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- Held At: Shropshire Archives
- System Reference: X7175
- Document Reference: 7175
- Date: 1754-1985
- Level: Collection
- Description: Majority of records date from 1850.
- Access Status: Readers Ticket
- Conditions: Access restricted: subject to individual application
- Admin History This collection of Shropshire policing records was transferred from Hindlip Hall, the headquarters of the West Mercia Police force, in 2004. The collection covers policing in Shropshire from 1859 and the majority of records date from before the creation of the West Mercia Police force. On 1 October 1967 the autonomous forces of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcester City and Worcestershire amalgamated into a regional crime squad. The papers in this collection relate to the pre 1967 re-organisation of policing in Shropshire. During this stage, the records show that policing in Shropshire was over a number of divisions, chiefly; Shrewsbury Town, Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Wellington and Ludlow. Management and administrative records 7175/1 (1859 - 1972) form a large part of the collection namely the General Orders and Routine Orders of the Shropshire Constabulary. The earliest General Order books dates to 1859 and comes from Chief Constable's office. General Order no.2 of 29th April 1859, on the eve of a General Election the Chief Constable deemed it '[...] necessary to direct the Superintendents to impress particularly on the officers under their charge the necessity of their observing the strict impartiality, sobriety and steadiness in the performance' of their duties. In 1947, the Shrewsbury force was absorbed into the county and the administrative records from this date cover the Shropshire Constabulary. The General Orders are indexed and cover all instructions to the force, on execution of points of law, on arrangements for events, on uniform and appointments. These run in a complete series from 1946 -1967. There is a supplementary series that were the personal copies of officers and these have annotations, see 7175/5/12 - 21 (1918-1967). The history of the force is covered in a number of manuscripts, newspaper and magazine articles 7175/4 (1920 - 1999). 7175/4/1 A diary kept by A W Hall 7175/4/1 1922 - 1926 detail an ambitious man preoccupied with a finger print identification system and Chief Constable Becke, of whom there are numerous references to 'his lies' which reached a peak in 1926. Personal papers are a feature of the collection, there are several police notebooks 7175/5 (1903 - 82) including a personal book by Sergeant Edward Austin Grose of "Interesting Cases" 7175/5/8 c.1945 that includes the first case at Shrewsbury where scientific evidence had played a part in conviction. Material from the West Mercia Museum 7175/6 (1754 - 1988) is a miscellany of items relating to the creation of the museum, a Victorian police station appeal at Blists Hill and souvenir programmes. A coroner's inquisition of 1754 details the death of William Nevitt from falling into the River Severn. There is a Pedlar's Certificate 7175/6/8 for Balshan Singh for 1967. Personnel records 7175/7 (1899 - 1964) include registers of the force, appointments, promotion, removals and retirements with physical characteristics. A disciplinary report book shows offences by officers including neglect of duty, disobedience of orders and being under the influence of drink whilst on duty. The Shropshire Constabulary undertook a number of studies on police property 7175/8 (1913 - 1970). The force had a reputation for poor housing, which affected the recruitment of officers, largely due to the practice of renting private houses as opposed to the construction of purpose built houses. This resulted in a variation in the quality of police accommodation. A Register of Cottages occupied by the force includes description of private houses that may be suitable for police residence 7175/8/2 1913 - 1924. A report on Police Housing in Shrewsbury 7175/8/5 1945 - 48 shows that the situation had not substantially improved and many officers were living in sub-standard private accommodation. Records of animal disease and movement of swine reflect the agricultural character of the county 7175/9 (1878 - 1905). Records of investigations are not a major feature of this collection, but there are papers relating to Emma L Peel for stealing and Mrs Hyde for operating a fraudulent recruitment agency. There are records relating to bastardy orders. 7175/10 (1895 - 1952) The divisional records cover area policing 7175/11 (1896 - 1967). The divisions cover the areas of Bridgnorth, Donnington, Ludlow, Market Drayton, Much Wenlock, Oswestry and Shrewsbury, with some boundary changes c.1960. The series includes section reports, beat registers, officer commendation and complaint books, register for holding of explosives (Market Drayton) and Irishmen (Oswestry). The register of convicts on license and crime registers include photographs of individuals. Further reading: A History of Shropshire (Oxford, 1979) 'Law and Order after 1889', pp.228-231.
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