Colour­ful his­tory with chan

For the past 150 years Kent Po­lice have been or­der in the county. As the force cel­e­brates its look back to see how it all be­gan and how thing over the years. re­ports He­len Wagstaff

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - KENT POLICE CELEBRATE -

WITH an Army his­tory in­clud­ing twice be­ing in charge of con­vict ships to the New World, Kent Po­lice’s first chief con­sta­ble, Cap­tain John Henry Hay Rux­ton, was cer­tainly ex­pe­ri­enced in keep­ing things in line. And on Jan­uary 14, 1857, with 222 of­fi­cers and men un­der him, Cap­tain Rux­ton set about giv­ing Kent a po­lice force to be proud of. The force first set up base in a build­ing called Wrens Cross in Stone Street, Maid­stone, which now stands empty since Kent County Coun­cil quit the site in 1997. It was rented at first, be­fore be­ing bought in 1860 for the sum of just £1,200. Over the course of his 37-year term as chief con­sta­ble, which ended on Au­gust 14, 1894, Mr Rux­ton was known as the Gen­tle­man Chief, as he was seen more of­ten in his plus fours and tweed jacket than his uni­form. How­ever, Kent’s first po­lice of­fi­cers, who worked a seven-day week un­til 1912 when they were given one day off a fort­night, took to the streets in a stiff uni­form of frock coat and high hat. This was changed just three years later in 1860 when the uni­form tu­nic and shako hat were adopted. The tra­di­tional bobby’s hel­met was not seen on Kent’s streets un­til 1897. When Kent Po­lice first came into ex­is­tence there were po­lice forces within the county in Ten­ter­den, Hythe, Folkestone, Can­ter­bury, Deal, Dover, Faver­sham, Gravesend, Maid­stone, Mar­gate, Rochester, Rams­gate, Sand­wich,


and Tun­bridge Wells. How­ever, on April 1, 1889, the bor­ough forces of Deal, Hythe, Faver­sham, Sand­wich and Ten­ter­den were merged with the Kent Con­stab­u­lary, leav­ing just nine au­ton­o­mous forces, which amal­ga­mated with Kent on April 1, 1943. When the Kent County Con­stab­u­lary was formed, there were 12 su­per­in­ten­dents in charge of di­vi­sions, and each was is­sued with a horse and a two-wheeled cart. This was be­cause as well as their ob­vi­ous su­per­vi­sory role, they were also re­spon­si­ble for the trans­porta­tion of pris­on­ers to the jails in Can­ter­bury and Maid­stone. Bi­cy­cles, rid­den by of­fi­cers in for­age cap, knick­ers and put­tees, were in­tro­duced in 1896, with 20 bought at a cost of £8 each. It was not un­til 1930 that the force stepped up a gear and pro­vided eight rural sergeants with mo­tor­bikes. This was fol­lowed one year later with one car and 19 mo­tor­bikes for road pa­trol. In 1935, the force re­alised the build­ing at Wrens Cross was too small and the present head­quar­ters site in Sut­ton Road, Maid­stone, were built.

When the Kent County Con­stab­u­lary was formed, there were 12 su­per­in­ten­dents in charge of di­vi­sions, and each was is­sued with a horse and a two-wheeled cart

All go in the ops room

All the mod cons – a WPC on a Lam­bretta scooter in the late 1960s

PC John Laker on one of

The gen­tle touch. A WPC on pa­trol in the 1960s

A po­lice cadet with enor­mous per­sonal ra­dio in 1960

KCC’s first de­tec­tive su­per­in­ten­dent, P. F. Ambrose in 1915

The girls in the op­er­a­tions room

first Kent Po­lice Ja­panese mo­tor­cy­cles in 1974

Pc Jack Ives in late 19th cen­tury uni­form

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