irdrie Burgh Police was established in 1822 and ceased to exist in 1967 when it amalgamated with Coatbridge Burgh, Hamilton Burgh and Motherwell & Wishaw Burgh to become part of Lanarkshire Constabulary.


The first recorded numbers of officers was in 1859 which showed that the force had 11 officers. This increased to 23 in 1900 and 26 in 1910. The final establishment in 1967 was 66 officers.



The Burgh coat of arms are a silver coloured shield with a two headed eagle below a crescent that has a five point star with a central hole (known as a mullet) on either side and on top of the shield is a cockerel. The burgh motto is 'Vigilantibus' meaning 'Forever watchful'.


From records available, it appears that James Gillies was appointed the first Superintendent of Airdrie Police and Keeper of Airdrie Jail with free house, gas, coal and 15/- per week as wages on 18th May 1838.


The fortunes of Airdrie Police apparently ran smoothly until 1884 when, on the death of Superintendent Neilson, a letter received from the Chief

Constable of Lanarkshire Constabulary stated it was time to amalgamate the Airdrie Police with Lanarkshire Constabulary. The suggestion was not considered and the council agreed to advertise for a Superintendent of Police.


On 24th July 1884, Alexander Hynd, Detective Office at Partick, was appointed Superintendent of Police with a salary of £150 per annum.


In 1891 George Burt was appointed Superintendent of Police and, on the passing of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act 1892, he assumed the title of Chief Constable, the name by which the Chief Officer of Police is still known.


Mrs Waddell, who later endeared herself with the members – so much so that she was known as ‘Auntie Waddell’ – was appointed Police Matron in 1912. The retirement of Mrs Waddell took place in 1932 after 20 years of faithful service and another matron, Mrs Wilson, succeeded her.


Modern inventions were now beginning to be employed by the police and the first of these, a telephone, was installed in 1889. The second, a typewriter, was purchased in 1902. The typewriter, however, appeared to be kept in the nature of a secret weapon inasmuch as it was kept under lock and key. Only a favoured few were allowed to use it and then only under the supervision of a superior officer.


If any other officer of Constable made application to use the typewriter this was flatly turned down as the Chief Constable was apparently afraid that the improvement in the education of members of the force in any shape or form would usurp his authority. (Submitted by George Barnsley,

  1. Chief Constables
  2. 1822 – 1838 Unknown
  3. 1838 – 1859 James Gillies
  4. 1859 – 1881 Nisbet Sinclair
  5. 1881 – 1883 JC Neilson
  6. 1884 – 1891 Alexander Hynd
  7. 1891 – 1909 George Burt
  8. 1909 – 1933 Alexander Christie
  9. 1933 – 1951 James Turner
  10. 1951 – 1967 Robert M. Clark


Airdrie Burgh Officer at Coatdyke, 1890s (Submitted by George Barnsley,



(Submitted by George Barnsley,


Airdrie Burgh Police, 1912

Front Row: PC McKay, PS Stewart, PS White, Inspector Jackson, Chief Constable Christie, Inspector Kellooh, PS Campbell, PC McFadrean, PC Campbell

Middle Row: PC Findlay, PC Grieve, PC Riddle, PC Cleghorn, PC Storrie, PC Burns, PC Ross, PC Grieve, PC Reaoch?

Back Row: PC MacPherson, PC Turner, PC Ross, PC Jolly, PC Dow, PC Nicol, PC Anderson, PC Lumsden

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