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Since I learned おまわりさん and けいかん I always wondered if the first has a "children language" nuance, or if it is just a friendly/respectful way to call a police officer. Is this the case?

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お巡りさん is juvenile word for 巡査, which according to Wiki is the lowest rank equivalent to Patrolman. The kanji is a combination of 巡 = Patrols and 査 = Investigates. It would be acceptable in casual conversation or if you were friends with the cop, but not something I would call to the person responding to your 110番 call.

警察官 would address any person working for various departments of the Japanese Law Enforcement so you don't risk offending that person by not calling him by the correct title. If you wanted to be very polite, you could address the person (or group) as 警察の方 which should be acceptable in any situation.

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  • 「警察のお方」なんて言わないです。。。 – Chocolate Jun 23 at 0:25
  • 会社で上司にお客は誰かって聞かれたときに、どういう返事をします?xxのお方って言うのは無難だと個人的に思いますが。 – Starfox Jun 23 at 0:30
  • you could address the person って書いてあるので、「すみません、警察のお方、。。。」て、警察官に話しかける場合のこと(呼格)を言っておられると思ったんですけど、違いました? – Chocolate Jun 23 at 0:31
  • Point taken, corrected. – Starfox Jun 23 at 0:34
  • @Starfox what do you mean by "juvenile word"? How does it relate to being childish? – jarmanso7 Jun 25 at 12:27

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