In military tactics, a patrol is a sub-subunit or small tactical formation, sent out from a military organization by land, sea or air for the purpose of combat, reconnaissance, or a combination of both.
The basic task of a patrol is to follow a known route with the purpose of investigating some feature of interest or, in the assignment of a fighting patrol (US combat patrol), to find and engage the enemy.
The patrol officer, as the person who is in the field daily, is often closest to potential crime and may have developed contacts who can provide information.
The Philadelphia Foot Patrol Experiment, a randomized control trial conducted by Temple University, has shown that foot patrols reduce crime.
In Scouting, a patrol is six to eight Scouts (youth members) under the leadership of one of their number who is appointed Patrol Leader and supported by a Second or Assistant Patrol Leader. The Patrol method is an essential characteristic of Scouting by which it differs from all other organizations, using the natural dynamics of the gang for an educational purpose.