Features include interactive map, in-depth stories, and more.Download now. »
The week's top five must-sees,
delivered to your inbox.
A police state is a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic, and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive. The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state. As the maintenance of a standing police force became common in the late 19th and early 20th century, the term "police state" came to be used more commonly to refer only to when a police force was used "too" strenuously, in a "rigid and repressive" way, as under fascism, crony capitalism, and in retroactive application to oppressive/repressive historic incidents like the French Revolution and the Roman Empire. (via Freebase)