West Sussex Constabulary Instructions

A S williams
British Police online Museum

West Sussex Constabulary

The County Police Act of 1856 was the motivation for the formation of the West Sussex Constabulary. On 8th January 1857, at a meeting of the General Quarter Sessions held at Petworth, the Justices decided to appoint a Chief Constable, six Superintendents, four Sergeants and sixty Constables.

The mobility of the Constabulary was to be secured by the provision of six horses and carts. There were at this time separate forces in Arundel and Chichester. The former consisting of a Superintendent and two Constables and the latter a Superintendent, Sergeant and five Constables.

The first Chief Constable of the County force was Captain Frederick Montgomerie of the 99th Regiment, and he based his Headquarters at Petworth.

The first uniform consisted of a frock coat and top hat but in 1872 the force changed to helmets and tunics.

Captain Montgomerie died in 1879 and Captain R. B. Drummond MVO succeeded him in September of that year.

In 1888 the Local Government Act was passed and a new Police Authority was formed. At the inaugural meeting of the Standing Joint Committee on 11th April 1889, the merging of the Borough Forces of Arundel and Chichester was approved and for the first time the County of West Sussex was policed by one force with Drummond at the head.

In 1897 the Headquarters were moved to Horsham And by 1901 the authorised establishment was 145. In July 1912 Captain A. S. Williams MVO succeeded Captain Drummond and inherited a force of 187 men. Conditions were slowly improving throughout the Police service and in 1913 West Sussex men saw the granting of one rest day for each fourteen worked. Technology too was being tried and tested and in the same year Superintendents stopped using a pony and trap and instead were allowed the hire of a motor car in cases of necessity and were permitted to receive one penny per mile when riding a bicycle on duty.

West Sussex Constabulary Instructions (extract)

January 1st 1914

I want now to say a few words to the wives of the West Sussex Constabulary. It is very probable that when a young woman first marries a policeman, she does not realise what a responsibility lies with her, not only for the good of the force, but for the success and advancement of her husband.

There are few cases when, as is the rule for the police, a man who wishes to marry has not only to ask for permission, but to give the information necessary for an enquiry as to his future wife’s previous good character. And the reason for this is what I have written above, namely, the good of the force and future of her husband depends a great deal on her. If a constable has not a clean, comfortable home to return to after his hard work, it is very disheartening for him. If it is very uncomfortable indeed he will not want to stay in it and will perhaps have nowhere better to go than to the public house; if it is very dirty it tends to make him slovenly and untidy, and his work will become slovenly, and he will lose self- respect and the respect of his neighbours.

If a wife keeps the house clean and comfortable, not only will she have something to do when her husband is out and the time will go quicker until he returns, but she will gain the respect and the liking of her well-to-do neighbours, and the best people in the neighbourhood will become her friends, and, which is so important to a policeman, will become also the friends of her husband, and she will have the satisfaction of knowing she is doing the best for her husband’s career, as well as happiness, as I shall invariably consider the home conditions of an Officer when contemplating his promotion.

 A S Williams

In the 1914-18 war no less than ninety four members of the force served in the army. At the end of the war the Standing Joint Committee welcomed all who returned from active service by entertaining them to dinner.

Twenty West Sussex men died whilst serving in the armed forces.

Thanks to Ancestry.co.uk     

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