Catalogue description County Police Force

This record is held by Cheshire Archives and Local Studies

Details of CJP
Reference: CJP
Title: County Police Force



Quarter Sessions - Police Committee Minutes 1857-1889 CJP 1/1-3


Standing Joint Committee Minutes 1889-1965 CCCJ 1/1


Cheshire Police Authority Minutes 1949-1973 CCCJ 1/11


County Council Police Committee Minutes 1973- CCCJ 1/20




Budgets 1968-1974 CJP 25/1


Loan Register 1949-1971 CJP 25/2


Police Properties Register 1964-1967 CJP 25/3




General Orders 1857-1945 CJP 4/1-35


1936-1945 CJP 9/45


1894-1897, 1931, 1943-1946 CJP 20/1/1-3


1979 CJP 23/1


General Orders - Divisional Copies 1857-1917 CJP 5/1-4


Orders - Printed 1857 CJP 9/8


Standing Orders (incomplete) c.1930 CJP 27/8/1


Permanent Orders 1955-1961 CJP 27/8/2


Orders - Weekly 1949- CJP 22


Confidential Instructions 1866-1902 CJP 2


Letter Books 1879-1920 CJP 3/1-2


Memoranda to Superintendants 1881-1926 CJP 6/1-8


Minutes of Superintendants' Conferences 1935-1938 CJP 27/10/1


Monthly Investigation of Crime 1938 CJP 20/1/4


Circular Memoranda to Divisional and Station Officers 1940-1946 CJP 27/12


Road Accident Statistics 1942, 1945-1948 CJP 27/13/1


Specimen Reports c. 1931 CJP 27/9/1


Report on the Re-organisation of the Cheshire Police Force. 1947 CJP 20/1/5


Case for the amalgamation of the Stockport and Cheshire Police. 1966 CJP 26/1


Operational Files - Royal Visits and Special Operations 1970-1973 CJP 27/14


PERSONNEL - see also Personnel Records of local Police forces.


Enrolment and Record Books 1857-1913 CJP 7/1-5


Pensions Register 1857-1965 CJP 20/2/1


Register of Appointments 1923-1966 CJP 24/1


Register of Married officers 1847-1960 CJP 24/2


Applications to marry (examples) 1928-1942 CJP 27/28


Service Certificates (examples) 1919,1929 CJP 27/29




Case papers re serious crimes - sample 1910-1966 CJP 20/20


Crime Information Bulletins 1954 CJP 27/24




Miscellaneous records and photographs 1968-1985 CJP 27/16




Register of Offenders 1875-1909 CJP 20/3/1


Calendars of Prisoners 1862-1971 CJP 20/3/2-13


Files of Woman Superintendant Joan Hunt 1963-1974 CJP 21


Publications 1947- CJPX


Miscellaneous papers collected by Superindendant R.W.James - see detailed list - including photographs. 1839-1946 CJP 9


Miscellaneous papers re the Cheshire CJP 20


Constabulary and other police forces CJP 27


Photograph Albums (1916) 1937-1985 CJP 27/15






Wages Books 1870-1943 CJP 20/6/-16


Lock-up Book 1848-1850 CJP 20/6/3


Register of Habitual Criminals 1886-1937 CJP 20/6/4


Daily Occurence Books 1913,1921-23,1940-41 CJP 20/6/8,9


Personnel file - Sjt. C.H.Langford 1908-1935 CJP 27/1/1


Miscellaneous 1833-1927 CJP 20/6


CHESTER CITY POLICE (annual reports 1913-1941 are in Central Local Studies Collection)


Roll of Members 1836-1939 CJP 20/7/1


Memoranda re City Police 1875-1884 CJP 20/7/2


Report re the amalgamation of the City and County police forces 1949 CJP 20/7/3


Police Identity Photograph 1872 CJP 27/2/1




Constable's Occurrence Book 1839-1840 CJP 9/1


Crime Books 1877-1947 CJP 17/1-2


Lock-up Books 1944-1957 CJP 17/3-4


Occurrence Books 1961 CJP 17/5


Registers 1926-1950 CJP 17/6-7


Photograph c.1938 CJP 17/8


Chief Constable - Annual Reports 1914-1932 LBC 62




Offences under the Macclesfield Improvement Act c.1852 CJP 20/9/1


Police Regulations 1891 CJP 20/9/2


Declarations by constables as to service 1891-1945 CJP 27/3/1


Watch Committee Minutes 1848-1949 LBM 2703/44


Police Pay Books 1911-1947 LBM 2515/68


Miscellaneous 1890-1947 LBM 2703/95, 99,100








Register of Constables c.1900-1930 CJP 20/2/2




Gaol Book 1836-1840 CJP 20/10/1


Town Thieves Books 1879-1938 CJP 20/10/2-3


Police Enrolment and Record Book 1890-1931 CJP 20/10/4


Miscellaneous 1919-1939 CJP 20/10


Police Exhibition - Photographs 1964 CJP 27/4/1




Watch Committee Minutes 1912-1966 CJP 10


Daily Orders 1914-1966 CJP 11/1-18


Registers of Licences Issued 1872-1970 CJP 12/1-2


Reports of the Chief Constable 1936-1959 CJP 14/1-26


Police Pay Books 1913-1918


1959-1960 CJP 13/1-2


Register of constables declared into office 1913-1941 CJP 13/3


Service Record 1913-1943 CJP 13/4


Correspondence - Licencing 1913-1958 CJP 15/1-16


Correspondence - Miscellaneous 1921-1963 CJP 16/1-5


Accounts 1930-1952 CJP 16/6-9


Newscuttings 1960-1965 CJP 16/10-11


Miscellaneous 1909-1929 CJP 20/11


Police Warrant Cards c.1960 CJP 27/5/1-4


P.C. Liston B.E.M. Presentation 1953 CJP 27/5/5




Enrolment and Misconduct Registers 1846-1951 CJP 20/12/1-4


Certificates of Discharge 1923-1969 CJP 20/12/5-6


Police Duty Book 1861-1865 CJP 20/19/3


Police Late Book 1866 CJP 20/19/4


Register of returned convicts 1896-1949 CJP 20/19/1


Police Photograph albums 1936-1963 CJP 27/6/1-2


Joint Branch Board Minutes 1959-1963 CJP 27/6/3


Discretionary Beats 1960 CJP 27/6/4




History of Warrington Borough Police 1958 CJP 27/6/5


General Orders 1938-1969 CJP 20/19/8-14


Chief Constable's Reports 1951-1969 CJP 20/19/18-36, 41-51.


Miscellaneous 1901-1972 CJP 20/19


N.B. Most of the older records of Warrington Borough Police Force are held by Warrington Public Library, Museum St., Warrington. These include -


Assistant Constable's Report Books 1838-1848


Chief Constable's Report Books 1847-1868


Deputy Constable's Report Books 1838-1879


Register of Charges 1915-1937


Registers of Crimes 1909-1938


Registers of Warrants 1908-1930


Miscellaneous 1839-1969


Records held by the Lancashire Record Office consist of -


Wanted and Reward Posters 1831-1863 CBWa 1


Annual Reports of Chief Constable and copies of returns made to the Home Office 1895-1912 CBWa 2/1


Robbery Report Book and Crimes Register 1928-1935 CBWa 2/2


Charges Register 1937-1938 CBWa 2/3






Disciplinary Report Book 1920-1950 CJP 27/7/2


Superintendant's Commendation Book 1936-1954 CJP 27/7/3




Tarvin Station - Lock-up book/misc




Hoole Station - Inspector's Journal 1934




Disciplinary Report Book 1921-1964




Astbury Lock-up book 1911-1936




Distribution of Officers 1860




Occurrence books - sample 1951-1971


1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971

Related material:

See also -


Clerk of the Peace


Police Acts 1839-1946 CCLe 5/1/179


Police Pensions Acts 1912-1927 CCLe 5/1/156


Annual Reports of H.M. Inspectors of Constabulary 1933-1946 CCLe 5/1/159


Legal Opinions CCLe 3

Held by: Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Access conditions:

With the exception of Committee minute books, police records are closed to public access for 50 years. Certain records may be closed for longer periods.

Administrative / biographical background:

The office of constable was originally created to enforce medieval obligations of military service, a duty that developed into the maintenance of the peace and the enforcement of the orders of the Justices of the Peace, to whom constables were responsible. It became an unpaid, and unpopular, elective parochial office, largely concerned with the enforcement of the Poor Law. Constables' accounts can often be found with parish records.


Social mobility, the concentration of large industrial populations and the popular unrest that accompanied the end of the Napoleonic Wars made law enforcement by unwilling amateurs, tied to a parochial framework, increasingly difficult.


In 1829, the Metropolitan Police Force was established to deal with the problem of crime in the capital and, in the same year, the Justices of the Peace in Cheshire obtained a private Act of Parliament to enable them to appoint a paid High Constable for each hundred and an Assistant Petty Constable to each township or group of townships [oab]see QCX 5[cab]. According to R.W. James, who published a history of the Cheshire Constabulary in 1957 - To the Best of Our Skill and Knowledge, it failed because "it was purely permissive and subject to too many debilitating factors and it had the fatal weakness of not providing for a co-ordinating head or chief executive officer". By 1837, only 3 Special High Constables and 24 Assistant Petty Constables had been appointed. The basic problem was that of money - who was to pay for the new service, the county or the district, as no new rate had been levied? This defect was not remedied until the 1829 Act was amended in 1852 to provide for a separate police rate. The salaries of the Assistant Petty Constables (#55 p.a. at Leftwich) were to be paid by the Overseers of the Poor, but out of the Poor Rate or out of the County Rate? Legal opinion, obtained in 1834, stated that it should come out of the Poor Rate (CCLe 3/1/50). There was some hostility from the traditional agents of law enforcement - in 1842, a Special High Constable who removed a prisoner from the custody of a parish constable was prosecuted by the latter for assault and, although the case was dismissed, could not recover his costs (CCLe 3/2/11). Moreover, the new police force was unable to cope with urban unrest on the scale of the Chartist riots at Stockport in 1839 or Irish mobs at Birkenhead in 1851, when Special Constables had to be enrolled or the military called out.


Boroughs were obliged to establish their own police forces, under the control of Watch Committees, by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 and these were established in Congleton, Macclesfield and Stockport. The Town Improvement Commissioners of Birkenhead and Stalybridge had already set up their own police forces, under local Acts.


The County Police Act of 1839 allowed counties to establish police forces and, in 1856, this was made compulsory. These forces were to be inspected by Inspectors of Constabulary, appointed by the Crown and, if they were found to be efficient, would be supported by a grant of one quarter of the costs of their pay and clothing from the Home Office.


By 1856, the Cheshire force consisted of 8 High Constables and 80 Petty Constables.


Quarter Sessions appointed a Police Committee [oab]CJP 1/1-4; QAM 10[cab] to implement the 1856 Act and established a force of 143 constables, 15 sergeants, 2 inspectors, 9 superintendants and a Chief Constable, formed into divisions that were based on the hundreds.


Boroughs with a population exceeding 5000 - Chester, Congleton, Macclesfield, Stockport, Birkenhead and Stalybridge - maintained their own police forces.


The Local Government Act of 1888 transferred the supervisory responsibility for the police force from Quarter Sessions to a new Standing Joint Committee, comprised of equal numbers of Justices of the Peace and County councillors. The Chief Constable was obliged to report quarterly to this committee, but otherwise had full operational control. The Act also transferred to the Committee the police powers of boroughs with a population of under 10,000.


Discontent with the continued influence of the 'landed interest' in the control of the police force surfaced in the accusation, made in 1890, that the Chief Constable was allowing his men to act as extra game-keepers on the estates on local landowners, instead of performing their duties of law-enforcement. The allegations were investigated by a special sub-committee of the Standing Joint Committee [oab]CCCJ 1/2/1[cab]. Some were proved and the constables of Macclesfield were deprived of the £1 for every poacher convicted that they had been offered by a group of magistrates and landowners. This incident prompted the Council to petition for complete control over the Standing Joint Committee by turning it into one of its own committees.


The Police Act of 1919 created the Police Federation and the Police Council [oab]CCCJ 1/1/1/1[cab] as a consultative body for the Home Secretary, who was empowered to make regulations regarding conditions of service, pay and allowances. In 1922, the Standing Joint Committee appointed sub-committees for Finance [oab]CCCJ 1/2[cab]; Police Administration; Police Clothing [oab]CCCJ 1/7[cab]; Actions against the Police and Justices' Clerks Salaries and Fees [oab]CCCJ 1/4[cab]


The Royal Commission on Local Government in Tyneside recommended the amalgamation of police forces for more efficient and more economical policing, but it was not until the passage of the Defence (Amalgamation of Police Forces) Regulations in 1942, that the Home Secretary was empowered to create Joint Police Authorities, where this was deemed necessary.


The Police Act of 1946 provided for the compulsory amalgamation of police forces by the Home Secretary and abolished the separate forces of all non-county boroughs, unless they could claim a 1939 population of at least half that of the county in which they were situated, transferring those forces to county control. This added the forces of Macclesfield, Hyde, Stalybridge and Congleton to the Cheshire Constabulary, increasing its strength to 835 men and 16 women. Following a public enquiry, the City of Chester Police force was also amalgamated with the County, by order of the Home Secretary, in 1949. The Cheshire Police Amalgamation Order of 1949 established the Cheshire Police Authority [oab]CCJ 1/11[cab] which inherited the police responsibilities of the Standing Joint Committee and of the City of Chester's Watch Committee. It consisted of two thirds representatives of the constituent councils and one third representatives of the Quarter Sessions and City Magistrates. This left the Standing Joint Committee with residual responsibilities for County Records; Justices' Clerks salaries and fees and the provision of courthouses until its abolition in 1965, when these duties were transferred to the General Purposes Committee (Records), the Building and Estates Committee (courthouses) and the Quarter Sessions (salaries and fees).


The Cheshire Police Authority established sub-committees for Pensions [oab]CCCJ 1/11[cab]; Administration [oab]CCCJ 1/12[cab] and Finance and Staffing [oab]CCCJ 1/14[cab], all abolished in 1963, when their duties were transferred to a General Purposes Committee [oab]CCCJ 1/16[cab] and an Actions against the Police Committee.


The Police Act of 1964 sought to introduce a greater degree of uniformity in the control and administration of local police forces and to promote further amalgamation, to deal with the growth of large conurbations. The Watch Committees of boroughs, on which magistrates were not represented, had retained direct powers of appointment, promotion and discipline over their police forces and this was held to be undesirable. The Act strengthened the operational powers of Chief Constables, making them entirely responsible for all appointments, promotions and discipline within their forces. Although required to report to his Police Authority, a Chief Constable could, if he thought it in the public interest, refer specific matters to the Home Secretary.


The Police Authority, which was required to maintain an adequate and efficient police force, was empowered to appoint, and discipline, the Chief Constable, his Deputy and Assistants; to decide on the size and constitution of the police force; to provide buildings and equipment; to deal with complaints against the police and to arrange for legal services. It had to maintain a separate Police Fund, which was not subject to financial control by the constituent local authorities that contributed towards it, although no expenditure that did not fall within the scope of Police Regulations, Parliamentary Statute or a legal judgement, could be made without their approval.


The 1946 Police Act also gave the Home Secretary greater powers of control, thorough inspection and the ordering of compulsory schemes of amalgamation.


In 1966, the County Borough forces of Birkenhead, Wallasey and Stockport were amalgamated with the Cheshire Constabulary and the Police Authority was enlarged to include representatives of those Councils. The combined police area was divided into three districts - West, Central and East Cheshire - with a proposed strength of over 3,000 officers.


The Police Authority established sub-committees for County and Divisional Headquarters [oab]CCCJ 1/17[cab]; Civilian Staff [oab]CCCJ 1/19[cab] and Police Complaints [oab]CCCJ 1/18[cab].


Local Government re-organisation led to the abolition of the Police Authority in 1974 and its replacement by a statutory Police Committee [oab]CCCJ 1/20[cab], two thirds of whom were to be appointed by, and members of, the County Council and one third County magistrates, appointed by the County Magistrates Courts Committee. Its functions were those of the former Police Authority - the maintenance of an adequate and efficient police force for the area; to "keep themselves informed as to the manner in which complaints from members of the public against members of the force are dealt with by the Chief Constable; to appoint, and discipline, the Chief Constable, his Deputy and Assistants; to determine the size of the police establishment; to maintain buildings and equipment and to provide legal services.


The County Council was to maintain a police fund for all payments and receipts for police purposes and, in matters where the Committee had a discretion e.g. the building of a divisional headquarters, payments were not to be made without the approval of the County Council. Such approval was not required for expenditure over which the Committee had no discretion - Police Regulations (pay, housing, pensions, clothing etc.); court orders or any sum directed by statute to be paid out of the Police Fund. The County Council was not the employer of police officers, but only of civilian staff. The Chief Constable was to have complete authority over the direction and control of the Police Force, its appointments, promotions and discipline and he was not to be subject to detailed supervision by the Police Committee in relation to his policing functions. It was stated that "The Chief Constable is not subject to orders or directions from the Police Committee nor the Home Secretary, but he is accountable to them for the exercise of certain of his functions".


The new Police Area was divided into five divisions - Chester, Crewe, Macclesfield, Widnes and Northwich.


In 1974, the Police Committee established a Police Complaints sub-committee [oab]CCCJ 1/21[cab] to investigate complaints against the police, although the Police Act of 1975 established a national Police Complaints Board to oversee local procedures.


Local Police Consultative Committees were established in 1982, to promote better relations with the public at district level.




County and Borough Police Act 1856


(County Force and Borough Forces)


Committee of Justices established i.e. Police Committee of Cheshire Quarter Sessions


County - 1 Chief Constable


9 Superintendents


2 Inspectors


15 Sergeants


143 Constables


County - 9 Divisions based on Hundreds














Hyde Macclesfield Hundred divided into three districts


Stockport Macclesfield Hundred divided into three districts


Prestbury Macclesfield Hundred divided into three districts


Exceptions - City of Chester


Congleton Borough


Macclesfield Borough amalgamated with County Constabulary 1947


Stockport Borough


Birkenhead Commission


Stalybridge Commission


Administrative changes


1868 - Western part Bucklow Division - Runcorn Division Eastern Bucklow - Altrincham Division


1889 - Court of Quarter Sessions replaced by Standing Joint Committee


1895 - Wirral Division becomes - North Wirral Division


South Wirral Division


1895 - Northwich re-named Middlewich Division


1899 - Hyde Borough Police Authority established


Residue of Hyde Division becomes Dukinfield Division


1913 - Wallasey Borough Police formed. Residue of North Wirral Division combined with South Wirral as Wirral Division


1934 - Stockport Division absorbed into Dukinfield Division


1947 - (Following Police Act 1946). Municipal Borough Police Authorities - Macclesfield, Hyde, Stalybridge, Congleton merged with County Constabulary


1949 - Chester City Force amalgamated with county


From 1949 Combined Police Authority city area renamed Chester City Division and absorbed Broxton.


From 1949 North East Division (Hyde, Stalybridge and Dukinfield)

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