West Yorkshire Archive service is pleased to announce that work has been completed on the West Riding Constabulary collection, with 3143 entries now being available on Calmview. The collection includes personnel records such as service registers, examination books and personnel registers and files which give details of officers and constables who joined the West Riding Constabulary from 1856–1969.
The West Riding Constabulary was established in 1856 as a county force which operated alongside the existing borough forces until amalgamation began in 1968. It was originally divided into 31 police districts within the county. In 1928 the first patrol car made an appearance and a Road Traffic Division was created in 1938 – a driving school being established at Wakefield in 1944. Women first joined the force in 1925. There are also an exciting number of photographs of constables and officers within various sections of the service including the Special Constabulary, Cadets, Civil Defence and Mounted sections.
The Legislative section of this collection reflect the many Acts, Bills and facets of the law and legal system that officers had to adhere to in their daily work. Crime evidently dominated their day which is reflected in the various police publications giving the modus operandi of criminals as well as many descriptions of felons, suspected and missing persons included in the collection. Beat books give the real day to day, almost hour by hour work of the constable. The enquiries they dealt with, witness statements to incidents they attended and the shift patterns officers worked.
One of the more entertaining elements of the collection are the many sporting and social club events and awards that took place within the force, cricket, bowling, police band and life saving teams among them.