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On January 1, 1851, the Surrey Constabulary began its policing of the county with a total of just 70 officers, the youngest of whom was a mere 14 years old. For a brief look at the Force's history see the links below.
To help celebrate its 150th anniversary, a museum portraying the history of the Force was opened at Mount Browne, the Surrey Police's headquarters in Guildford. Surrey resident Sir Michael Caine, CBE, took a break from filming to officially open the doors to the museum on 22nd October, 2001.
Months of hard work went into the development of the museum. Displays include a reconstructed lock-up (an old-fashioned holding cell for drunks and criminals), a reconstructed crime scene showing scenes of crime techniques, artefacts and touch-screen technology, all tracing the history of the Force up to the present day.
Surrey Police staff are welcome to visit the museum at Mount Browne at any time. Members of the public can book group visits by phoning or e-mailing Records Management on 01483 39930.
The establishment of a single, unitary police force for the county of Surrey has not been a simple matter – taking a mere 150 years to achieve! Over that time the Force has coped with numerous amalgamations, secessions, reorganisations and boundary changes, and yet has survived and always continued to move forward.
The Surrey Constabulary was established in 1851 but, by then, both Guildford and Godalming Boroughs had already been running their own police forces for some years. You have to go back even further, to 1800, to find the first formal police force, when the Glasgow Police Act established the City of Glasgow Police, which served until 1975, when it was amalgamated into Strathclyde Police.
The Metropolitan Police, established in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel, initially operated within a seven-mile radius of Charing Cross, which included areas within the then Surrey county boundary and then later on became the model for other forces throughout the country. Over the next few years the area of policing was extended to take in additional parts of the county including Banstead, Warlingham, Coulsdon and Epsom – even in these early years parts of Surrey were being annexed in policing terms.
It was the success of the Metropolitan force that led to the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, which allowed cities and boroughs to form their own police forces. The following year a borough force was set up for Guildford with Godalming establishing its own force a few years later.
At a meeting of the Guildford Watch Committee on 15 January 1836 it was resolved to appoint nine Constables for the borough. Three days later the appointments had been made and the Officers became operational shortly afterwards. Richard Jarlett was appointed Superintendent Constable on a salary of £15 a year but he was only part time, as he was also the High Street baker!
The Constables were paid 18s a week in the summer and 21s in the winter. In the early days there were night constables and day policemen who worked from 6am–8pm. At a meeting of the Watch Committee on 14 May 1836 it was decided that a newly appointed constable, in addition to his salary, "… be provided with clothes of the same description as the London police, provided the expense thereof does not exceed five guineas."
Financial constraint in the police force is not a new phenomenon! The first police station was established in September that year, at 1 Tunsgate behind the Corn Market, but has long since been demolished.
Godalming also took advantage of the Municipal Corporation Act 1835 to establish a police force and, in 1841, William Henry Biddlecombe was appointed Superintendent of the Godalming Borough Force.
The borough had not, however, previously been without law enforcement. The warden's account for 1747 showed "…2s had been paid for repairing the cage prison…". In 1762 Godalming had a bellman or watchman, George Holt, who received an annual salary of £10.0.0d. His uniform was "…a new blue coat with silver lace…" and a laced hat. Finally, in the warden's book for 1819–20 the following entries are shown:
In 1841 a police station was built and the two regular policemen (Biddlecombe and a constable named Lindsey) lived on the premises. The station house was in Moss Lane and contained three cells capable of handling nine prisoners. The borough then petitioned to have its own court, which was granted in 1847. Records for the 12 months to the end of November 1848 showed that 63 cases had been dealt with involving 87 prisoners.
The first Superintendent was George Gifford, who was appointed on 5 March 1864 but resigned after nine days. He was succeeded by George Rogers, whose tenure lasted a little longer, until 1888. On 23 March 1864 a house in Redhill, 3 Carleton Terrace, was taken over as a police station but there were no cells and prisoners had to be detained at Redhill Market Place. The county constabulary also had a police station in Redhill but it retained the premises and only made the hand over to the borough authorities in 1931. In 1866 the borough built a new police station in West Street, Reigate.
In 1836 a Royal Commission was appointed to "enquire as to the best means of establishing an efficient Constabulary in the counties of England and Wales", presenting its report two years later. As a result the County Police Act 1839, known as the Permissive Act, was passed. Magistrates in several counties took advantage of it but, although a committee appointed in Surrey reported the following year, nothing further was done until 1850.
On 25 October that year the Rural Police Committee met at Reigate and decided to take evidence regarding the formation of a police force in Surrey. Among those contributing was Godalming Superintendent William Henry Biddlecombe. On 1 January 1851, the Surrey Constabulary became operational with an establishment of 70 police officers, including five superintendents. The first Chief Constable, Captain Hastings, was 38 years old, and the eldest son of Col. Sir Charles Holland Hastings.
Captain Hastings had an extremely difficult job developing a police force from scratch. There were no policies or procedures and very few precedents. His first major consideration was recruiting men of the right caliber and he concentrated on:
The Chief Constable demanded the men should be honest and sober. They had to be less than 30 years of age and at least 5´ 7" tall. There was no minimum age – one constable was appointed at the age of 14 and another at 15 – probably due to the difficulty of obtaining suitable clerks. Records indicate the first man recruited – number one in the "Appointment Book" was William Henry Biddlecombe.
Dorking was originally considered as a site for the headquarters but Guildford was eventually selected. The first headquarters was in the old Guildford Borough Police Station at the Corn Market House but this was only until the new headquarters was completed in Woodbridge Road in 1854.
The 19th-century, red-bricked building that is the heart of the Surrey Police Headquarters complex was originally bought in 1891 by George John Browne, the Third Marquis of Sligo.
George John, of Irish descent and living in County Mayo, succeeded his father as Marquis in 1845, at the tender age of 26. If that wasn´t difficult enough, Ireland was standing on the brink of the infamous potato famine, and Mayo was to feel its most catastrophic effects.
With a widowed mother and 12 younger children on his hands, life was not easy for George John. He came through the famine, but not completely unscathed: he had lost two wives and two daughters, and now lived at Westport as a childless widower with his unmarried sisters.
The horror years of the famine were soon forgotten, now it was time for prosperity to return. At least it did for the Irish landlords. But this was to last only another 20 years.
Landlordism came to a halt in 1877, and George John watched as his horizons darkened. He married the young, intellectual Isabelle de Peyronnet of France, but still he'd had enough of Westport and Ireland, and headed instead for England.
The lease he took at Loseley Park, near Guildford, was partly to satisfy one of his lifelong ambitions: to witness a ghost. But despite many nights waiting in the silent, lonely shadows of Losely Park's corridors, any ghosts there may have been failed to oblige. George John was disappointed. Nevertheless, he had become very attached to the district.
He bought a house, in memory of an ancient family house near Westport, and re-named it Mount Browne.
Before long, Westport was forgotten and Lord Sligo's life revolved around Mount Browne, his Regency mansion in Brighton and a large corner house in Eaton Square. He died in 1896, leaving his widow and twin daughters – Ladies Isabel and Mary – to the house.
His widow died in 1927, but the house stayed within the family right up until the death of his daughter, Lady Isabel, in 1947.
After that, Mount Browne was to enter a whole new chapter in its life.
On 1 September 1899, Captain Sant was appointed chief constable, at an annual salary of £500 plus £150 allowance for rent, travelling and other expenses. He was 36, had served in the Northumberland Fusiliers and been chief constable of Northumberland. The Force now consisted of 231 men, treble the original establishment.
During the first years of Captain Sant's tenure two major areas received his attention – the continual pressure for improvements in pay and conditions of his men and the campaign to curb the motorist. The countryside of Surrey with its open roads and close proximity to London was proving irresistible to London car owners while, locally, residents complained about the noise and danger to people and horses.
Founded in 1905, the Automobile Association supported the interests of the motorist and there were several clashes between the organisation and the Force. Matters were brought to a head when an AA patrolman was fined for obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty by waving at motorists to warn them of a 'speed trap'.
With the start of World War I many police officers from the county and borough forces were called to the colours. Their departure left the Force dealing with additional duties but without the training to prepare for such difficult times. To help secure the county, 4,000 special constables were recruited to keep order in towns and villages and help secure refugee routes. The chief constable's report for 1915 mentioned two particular duties that had taken a great deal of time and trouble – the billeting of troops and enquiries concerning aliens. Around 150,000 billets were found and 250 aliens checked and registered.
During 1918 the Force employed its first policewoman, a sergeant who was posted to Farncombe to deal with prostitutes who had moved into the area close to the army camp at Witley. After the war she left the Force. On 11 November 1918, the final armistice was signed and the guns were at last silenced. Eighteen Surrey Police Officers paid for peace with their lives. The Chief Constable prepared a full report recording the Force's experiences during the war years with a view to helping plan a coordinated police response in the event of any "…future war…" – prophetic words indeed.
1918 was also the year when Captain Sant chose the Lion Passant as the Force crest. Until then, Superintendents were continually being mistaken for prison warders, as both wore the Crown on their headdress. After being continually addressed as a prison officer by a hostile barrister during a trial, a Superintendent went straight to the Chief Constable to suggest it was time a new cap badge was devised. The Chief Constable agreed and a new Force crest was developed, based on Surrey County Council's three lions. Following the recommendations of a Home Office Committee on standardising uniforms, the laurels were removed from the Force crest. From 1935, the lion replaced the number previously worn by Sergeants and Constables on their helmets
In 1932 the Crime Bureau was set up. Chief Constable Major Nicholson selected PC Tom Roberts (later Superintendent) to run the department. Its purpose was to study and collect information relating to crime, provide scientific aids to detection and improve the use of photography. The first camera, a Thornton Pickard, was bought and used to photograph just about everything – scenes of crime, prisoners, fingerprints, etc. After basic training, fingerprinting started and the Fingerprint Department was formed.
One of Major Nicholson's main concerns was the living conditions of his men. During 1934 the first police houses were purchased and by 1937 a total of 200 houses had been secured at a cost of £150,000.
In 1936 the Chief Constable considered forming a dog section. Although bloodhounds were introduced they were not a success and the section faded away by 1939.
In January 1942 the Force took its first major step towards the recruitment of women. They were employed on a temporary basis in offices, issued with uniforms and known as The Women's Auxiliary Police Corps (WAPC). A permanent establishment was authorised in 1944 and Miss Margery Urquhart became the first woman Inspector.
The women had to be of average intelligence and single, although they could be widows. They had to be between 22 and 35 years of age and not less than 5' 4" tall. Their duties were limited and involved dealing with issues relating to women and children, although a few were trained for patrol duties. In 1946 Miss Urquhart was succeeded by Miss Catherine Mackenzie.
On 7 May 1945 Germany surrendered unconditionally. Twenty-two members of the Force lost their lives and four were decorated.
Although the initial use of dogs in 1936 had not proved effective, pressure mounted for a further trial to take place following reports of their successful use in many areas during the war. Early in 1948, PC Harry Darbyshire transferred from the Metropolitan Police to Surrey with an Alsatian bitch, named Anna of Avondale, and her son Loki. On this nucleus the Dog Section was formed.
PC Darbyshire had trained and competed with Alsatians in working trials for years and brought with him much experience and expertise. Anna gave the venture an excellent start by clearing up an incident of shop breaking in Hersham – the first time the section was summoned to a case. Kennels were subsequently built at Mount Browne and several successful litters of Alsatian and Doberman Pinscher puppies were reared.
Anna died in August 1950 and was buried at the Mount Browne kennels. In honour of the Force's first dog the Anna of Avondale dog trials are held every year. The dog section was later expanded to become a regional police dog training centre and has since trained dog handlers from around the world.
On 1 December 1946 Mr Joseph Simpson OBE, aged 37, was appointed Chief Constable of Surrey. As head of a rapidly expanding county force, which was in the process of absorbing the previous Borough forces of Guildford and Reigate, he quickly appreciated the urgent need of a suitable new headquarters to replace the existing limited accommodation at Woodbridge Road, Guildford, built in 1854. The amalgamations, a temporary wartime measure effected in 1943, became permanent in 1947 and at the same time certain parts of the Surrey Constabulary area were re-located to the Metropolitan Police. As a result of police reorganisations a reversal of this took place in 2000, recovering the districts of Spelthorne, Epsom and Ewell, Banstead and Elmbridge.
In the search for a new headquarters several premises were looked at and, by the end of 1947, serious consideration was being given to the acquisition of Mount Browne for a Police headquarters. On 19 December an inspection of the property by the Chief Constable, members of the Police Housing Sub-committee and officers of the county council took place. In the meeting held at the existing headquarters on the sameday, the Chief Constable reported that Mount Browne was suitable and would be large enough to accommodate the present staff with the possible exception of the Traffic Department. The top storey of the house would give sufficient accommodation for 7-14 day courses although, in the long-term, additional residential accommodation would be needed on the estate.
The police were not the only people interested in acquiring the property. The Home Office was considering its possible use as a special approved school.
The Surrey County Council Estates Committee, on receipt of the report of the Police Housing Sub-committee, was in favour of acquisition of the property – by compulsory purchase if necessary.
A Chief Constable's memorandum, outlining his preliminary views, described the property as consisting of a 24-bedroomed house, approximately 50 years old, standing in 40 acres of land, much of which consisted of wooded inclines unsuitable for development. It included garage and stabling accommodation with two cottages with access being obtained through "a poor and inadequate but short link road to Sandy Lane". The Chief Constable was of the opinion that, with minor alterations, the premises could accommodate practically the whole of the existing headquarters organisation and was "capable of development at some future time to meet long-term needs." The wisdom of this particular observation was to be realised in succeeding years. Significantly, the traffic Superintendent later drew attention to the need for adequate wireless accommodation.
By 5 February 1948, planning matters were being considered by various authorities. There were still other contenders for the property; a main one being the London County Council which wanted it as a Remand Home for females. It was felt, reasonably, that the Guildford Rural District Council "would prefer the police to the Remand Home." At the same time the Burchett's Farm site was still under consideration although its appeal was waning. The possibility of demolishing the existing old headquarters in Woodbridge Road, Guildford, and replacing it with a multi-storey office block building was also considered but not very seriously. The difficulties in the interval between evacuation and re-occupation were too great. By 16 February 1948, the Police Housing Sub-committee was determined to acquire the property, considering that the needs of the police outweighed those of any other contenders. At their meeting at County Hall, Kingston-upon-Thames on that date it was resolved:
"That the Estates Committee be requested to authorise immediate negotiations for the purchase of Mount Browne, Sandy Lane, Artington, Guildford. That, if necessary, the committee would support the acquisition of Mount Browne under compulsory powers"
By 18 March 1948, negotiations were definitely under way and reported to be progressing satisfactorily. Lady Browne was going away, having secured premises at Albury, and a Mr Gregory had the winding-up of the estate in hand. The possibility of taking over certain existing pictures and fittings and furniture was being considered and the head gardener and under-gardener were also understandably asking about the matter of their continued employment. On a more mundane level, it was pointed out that "about 16 cwts of seed potatoes were on order," raising the question of whether they would still be required.
By letter of 9 April 1948 to the Chief Constable, the clerk to the Surrey Standing Joint Committee reported that the Secretary of State had approved the acquisition of the property as Police headquarters at the figure of £17,500. With typical ministerial caution the secretary was at pains to point out that these were "special circumstances and should not be regarded as a precedent." The secretary also pointed out that, in the current shortage of building materials and the limitation on capital works, it might not be possible to authorise any extensive works in the near future.
In a concluding paragraph the clerk to the Standing Joint Committee stated that legal formalities were proceeding with a view to acquiring the property by 1 May or as soon thereafter as reasonably practicable. By return letter of 10 April the Chief Constable duly noted the "no precedent" provision.
With purchase of the property imminent, the Chief Constable prepared a report, presumably for the Standing Joint Committee, dealing with such matters as installation of telephones, purchase or disposal of existing fixtures and fittings together with certain horticultural equipment and produce, and the retention and recruitment of civilian staff. Negotiations were also to be entered into with neighbouring farmers for the letting or re-letting of two agricultural fields.
4 June 1948 was the Day of Destiny. The purchase of Mount Browne was completed. With the acquisition of the property much had to be done, and quickly, to make it ready for occupation. Arrangements had to be made for various facilities including, at higher levels, provision of access roads and, at the opposite end of the scale, provisions for dustbins and the requisite collection of their contents. A survey of trees in the grounds by a representative of the Godalming Timber Company revealed that three elms were in a dangerous condition and in need of lopping. A touching letter from Lady Browne to the Chief Constable thanked him for the gift of twelve iris corms from the gardens.
The cost of the purchase of tenant's fixtures at Mount Browne was eventually £916 and this received Home Office approval.
The formal opening of the premises by the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon J Chuter Ede MP, was scheduled for 23 September 1949.
The Chief Constable issued comprehensive instruction to all his headquarters Superintendents on the forthcoming ceremony in a memorandum dated 22nd September 1949. The opening paragraph dealt with matters of dress. Uniformed staff were to be in their best uniforms while detectives and plain clothes staff were to be in dark suits. Female civilian staff and unestablished clerks were asked to be suitably dressed.
Meal and cloakroom arrangements were specified, as was the parking accommodation for cars, motor cycles and pedal cycles. Staff coats were not to be left on the pegs by the back door – these were to be for the use of guests.
Inspector Mackenzie was to arrange for policewomen to be suitably placed so as to direct and assist ladies present. Important guests were to be escorted through the building in nine parties. On their partaking of tea at approximately 4.30 pm, officers and men from the parade would be allowed to inspect the buildings, again in escorted parties. No smoking was to be allowed.
The meticulous arrangements were productive. All went well on the appointed day of 23 September when Mr Chuter Ede formally opened the premises in the presence of a distinguished gathering of about 78 guests and 120 police officers drawn from all over the county. The former included the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey (General Sir Robert Haining), members of the Standing Joint Committee, Mayoral representatives of the Boroughs of Guildford, Reigate and Godalming, the West Surrey coroner, and the chief officer of the Surrey Fire Brigade together with various local authority and public services representatives. The police parade was under the command of Assistant Chief Constable Mr H N Back.
On his arrival, the Home Secretary, escorted by the Chief Constable and the Lord Lieutenant, inspected the assembled parade in company with Colonel G H R Halland (HM Inspector of Constabulary). The occasion was used by the Lord Lieutenant to present the King's Police and Fire Services Medal for distinguished service to Superintendent E A Curry (Weybridge) for the efficient maintenance and operation of his division during the war, often under heavy bombing.
In welcoming the Home Secretary, Mr J H Wenham (Chairman of the Standing Joint Committee) commented that it was only 18 months since Chief Constable Sir Philip Henriques and himself had first inspected the site. The Standing Joint Committee was grateful for the help it had received from high officials at the Home Office in pushing the scheme through.
Mr Chuter Ede congratulated the Chief Constable and all ranks on their splendid appearance. He commented that they were part of a force that was fundamental to the British way of life, having great powers and equally great responsibilities, which were combined with duties of prevention as well as detection.
Continuing on the many difficulties confronting the Force, he particularly mentioned that of housing for police officers and was pleased to state that in the next financial year there would be a very substantial housing programme for the police. As regards manpower, he voiced the national concern at the shortage of policemen.
After congratulating the Force on its new headquarters he formally turned the key of the front door of Mount Browne and inspection of the premises commenced. After tea there were tours of the grounds.
Surrey's new £30,000 police headquarters at Mount Browne, Sandy Lane, Guildford will be opened officially by the Home Secretary (Mr H. Chuter Ede) next Friday. Mr. Ede and a party of distinguished guests will see an impressive array of the latest crime fighting equipment designed to deal with the 6000-odd indictable offences committed in the county every year since the end of the war.
The building, which is of red brick, contains some 50 rooms, and 60 years ago was built as a residence for the Marquis and Marchioness of Sligo. It was purchased in July 1948, at a cost of £17,500, and adaptations, together with the construction of estate rods and a fresh link with the main Portsmouth Road, have cost almost a further £12,000.
The house itself stands in 37 acres of heavily wooded grounds and will eventually contain houses for the senior police officers and the county police sports ground, with two football pitches and a cricket square.
The houses, itself contains the administrative offices, the wireless equipment for the relay of messages to patrol cars all over the county, the crime bureau with its fingerprint section, its gigantic card index of known criminals, and down in the old wine cellar the laboratories and photographic dark rooms, where forgeries and attempts at removing incriminating marks are all brought to light under the all seeing eyes of the infra-red and ultra-violet cameras.
Altogether the staff at the new headquarters numbers 70, and the transfer from the old quarters in Woodbridge Road is, with the exception of one section, now complete. When newspaper representatives were given a preview of the headquarters on Tuesday, Surrey's Chief Constable (Mr J.Simpson) said that the new premises "fulfilled all their expectations."
"In our old quarters," he added, "we were very cramped and most of the offices were converted living quarters."
The old premises in Woodbridge Road are now almost empty, and after "tittivation" the Guildford police will take them over. The future of the old North Street station is as yet, it is understood, undecided.
The history of the Surrey Constabulary began in January 1851, when 70 constables donned the bucket-shaped helmets to protect Surrey's doubtless righteous citizens from the terrors of the lawbreaker.
PC No. 1 of the Surrey Constabulary (and later Superintendent) was John Biddlecombe, who rose to fame as the private detective responsible for the unmasking of Arthur Orton in the famous Tichborne "pretender" case. He was able to buy a public house at Chertsey and go into retirement. One of the relics, which the constabulary preserves, is a tall top hat as worn by the Superintendents of those days (and perhaps by Mr. Biddlecombe himself). This is one of the latest additions to their museum and came to light during the recent move.
The force came into existence on January 30th of that year, only a third of the way through Victoria's reign. The next day an order was published ordering Constables to "submit their reports in writing."
The ballroom is now the conference room and the drawing room is the general office. On the top floor (there are three) in what were once the servants quarters are the dormitories for students taking short specialist and refresher courses, and in that respect Mount Browne has a dual purpose, for Surrey's policemen will receive some of their training there as well.
On the first floor is the nerve centre of the force – the wireless control room. Here messages are sent by direct radio beam to the short wave "master" station to the Hog's Back, and from there to the two satellite stations at Stoke D'Abernon and Caterham.
Within a matter of 30 seconds contact can be made with police cars in any part of Surrey, to direct them to the same scene of a crime, or to put them on the track of escaping criminals.
"We have 17 cars altogether," explained the Inspector in charge, "and it is our purpose to maintain at least one car in each of the five wireless areas throughout the 24 hours." "I must emphasise," he added, "that the police who maintain this service are not technical men. We merely use the equipment. It is serviced by Home Office engineers."
Crime detection is the business of Det.-Supt. T. Roberts and his staff of experts. He was the officer in charge of the investigation into the "Babes in the Wood" and the "Chalkpit" murders, and with the advances which science has made in the methods of crime detection during the past few years his job has become even more complex. He has a staff who meticulously record the many thousands of fingerprints of convicted persons passing through their hands year by year, and devote many hours to compiling and searching through the card index system which records the physical appearance, the peculiarities and the distinctive methods which criminals employ. One character contained in the index, which our reporter saw, was an old lady of 65 who had employed no less than 112 aliases.
These are just a few of the facets of the work that is carried on night and day for your protection. Mr. Ede and the other guests will see them next Friday.
Initially the plan was for the Chief Constable's office, General Office and Registry to be on the ground floor, together with the conference hall. The staff kitchen and dining room were also to be on the ground floor. Crime Bureau and Traffic Department Administration, including the wireless control room, would be on the first floor, along with provision for women police and a classroom.
The training section would be on the top floor where there would be accommodation for about 20-40 men. Parking space for both police and private vehicles also had to be considered. Interestingly, reference was made to "road patrols and wireless cars" as though they were departmentally separate. The new wireless scheme had been brought into being only a month before the opening of Mount Browne and was considered a great innovation. In a statement to the press an Inspector commented: "We have 17 cars altogether and it is our purpose to maintain at least one car in each of the five wireless areas throughout the 24 hours."
Shortage of general accommodation was, however, a continuing problem. In 1949 clothing, stationery etc. were still being stored in leased premises in Martyr Road, Guildford.
On 6 December 1949 a bronze memorial tablet, designed by Mr. George Friend and bearing the names of 22 members of the Force who lost their lives in the fighting services during the years 1939-45, was unveiled in the main entrance hall by Major Nicholson, the previous Chief Constable. Designed to match the earlier memorial tablet in honour of those who died in the 1914-19 war, it was funded by voluntary subscriptions from the force.
Mr Rutherford retired in the early part of 1968 and on 1 April 1968 Peter Matthews became Chief Constable – at 51 considerably older than his predecessors. He was the former Chief Constable of Suffolk Police and brought with him a wealth of experience, particularly in dealing with major incidents – experience he soon needed! Indeed, his tenure seems to have been dogged by major incidents. He had been in the Force only five months when the most serious floods in the history of the county occurred.
The summer of 1968 had been exceptionally wet and at Hambledon over 16 inches of rain was recorded, compared with just over six inches
the previous year. On 14 September heavy rain fell across Surrey and continued the next day when the first reports of flooding were received. By 10am there had been 18 reports of roads and houses being flooded, followed by another 53 reports by noon, this time covering landslides, collapsed bridges and fallen trees and telephone lines. Officers throughout the county were involved in helping the public, diverting traffic and setting up evacuation centres. Military assistance was also sought.
By 18 September the situation began to improve in most areas but two people lost their lives and more than 1,800 people were evacuated.
On 6 July 1974 PC's John Schofield and Ray Fullalove were on routine patrol in Caterham with PS Harley Findlay when they became suspicious of a man on foot carrying a large holdall. They pulled alongside him in their patrol car and started to question him. As PC Fullalove started to get out of the car Egon Von Bulow produced a gun and shot him in the stomach.
The gunman then went to the driver's side and shot PC Schofield dead. PS Findlay was also shot but was saved by his breast pocket notebook, which deflected the bullet into his arm.
Von Bulow escaped but was later arrested on the day of PC Schofield's funeral, which took place at St. Mary's Church, Caterham, six days later. In March 1975 Von Bulow was sentenced to life imprisonment. PS Findlay later received the Queen's commendation for brave conduct.
On 6 July 1974, PC's John Schofield and Ray Fullalove and PS Harley James Findlay were on routine patrol in Caterham in the early hours of the morning. At about 3.50 am they saw a man carrying a large holdall heading towards Caterham and decided to stop him. PC Fullalove started to get out of the car when the man dropped the bag and drew a gun, shooting him in the stomach. The man then went round the front of the car to the driver's side and shot dead PC Schofield. PS Findlay was shot in the arm. The gunman ran away, with PS Findlay in pursuit, but he was unable to catch him due to his injury. The two wounded officers were taken to hospital for emergency surgery and later made a full recovery. Six days later, on the day of PC Schofield's funeral, Egon Von Bulow was arrested for his murder. In March 1975 he was sentenced to life, minimum 20 years. Plaques are above the stairs in the main hall of the old house.
Eleven trained civilian scenes of crime officers (SOCOs) were appointed in 1987, releasing police officers to other duties. They attended more than 8,000 crime scenes.
Tape recording of interviews with suspects started in April with rooms equipped at Addlestone, Guildford and Reigate police stations. The Chief Constables expressed concern, however, about the demands placed on officers by the Crown Prosecuting Service for more detailed summaries of taped interviews or for full transcripts.
The total geographic policing concept took another step forward in May with the opening of a new office at Weybridge and the Surrey Volunteer Cadet Corps was also formed.
The night of 15 October 1987 brought hurricane force winds to the South of England and officers attended calls to damaged property, fallen trees and blocked roads. Headquarters did not escape, with more than 160 trees being uprooted.
A significant piece of officer safety equipment was put on trial in July 1995 when the Force took part in street trials of a CS-based incapacitant spray. The small handheld aerosol canister provided officers with a non-lethal means of defending themselves and the public from violent attack. The trials were successful and now operational officers carry CS sprays – used in accordance with strict guidelines.
In 1996 the Force had another new and hi-tech control room built. The old control room was no longer suitable and the only accommodation meeting requirements laid down by the Home Office was the Cedar Bar at headquarters. The bar was relocated and, in 1996, Home Secretary Michael Howard opened the new control room, which was renamed the Force Information Centre.
Technology took another major step forward in 1997 with the introduction of the Surrey Police Information and Knowledge Environment System (SPIKE), which allowed users to connect to all information sources in the organisation. It took nine months to install the networks and hardware to every station in the county. In 1998 the Force was awarded the Computerworld Smithsonian Award for visionary use of IT for the SPIKE system.
While there has always been a strong tradition within the Force of honouring the memory of officers who have served the people of the county, it had often been felt that such remembrance has been too parochial.
Various ideas were considered but it was eventually decided to construct a memorial inside Guildford Cathedral dedicated to the honour and memory of all members of the police forces of Surrey. On 21 January 2001, at the Cathedral, an ecumenical service was held to celebrate 150 years of policing in the county and to formally dedicate the memorial.
A Book of Remembrance was also opened at the service, honouring the officers who died as a result of injuries received while performing their duties in the service of the people of Surrey. They were:
On 29 July 1855, at ten past midnight, Inspector William Donaldson and Constable James Freestone were in the Market Place in Haslemere supervising the turning out of the public houses and enforcing the end of permitted hours. The local authorities had reported trouble with the 'Navvies'. Inspector Donaldson pushed his way into the crowd in the King's Arms to encourage them to leave; they would not, a scuffle started, which led to a riot. One of the men who led the initial attack was arrested and taken to the lock-up in the Market Place. A marauding crowd, armed with sticks and clubs, surrounded the lock-up demanding the release of the prisoner. Inspector Donaldson refused where upon he was struck a serious blow to the head with a heavy iron bar, leaving him on the ground bleeding profusely. Although fatally wounded he left the scene and was later found staggering about the street. He was helped back to his home where he died shortly before 3 am.
1949 – 23 September – Formally opened by the Home Secretary, the Rt. Hon. J Chuter Ede MP.
1969 – New four-storey extension, including study bedrooms, opened.
1970 – Work completed, within the mansion, on a Command Suite for Senior Officers.
1975 – Second extension completed, housing much of the crime department together with the operations room, where all 999 calls originating within the Force area are dealt with. In the same year, 13 more acres of land to the east of the estate purchased for dog training.
1984 – New training school completed on land adjoining the sports field, followed by the Firearms Range.
1993 – 1 January – Surrey Constabulary changed its name to Surrey Police.
1996 – New Force Information Centre completed.
1998 – Scientific Support Centre opened.
2001 – Creation of the Force Museum.
2002 – The newly refurbished Regional Police Dog Training School is opened.
2003 – The old stable block is converted to the Call Handling Centre and Crime Reporting Bureau.
From 22 August 1969, as a result of newly extended premises, re-allocation of offices took place. Consideration of further reorganisation took place in 1970 and as additional, and sometimes heavy, equipment was being introduced, the load bearing capacity of floors had to be taken into account, particularly the second floor of the old building.
In May 1971, the detective sergeant of the Fingerprint Department, referring to a proposed move, reported that the total space required for furniture was 169 sq.ft. and the approximate total weight was 31 cwt. This departmental situation was obviously becoming increasingly critical as, by letter of 21 October, the County Architect reported that the floors would not bear the envisaged load. On the following day the Detective Chief Superintendent submitted a report to the Deputy Chief Constable suggesting that the department be moved to the more recently constructed modern police station at Godalming. The move was approved, to take place on 1 January 1972.
Other departments were urgently bidding for office space at this time. Structural modifications took place, apparently including alteration of walls as, in August 1972, Chief Constable Mr (later Sir) Peter Matthews ordered that "no more alterations" were to take place.
By 1974 further developments were being proposed, this time with emphasis on training, including provision for cadets, recruits, refreshers and supervisory officers. Also included were proposals for training for specialist units such as traffic, dog handlers and firearms support. The proposals were put into effect in 1975 when a second extension housing much of the Crime Department was completed.
Two years later the Operations wing was completed which also housed the Force's Control Room where all 999 calls originating within the Force were dealt with.
The future of the vacated old Control Room was very much under discussion in 1977. At one time apparently under consideration for a chief constable's suite, it later became subject to claims of the typists, finance and traffic departments. Victory eventually went to the typists and finance together with the building section.
Overflowing from the main buildings by 1980, arrangements were made, subject to planning permission, to convert some superfluous houses on the estate into offices. Development in technical aids was apparent by 1981, when extra accommodation was sought for PC Woodman whose work included the installation and operation of monochrome television surveillance.
In 1982 there was a succession of structural alterations, relocations of offices and transfers of personnel, all either actual or proposed. The whole Headquarters seemed to be in a state of flux and on the move. New Force arrangements, scheduled to take place on 1 January 1985, resulted in further scrambles for places. Provision of a new Training Block caused the old one to be up for claims.
The Superintendent in charge of the Computer Development Branch, housed at Godalming Police Station, urged transfer to Headquarters, while the Joint Branch Board Secretary of the Police Federation requested space in one of the vacant houses in Munstead View for his office. Some offices were still housed in the attic of Mount Browne House.
By 1986 the whole question of accommodation was being looked at. A meeting of senior officers was held on 26 June to further discuss the matter and, by 4 August, detailed plans showing existing and proposed accommodation had been produced.
Training was a matter of increasing importance in the 1970s and 80s, resulting in new and improved accommodation and facilities. Indicative of the times, provision for firearms training had to be included, which necessitated construction of a range of proper security and safety standards. Among the latter was the recognition of dangers of "Lead-in-air" pollution. Range standards had to conform to those specified by the military authorities and relevant advisory information was obtained from the Technical Advisory Section R.E., School of Infantry, Warminster, Wilts. On the range coming into operation, fulsome standing orders were issued regarding its use. On 8 March 1985, army authorities issued a Safety Certificate for Small Arms Ranges.
The use of scientific technology in the prevention and detection of crime was increasing rapidly in the 1980's and, on 5 October 1987, a meeting of the Scientific Support for Crime Detection Steering Group took place at Headquarters. By December a draft interim report had been prepared on the subject. Further reports followed in quick succession showing that matters of accommodation (with envisaged new buildings) and recruitment of staff were under urgent consideration – the latter being referred to the Business Consultant Branch of Surrey County Council for advice.
By 1989 HM Inspector of Constabulary was coming into the picture. By letter of 26 May the Chief Constable was pressing two projects – building of a Scenes of Crime Identification Centre and enlargement of the Regional Dog Training School, both at Headquarters. A real sign of the times was the establishment of an Air Support Unit, initially using a hired helicopter as an experimental basis.
The building known as 'the old stable block,' which has served as overflow accommodation from the main building, now housed the Supplies and Graphic & Print Sections.
In 1994 the 20-year-old Operations Room was found to be totally unsuitable in terms of ventilation, heating and staff working conditions for a 24-hour operational work environment. In order to keep the room open, emergency ventilation equipment had to be installed immediately.
Advice by Home Office and independent consultants indicated that the most inexpensive and lowest risk option was to create a new Operations Room in suitable existing accommodation. The only accommodation that could meet the requirements was the Cedar Bar. The bar was relocated and, in 1996, the Force had a new, hi-tech Force Information Centre.
Following the completion and opening of the Centre, a complete review of office accommodation and location took place, aimed, in the words of the Deputy Chief Constable, "at the creation of a more effective, efficient and better-organised work environment".
The possibility of establishing a museum for the Force had been discussed for many years but nothing had come to fruition. The 150th anniversary of the Force in 2001, did however give the final spur and the Chief Constable Denis O´Connor gave it his full backing. After several months of hard work the museum was officially opened by Sir Michael Caine on 22 October 2001. It has proved an extremely popular addition to the Force and is regularly visited by police staff and by members of the local community.
In 2002 the dog school, established in 1950, underwent a full refurbishment. The kennel block was replaced, the classroom facilities were improved and a separate facility for vets to treat the dogs was added. The new facility was officially opened on 15 November, by Bruce Forsyth.
Surrey Police has become a recognised world leader in offering dog training to police, customs and prison officers at home and abroad, some from as far a field as Hong Kong and Malaysia. The dog school was the first to receive National Training Accreditation and many courses are now BTEC approved.
Of all the buildings in the Mount Browne complex the old stable block is the one that has had the most changes in occupancy. Perhaps, not surprisingly its original occupants were horses but since then it has been used for a variety of purposes such as a training school, garage, and has housed the Supplies and Graphic & Print Sections. 2003 saw it converted into a Contact Centre and it now houses around 200 staff. In October of that year Sir Geoff Hurst formally opened the centre and launched the new, single non-emergency telephone number. The number was changed in 2011 to 101.
The new contact centre was built to integrate the Operations Support Communication (OSC) department at Mount Browne. The centre now houses the central switchboard, Crime Reporting Bureau and the staff from the old Eastern and Western control centres.