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 —

New Spitalfields Market Constabulary
Ulster Transport Authority Constabulary
Bideford Market Police
Bideford Borough Police
Northernhay Gardens Constables
Laying the Cornwall Constabulary to Rest
Contagious Diseases Police Unit
Eton College Police
Mendicity Society Constables
Belfast Parks Police
See All Additions

— The 10 Most Popular Additions of 2023 —

We compiled a list of the ten most popular additions of 2023.

See if you agree or catch up on what you may have missed.

1. Burlington Arcade Beadles
2. Oxford University Police
3. London Dock Company Police
4. London Passenger Transport Board Police
5. Dun Laoghaire Harbour Police
6. River Tweed Police
7. British Airports Authority Constabulary Motorcycle Section
8. British Airports Authority Constabulary CID
9. Air Ministry Warders
10. Blackheath and Lewisham Police

— The Journal of British Police History —


We are pleased to publish issue seventeen of our Journal.

It features articles on:

A History of Helmet Plates for the City of London Police,
The 'Lancon' Police Personal Radio,
Bristol Constabulary Good Service Medal,
Plymouth Water Police,
London & Blackwall Railway Police,
HQCD AA Section and much more.

We hope you enjoy this seventeenth instalment:
The Journal of British Police History
Winter 2022/23

— 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

— Topical Index —

Could you do with some assistance?

Try the topical index for direct access to special interest articles
and those not related to an individual police force.


— "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 each week to view the new series of British Police History trading cards. Each Sunday we will focus on a different item related to police uniform.

Below is a sampling of three cards from the series. Hover over a card to flip the card to see the answer. 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 —

Use the timelines on the force "Facts & Trivia" pages to navigate between related forces.
Available forces will be displayed in dark text, e.g., Metropolitan 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 section of the site where we highlight organisations working
to preserve British Police History that is 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 033:
    Halifax Evening Courier, 04 May 1953, 23 October 1953 - The British Newspaper Archive
  2. Card 007:
    Yorkshire Evening Post, 03 May 1915 - The British Newspaper Archive
  3. Card 008:
    Leicester Evening Mail, 09 February 1956 - The British Newspaper Archive