care about convict on convict crime. The convicts (and their many descendants) handle "justice" their own way. In fact, one of the reasons that people there start to support revolution happens when the guards start to take an interest in enforcing the (mostly newly created) rules.
  • Justified in the Nightside series, as the Nightside was created by Lilith to be a place without rules or authority.

    Live Action Television 
  • In the old The Adventures of Captain Marvel serial, not a single one of the scientists even considers the possibility of calling the police, even as their number is being quickly reduced by thugs, kidnappers, murderers, and the black-masked guy who hired the thugs, kidnappers, and murderers in the first place.
  • In Glee, when Hunter steals the Nationals trophy no one even mentions calling the cops despite the overwhelming amount of evidence. (The trophy is on display in the Dalton Academy choir room, a man in a Dalton Academy uniform is holding the trophy and gloating in a video, the perps left a laptop...)
  • When Gibby goes to rescue the iCarly gang from Nora, the best idea he has when he's sure that she kidnapped them is break into her house and fight her, instead of just calling 911. Only after everything is resolved (after Gibby broke into Nora's house, mind you - never mind her being the bad guy, breaking and entering is still an offense) they call the cops, as mentioned by Carly at the end of the episode.
    • Of course, that's less "There Are No Police", and more of Gibby just being an idiot by deciding to take the problem into his own hands instead of getting help.
  • Several episodes of Three's Company feature conflicts that could easily be solved by the roommates calling the police. When police do show up on the show, it's almost never because anyone called them.
  • While the Marvel Netflix shows make liberal use of the NYPD or one of the other law enforcement agencies in New York City (The Punisher (2017) has Dinah Madani working at the Department of Homeland Security, and Daredevil (2015) season 3 is about Wilson Fisk manipulating the FBI), the first season of Iron Fist (2017) has the least presence of law enforcement of any kind. The only time we see the NYPD appear is when Ward gets arrested after Harold frames him for drug possession.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Used for dramatic effect in the PAWA promotion when Lou Thesz suggested OX Baker might be harming the business by targeting younger wrestlers and trying to discourage them for keeping up with it. Baker intimated that he stayed in wrestling to prove to himself that he'd be getting arrested for the things he did in the ring if he did them anywhere else but the squared circle, recalling two wrestlers who died after he struck them with his heart/hurt punch and how much he enjoyed it.
  • This is the back story behind Annie Social's gimmick. She was a criminally insane sadist who hated everyone, till Shane Hardcore showed her how to assault people and not go to jail or endure more therapy. Become a pro wrestler. Thus, Shane became Annie's first friend.
  • After Randy Orton supposedly killed Bray Wyatt by setting him on fire, multiple fans and critics wondered how the hell Orton wasn't in prison (in kayfabe, obviously) for murdering a man. It came up again when Alexa Bliss demanded that Orton set her on fire as well, and Orton's response was essentially 'I don't want to because you want me to and that takes the fun out of it', instead of 'I don't want to go to prison for murder'.
  • Despite the Filthy Animals showing video evidence of them burying Ric Flair in a shallow grave and leaving him for dead after bragging about killing him, not a single policeman tried to arrest them after this (and Flair would later return to WCW after a few months).

  • Many Gag-per-Day Webcomics fit this trope, inasmuch as they feature Comedic Sociopathy as a major source of their humour, necessitating that the Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist (e.g. Ethan of Ctrl+Alt+Del), Manchild (Rayne Summers of Least I Could Do), or violent Jerkass (Mike Warner of the Walkyverse) rarely, if ever, faces arrest or even a warning from the police.
    • Mike at least has some justification, as for a large part of his life he's part of a very powerful government agency.
  • Invoked until just recently on El Goonish Shive, and even then you are more likely to see journalists than cops.
  • Completely subverted/averted in Megatokyo. Almost every major occurrence of weirdness has police intervention, in the form of Inspector Sonada and the Tokyo Police Cataclysm Division. Figuring out who's responsible and actually catching them however, is a completely different matter, especially when there can be more pressing things to deal with, like Zombie Godzilla attacks.

    Western Animation 
  • Most villains in Captain Planet and the Planeteers cause environmental destruction that is not just unethical, but flagrantly illegal (i.e. the series premier has Hoggish Greedly trying to steal a huge quantity of oil with a mobile oil rig). Yet the only ones trying to stop them are five random teenagers.
  • An episode of Family Guy subverts this trope when Peter detonates explosives outside a children's hospital, entirely destroying the building. No repercussions of the incident seem to occur, as is common in the show, until the very end where Peter is informed that the crime has been investigated and is taken to court.
  • There are no police in Steven Universe's Beach City, even during a near-riot, evacuation, or the aftermath of a high-profile series of kidnappings. Sure, there are the Crystal Gems for the giant monster rampages, but who saves you from them? The only time we see a police car occurs in another town, and it's only in response to Pearl running a red light.
  • In "Fluttercakes!" from Butterbean's Cafe, Ms. Marmalady and her minions just flat-out steal Mr. Garbaggio's garbage truck and say "finders-keepers," and nobody even thinks of calling the police.