Duties of a Country Policeman in 1950's
|PC L Snowdon
Liverton was part of the sub division of Loftus under the Whitby Division. The Riding is divided into nine divisions with a superintendant in charge of each. Then come the Inspectors in charge of Sub Divisions, Sergents at sections and one or more Constables working country beats.
Previously stationed at Loftus, in those days a Police officer had to serve three years before he was allowed to get married and his wife had to produce references to say that she was a suitable person to marry a Police Officer.
PC13 was invited to talk to a senior class at Loftus County Modern School about his work.
This is what he said "When the Saxons settled in England, they introduced their tribal system under Head man (Tithung man) and members of each settlement were answerable to keeping peace in their locality. In the reign of Alfred the Great 870-901 there was an effective system for preserving order, the Earls in the provinces were responsible for preserving Kings Peace. The country was divided into shires and the Sheriff was responsible for each County.
The present police system was introduced by Sir Robert Peel in 1829 and as a result the Metropolitan Police Force was formed, it was so successful that a series of acts were passed and in 1835 borough forces were established and in 1839 county forced.
The North Riding Police Force is a County force, being one of the three counties of Yorkshire. It was formed in 1856 and the first Chief Constable was Captain Thomas Hill. The force started with 104 men. There are now some 650 and the present Chief Constable is Mr J.R.Archer-Burton.
In a county area the constable lives in one village and is responible for several other villages, which he covers using a pedal cycle (he is allowed two shillings and sixpence a month for this), his duties vary from that of a town Constable. His hours of duty have to be split to cover both day and also the night.
Liverton beat covers over 20 square miles and extends from Lockwood Beck to White Cross, along the Whitby to Guisborough Moor Road to Scaling Bridge so far down Ridge Lane and across to Grinkle and then to South Loftus, and a line to Liverton Lodge along Kilton Beck, including Moorsholm and back to Lockwood Beck.
In Summer there is alot of traffic along the Moor Road and therefore a certain number of accidents, many lambs and sheep wander on to the road and are injured and killed. The owners of the animals have to be notified and the carcases buried (offences - dogs act). Owners are traced by ear marks and markings on the horns etc., other accidents occur between motor vehicles and if this is due to carelessness on the part of one or more of the drivers, they are reported. The scene has to be visited, measurements taken, witnesses interviewed etc. of course injury must be attended to first and an ambulance or Doctor called to the scene.
Disease of animals is also delt with, the Police in the North Riding are appointed inspectors under this act. The Officer has to know about the different diseases and how to act when an outbreak occurs. All farmers and cattle owners must keep a 'Movement of Animals' record book in which all cattle bought or sold must be entered within 36 hours. These books have to be inspected every three months by the Police Officer. Foot and Mouth is the most serious and difficult to control, the Ministry have to be informed and if confirmed a standstill order has to be made over an area of 5 miles, the Ministry may extend the area, as few persons as possible may enter the area and disinfectant provided for hands and feet. Anthrax is another serious disease, animals must be burnt in a pit as near as possible to the dead animal, the pit has to be 7 foot 4 inches wide and 3 foot deep, a chimney made and a trench dug 9 feet by 9 feet around that. Materials required are: half ton of coal, half ton of wood, 56 pounds of straw and two gallons of parrafin.
Poaching and prevention of Poaching,
Wildbird protection, protects majority of wildbirds and their nests and eggs, it is an offence to use traps, gins, snares or poison bait.
Other Bye Laws:
Sheep dipping, an officer has to be present.
Dogs have to be controlled between 1st February and 1st June, between sunset and sunrise.
Bulls to be controlled at all times.
It is the duty of a Police Officer to preserve life and protect property and also to prevent crime and to enforce the law.
He has to act on his own initiative and be responsible.
He must be observant particularly where a crime has been committed of footprints, fingerprints, hairs, material, bloodstains etc.
Be observant for stolen vehicles, persons wanted and enquires made at likely places for information.
Public houses to be visited and hotel and registers to be inspected. No person under 18 years of age to be served intoxicating liquor.
Unoccupied property to be inspected, when people notify that they are on holiday.
Shop doors checked to see that they are locked.
Observation has to be kept for motoring offences, road fund licences expired, rear lights working, that the user has a licence and a certificate of motor insurance.
These are just a sample of the duties of a Country Police Officer.
Amongst the questions asked by pupils along with the answers given by PC13:
Q1. How do you become a Police man?
Answer: Training, recruits undergo a 13 weeks course at the police training college at Newby Wiske, Northallerton, where they get sworn in. They undergo instructions on dealing with the public, first aid, traffic control, physical education, self defence, etc.
Q2. What makes a good Policeman?
Answer: Qualifications, they must be under 30 years, 5ft 10" in height, have a 36 in chest, and they must be intelligent, need tact, have a good temper and also have a good memory.
Q3. What is the duty of a Police Force?
Answer: Numerous, Prevention and detection of crime, preservation of life and property, traffic duty, we also attend race meetings, shows etc. keeping a watchful eye, and seeing that no crimes are committed.
Q4. Can you describe your equipment and uniform.
Answer: Uniform: Tunic, trousers, cap, cape, mackintosh, overcoat, short coat (called a British warm), gloves, blue shirts, black plain toed boots, truncheon, handcuffs, pocket book, rule, first aid kit, lamp and a belt.
Q5. What are a Constables wages?
Answer: £10 a week rising to £12.5s, less deductions of approximately 30 shillings, for superanuation and national insurance. We also get an allowance for boots of 2/6 and for a lamp 2/6.
Q6. Who pays for the Police Force?
Answer: One half of the expenditure is paid by the Home office and the remainder by the local authority (N.R.C.C.) from the general fund.
Q7. Who says how many Police men there are in any one town or city?
Answer: The Secretary of State, there are 650 police officers in the North Riding Constabulary.
Q8. Who is in charge of the North Riding Constabluary?
Answer: The Chief Constable and the Standing Joint Committee.
Q9. What are the ranks in the police force?
Answer: Chief Constable, Assistant Chief, Superindtendants, Inspectors, Sergants, Contables and Cadets.
Q10. What hours do you work?
Answer: 8 hours a day, straight shift in towns, unless there are emergancies, when we work extra. I am a country Policeman and work split shifts, sometimes starting as early as 5am and finishing as late as 2am.
Q11. How many holidays do you get?
Answer: 19 days for Constables, 23 for Sergents and 30 for Inspectors.
Q12. What happens when someone is arrested?
Answer: The person is taken to the Police Station, where he is interviewed by the Inspector or Sergent, who decide whether a charge is to be made. Fingerprints are taken if the charge is serious. There are forms to be filled in, entries made in charge books. The information room at Northallerton, headquarters are informed to see if the prisoner has had any previous convictions, if the person is charged he may be released on bail, or placed in a cell until he can be brought before the Justice of the Peace.