The original authorised strength of the force was soon found to be quite inadequate, particularly as the county had to police the Aston Division of Birmingham until 1911. The authorised strength gradually increased and by 1875 had reached 200. In the year 1900 it was 304 and today it has an authorised strength of 558 policemen and women.
At first all officers in the force were engaged in outside uniformed patrol duty, with the exception of the chief clerk. At first this officer, who was, of course, stationed at headquarters, held the rank of inspector: later his status was raised to superintendent. This position heralded the establishment of the specialist departments, the duty of whose personnel it is to become specially proficient in some branch of police work and to be available to assist the uniformed patrol officers.
The next specialist department to be formed was the Criminal lnvestigation Department. This came into being in 1858 as a result of a recommendation of H.M. Inspector of Constabulary on the occasion of his first visit. The headquarters of the C.I.D. was first at Aston, this being by far the busiest division, but with the annexation of this district by the City of Birmingham in 1911 it then came to county headquarters. Until 1917 the officer in charge of this department was a detective inspector, but his status was then raised to detective superintendent.
The Traffic Department was formed in 1935, its duties being to control all the transport of the force and to deal with all matters relating to accidents and road safety. It is controlled by a superintendent.
A Civil Defence Department was created in 1937 and assumed great importance during the 1939-45 war. It lapsed for a short time after the war but was re-created and is now under the control of the superintendent in charge of the Traffic Department.