Atlantic City, NJ, US
Atlantic Centre Convention Centerwith Re-Flex
The Police pursue a rest - after this tour...

After knocking out the competition for the title of world's top pop group last year, the Police are calling it quits - at least for a year or so. But before taking a much-deserved break, the band is giving feverish fans in 10 USA cities a last chance to catch its record-breaking 'Synchronicity' tour.

On the third leg of a tour that began last summer and drew three of the top-five grossing concert audiences - including the historic sell-out of New York's Shea Stadium in August the trio is hitting some of the smaller cities passed by last year. And most of the dates are sell-outs. The 18,000 seats for last night's show at the Atlantic City Convention Center were sold out in about six hours - the Police are the biggest rock act to play here since the Beatles 20 years ago.

The nearly two-hour show was outstanding as the band, with three back-up singers, whipped through seven year's worth of songs. The songs were not mere carbon copies of their recorded material; each one was vigorous and spirited. Sting preened on-stage and led audience sing-alongs with the charged fans, half of whom stood in their seats the entire show. After an hour, the band took its traditional tea break; which was shown on a giant screen to fans.

Says Debbie Baggaley, 18, of Trenton, N.J., who has seen them three times: ''I would see them every night of the week if I could.''With more than 5 million copies sold in the USA, four top-20 singles ('Wrapped Around Your Finger' is moving up the charts at No.18) and five Grammy nominations, including best album, 'Synchronicity' is by far the band's most successful LP. Its acclaim has been overshadowed only by that of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'.

How will the trio spend the year of separation?

For his part, Sting, 32, the group's sexy, prolific bassist-songwriter, plans to act in yet another film, his sixth. He's already in the million sci-fi flick, Dune, due out in the fall, and is expected to play Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese's ''The Last Temptation Of Christ''; if it finds backers. Guitarist Andy Summers, 40, plans to do a film, ''Goose Foot'', and release an LP with British rocker Robert Fripp. As for the group's 31-year-old founder and only American, drummer Stewart Copeland's plans are less clear. But after his well-received score for Francis Ford Coppola's ''Rumble Fish'' chances are he'll keep a hand in films as well.

Rumours of an impending break-up have dogged the group for years, and speculation is heating up again. Says Wayne Isaak, a publicist for their record label, A&M, ''Anything could happen, but they certainly aren't planning (on breaking up) now.

(c) USA Today by Miles White