Barlichway Force

In the year 1855 the magistrates of the Hundred of Barlichway decided to establish a force similar to that of the Knightlow Hundred. Isaac, who by that time was designated chief superintendent, was appointed chief officer to be in charge of both forces and he proceeded to establish a force in that district.

By 1856 it was apparent to the Government that the County Police Act of 1839 had fallen far short of providing a satisfactory system of policing the whole country. Some counties had established forces for the whole of their area, others, like Warwickshire, for part of the county, and some had not established forces at all. So far as Warwickshire was concerned the position in 1856 was that about half the county was policed by the forces of the Hundreds of Knightlow and Barlichway and separate forces had been established in the city of Birmingham and boroughs of Coventry, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon.

It might be mentioned here that Warwick borough had its own force until 1875 when it was merged into the county force: Stratford on-Avon until 1889 and Leamington Spa until 1947. The whole of the county is now policed by the Warwickshire Constabulary except for the cities of Birmingham and Coventry.

The passing of the County and Borough Police Act of 1856, made compulsory the setting up of police forces for the whole of the country. A system of uniformity was ensured by the Government appointing three Inspectors of Constabulary, whose duty it was to visit and enquire into the state of every force each year and to issue a certificate of efficiency if all was found to their satisfaction. Upon receipt of this certificate the Government paid one quarter of the cost of the force. This system exists to the present day, except that the Government now pays half the cost instead of a quarter.

Up to the year 1888, county police forces were controlled so far as strength, pay, equipment and buildings, etc., were concerned by a police committee of the county magistrates, but with the passing of the Local Government Act of 1888, the control was taken over by a committee consisting of an equal number of magistrates and members of the county council, the committee being known as the “Standing Joint Committee”. The duties of this body in modern times have suffered little change. The committee does not deal for example with discipline or promotion, these being matters for which the chief constable alone is responsible.