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Justice has a price. The price is freedom.
Judge Dredd, "America"

The stereotypical enemy of La Résistance, and a must have for any self respecting Dystopia that is not in total anarchy. Police Brutality is the standard operating procedure here and they are most likely incredibly corrupt. One popular portrayal is having them dressed perpetually as swat teams. Fascists' Bed Time will be enforced.

Truth in Television, of course, but we won't list them. It's not always obvious when a country is one of these. Also, because there are so darn many of them, listing them all would be too hard.

Variants: Culture Police, Secret Police, State Sec. Subtrope of Dystopia

Examples of Police State include:


  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Amestris is a military-police state. Somewhat played with in that the entire country was created for the sole purpose of housing Father's giant transmutation circle for godhood, so he's the Chessmaster behind the government as well.

Comic Books

  • Flash Gordon: The parts of the planet Mongo controlled by the Emperor Ming.
  • In the Judge Dredd universe all of the major governments are Police States of varing flavours and levels of corruption, in a more literal manner than the norm.
    • Dredd's own Mega City One is often shown to be one of, if not the nicest, or at the very least less-corrupt, places on Earth. No, Really. Other cities, on the rare occasions they are featured in the main continuity, are variously portrayed as corrupt, criminal regimes, run by Freemasons, falling apart, nuked, even more opressive, nuked, infested with zombies, religious dictatorships or horrifically cheery themepark versions of Ireland. The world of Judge Dredd is such a Crapsack World that if your city is just a police state, you're incredibly lucky!
    • Outside the Mega Cities, the Cursed Earth is less dictatorial, but generally far less pleasant overall.
  • The Planet Georwell in Justice Machine.
  • Latveria. It was like this before Doctor Doom came to power. He just made it into a more efficient Police State by replacing the corrupt government enforcers with his own killer robots. Bottom line, the people of Latveria don't have any luck with their leaders.


  • Battle Royale
  • Children of Men
  • Equilibrium.
  • Mega-City One in the Judge Dredd comics is a Police State more or less by definition, as a series of disasters left the Judges as the only functioning part of the government. Chief Judge Fargo is visibly upset by this, since he originally joined the Judges in his youth to defend democracy and liberty.
  • The Running Man
  • V for Vendetta ("for your protection")
  • In A Clockwork Orange it's strongly implied that the government is devolving into one of these. The "cure" itself even comes about because they need to free up space for future political prisoners.


  • Efrafa is the dictatorship-warren established by General Woundwort in Watership Down, with a rigidly-enforced system of concealment to prevent its discovery by Men.
  • That Hideous Strength: The National Institute for the Coordination of Science (N.I.C.E). Despite it's innocent name , the Institute manages to gain enough power to this.
  • The Screwtape Letters: Hell.
  • In the Narnia series, everything ruled by Jadis / the White Witch. CS Lewis has something of a pattern here.
  • 1984
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Randall Flagg's Las Vegas colony in The Stand probably applies here, considering people are frequently crucified for crimes.
  • Dune has Giedi Prime under the Harkonnens.
    • The Harkonnens attempt to do this with Arrakis, but it doesn't work out.
    • The entire universe under the rule of Leto II
  • The post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in The Hunger Games.
  • Inquisitor Umbridge tries her best to turn Hogwarts into one in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort turns the Wizard world in England into one in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Live Action TV

  • An inversion is seen in the Doctor Who serial "The Happiness Patrol" from 1988. The titular patrol used their "fun guns" and pink uniforms to suppress anyone seeming miserable or unhappy, whom they labelled "Killjoys". Some were executed by means of deadly sweets...
    • Played straight in in "The Beast Below", where England In Space is turned into one of this. The government is keeping a secret and any dissidents who try to find out what happened are fed to the titular Beast Below. The Doctor figures this out pretty quickly since nobody is visibly reacting to his usual weirdness and nobody stops to inquire why a child is crying. They are too afraid.


  • Three Days Grace's music video for "Just Like You" features the SWAT officer stereotype.
  • Disturbed's music video for "Another Way To Die" has a military-like group controlling all the earth's remaining water supplies and suppressing any form of agriculture not within their control.


Tabletop RPG

  • In Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl, a game where you play a group of teenage anarchists out to change the world, the group creates Systems of Control that are sci-fi-ish details about the world that The Authority uses to mess with your lives. These frequently include a police state, especially if the Authority's Visage is State.

Video Games

  • Sid Meier's Civilization series
  • Half-Life 2's Combine fits the bill, the Civil Protection do the most of the brutality though.
  • Fallout 3's Vault 101 security officers are to stop anyone from leaving the Vault, even if it means using deadly force.
  • Mirror's Edge. Both played straight and averted. The government is a totalitarian police state that monitors all communication and public activity, however the city cops dress rather casually (blue t-shirt and pants).

Web Original

  • After the German democracy falls in the Chaos Timeline, pretty much every major power on Earth is this.