Warwickshire Constabulary

Constable1860To return to the formation and development of the Warwickshire Constabulary itself, however, the magistrates of the county appointed James Isaac as chief constable and he set about the task of organising a force for the whole of the county. Warwickshire was divided into fifteen police divisions and either a superintendent or an inspector was placed in charge of each. The strength of the force at its inception was 133 and the headquarters was at Kenilworth.

Suitable officers already serving in the Knightlow and Barlichway forces were promoted to the ranks of superintendent and inspector, and police stations were established in those parts of the county that had not as yet had a force. Lack of suitable buildings for police purposes was at first a serious handicap and the chief constable made an early survey of the whole of the county in this connection. As a result of his recommendations, a programme of building was started, and by 1860, station houses and lock-ups had been provided at divisional headquarters. Some of these are in use to the present day. Cottages were rented for occupation by officers who did not live at stations but for many years all members of the force, whether living at police stations or in rented houses, had to pay part of the rent; sergeants and constables up to £6 per year and higher ranks £8 per year.

Atherstone-DivisionThe fifteen police divisions appear to have been arranged so as to coincide largely with petty sessional areas while further, owing to the lack of transport and communication facilities, it was necessary to keep the divisions fairly small. Their number gradually decreased over the years as transport and communications improved, and today there are only six, namely, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Stratford-on-Avon, Nuneaton, Rugby and Mid-Warwickshire. Headquarters is classed as a division for administrative purposes. As the divisions decreased in number, so the practice of having some commanded by an inspector declined, and eventually all were under the control of an officer with the rank of superintendent.