From the early days of rattles and whistles forward to modern radios and mobiles, these pages present the origin and follow the development of policing in Britain. Steeped in tradition yet advancing with the times, the fascinating histories of police forces from Aberdare Canal Police to Zetland County Police await you here.

— Recent Additions and Updates —

Belfast Harbour Temporary Constables
Penzance Promenade Constable
Uxbridge Voluntary Police Force
Barnstaple Strand Constable
Leeds and Dewsbury Railway Police
Leeds and Liverpool Canal Police
East Midlands Air Support Unit
Royal Park Keepers (Scotland)
Cornwall Railway Police
Royal Park Keepers
See All Additions

— The Journal of British Police History —


We are pleased to publish issue twelve of our quarterly Journal.

It features articles on:

Central Counties Air Operations Unit,
Newport (IOW) Borough Police,
Liverpool City Police Order of Merit, Elliot House Section House,
Corps of Custodians,
Photo-Fit and much more.

We hope you enjoy this twelfth instalment:

The Journal of British Police History
Fall 2021

— Facts & Trivia —

View the Facts & Trivia pages for a quick look at many aspects of the British police forces including force strength, location, insignia, memorials, chief officers, timelines and facts and trivia such as these relating to the Port of London Authority Police:

The London and India Docks Police, Surrey Commercial Dock Company Police and Millwall Dock Company Police joined to form the Port of London Authority Police on 01 March 1909. At that time, they were so badly clothed they were known as the "pantomime police". By the 1930's, their situation had improved where their pay was as good as that of the Metropolitan Police.

In foggy weather, Port of London Authority Policemen found their way around with the aid of sticks about 6 ft in length and wore life jackets over their top coats as a safeguard in case they fell into the river.

In 1955, pay was 9 18s 9d per week, rising to 11 19s per week with a free uniform. In today's money, this amounts to approximately 213.53 to 256.24 per week.

— View the British Forces —

Select a letter below to view the list of forces in alphabetical order

  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z  

Select a year below to view the list of forces in chronological order

  1775 1800 1825 1850 1875 1900 1925 1950 1975  2000

Select a count below to view the list of forces by force size

1 10 50 100 500 1000 5000

Select a type below to view the list of forces by unit


Enter text below to search for forces

— Photograph Albums Updated —

Among our recent updates to the site is a new format for the force photograph albums.
Use the links below to explore some of our albums.

— "Collect Them All" —

If you are interested in a small, weekly dose of British Police History, we invite you to return to the Members Page in the coming weeks to view the new British Police History trading cards. Each Sunday we will highlight a person, force, location or item.

Below is a sampling of the first three cards that have been published. Hover over a card below to flip the card to see the reverse side. Keep your mouse over the card to keep it flipped to the reverse side for reading. We hope you enjoy the new feature.


— Force Timelines Added —

Use the timelines on the force "Facts & Trivia" pages to navigate between related forces.
Available forces will be displayed in dark text, e.g., Reigate Borough Police below:

Do you have photographs of officers or photographs relating to policing in Britain?
If you do, we would be delighted to include them on these web-pages.
Please send your images to

— "Calling All Cars" —

A new section of the site where we will highlight organisations working
to preserve British Police History that are in need of support
as well as bits of that history that are in need of attention and preservation.


Please email with the details of worthy additions

— Please support this site by visiting our sponsor: —


  1. Card 001:
    Leicester Chronicle, 23 Jan 1836, 04 Jan 1840 - The British Newspaper Archive
    Leicester Journal, 23 October 1840 - The British Newspaper Archive
    Portrait courtesy of Leicestershire Police
  2. Card 002:
    Hampshire Advertiser, 13 Dec 1856 - The British Newspaper Archive
    Southern Times & Dorset County Herald, 18 Jan 1862, 04 Jun 1886 - The British Newspaper Archive
    Sherborne Mercury, 24 Apr 1866 - The British Newspaper Archive
    Western Gazette, 12 Apr 1918, 28 Jan 1921 - The British Newspaper Archive
  3. Card 003:
    Police Review and Parade Gossip, 09 March 1894
    Lichfield Mercury, 26 May 1905 - The British Newspaper Archive
    Portrait courtesy of and © Paul Davies