Catalogue description Police departments

Details of Division within HO
Reference: Division within HO
Title: Police departments

Records of police departments of the Home Office.

Records of the Central Research Establishment are in HO 234, HO 235 and HO 236; of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in HO 242; of the Police and Statistical Branch in HO 66; and of the Police Research and Planning Branch and successors in HO 222 and HO 377.

Annual police returns are in HO 63; police entry books are in HO 149; and symbol series files dealing with aspects of police work are in HO 287, HO 288, HO 310, HO 325 and HO 353.

Departmental Security Unit (DSU Symbol Series) files HO 483.

Police Liaison (PL Symbol Series) and Police Leadership and Powers (PLP Symbol Series) files HO 498.

Inspectorate of Constabularies (IC Symbol Series) files HO 504.

Support to Permanent Secretary and Home Office Board (CFP 7/3 Symbol Series) files HO 505.

Police National Computer (PNC Symbol) Series files HO 521.

Police and Crime Prevention (PCP Symbol Series) files HO 528.

Security Planning (SPL Symbol Series) files HO 532.

Forensic Liaison (FL Symbol) files HO 534.

Date: 1856-2008
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Home Office, Central Research Establishment, 1966-

Home Office, Police and Statistical Branch, 1856-1865

Home Office, Police Department (F Division), 1918-

Home Office, Police Planning Organisation, 1969-

Home Office, Police Research and Development Branch, 1968-1969

Home Office, Police Research and Planning Branch, 1963-1968

Physical description: 22 series
Administrative / biographical background:

Police and Statistical Branch 1856-1865

In 1856 a Committee of Inquiry recommended the establishment of a separate Police and Statistical Branch as a fourth branch of the Home Office to carry out the duties attached to the post of Keeper of the Criminal Register. Police duties added to the post since 1829 included the business of police courts, county courts and metropolitan, borough and county police forces. Statistical work, additional to the maintenance of the criminal register, included the preparation of annual criminal tables for Parliament (from 1834), of police and prison statistics (from 1855) and of civil court statistics (from 1856). In 1853 duties in connection with highways and turnpike trusts had been added to the responsibilities of the keeper, and the clerks formerly employed by the surveyor of roads were transferred to perform the work. The new branch was established in September 1856 and continued until a general reorganisation of the Home Office in 1865. Statistical work was then transferred to a Statistical Branch forming part of a Parliamentary Department. Police matters were restored to the Criminal Department.

Police Department (F Division) c1918-

A specialist Police Department (F Division) developed after the First World War from the Police War Duties Division which was established as one of the wartime departments. Previously administrative work in connection with the police had been performed by the Criminal Department, the Domestic Department, and from 1914 to 1918 the Miscellaneous (E) Division, and there had earlier been a specialist Police and Statistical Branch.

The Police Department dealt with the administration, finance and superannuation of the police, including work in connection with their emergency duties in times of unrest. It also co-ordinated the implementation of road traffic legislation by the police. The Inspectorate of Constabulary was attached to it. It administered the Central Conference of Chief Constables and its Committees. It also dealt with fire brigades and fire prevention before the establishment of a separate Fire Services Department, and with postal and cable censorship and with control of wireless telegraphy before the establishment of the Directorate of Communications. In the 1930s it also became responsible for the new regional forensic science laboratories, and following the Second World War for the Police College.

Police Research and Planning Branch and successors 1963-

A Police Research and Planning Branch was formed in August 1963 on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Police to plan methods, develop new equipment and study new techniques. It was renamed the Police Research and Development Branch in 1968. In a reorganisation of December 1969 the branch's work was extended to include the police budgetary field, hitherto undertaken by a separate unit. The new organisation, known as the Police Planning Organisation, consists of three groups: Police Research Services; Police Scientific Development; and Management and Planning.

Central Research Establishment 1966-

The Central Research Establishment was set up at Aldermaston in 1966 to improve the use of science in police work by finding more material to link the criminal with the crime and increasing the evidential value of the material; and to increase the speed and efficiency of the methods used in the regional forensic science laboratories, from which most of its staff were drawn. The forensic science laboratories had been overwhelmed with routine case work and their opportunities for research had therefore been restricted. The establishment is divided into Information, Chemistry, Toxicology, Biology, Drugs of Abuse and External Contracts divisions, and formerly included Instrument and Alcohol Divisions.

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