ne of the many ‘unofficial’ constabularies to exist in the County of Devon, the Borough of Bradninch was not incorporated under the Act of 1835 and was therefore not mandated to create a police force. It was largely a one-man band, occasionally supported by special constables, and remained free from the interference of government for over twenty years. In

1857, the Devon Constabulary tried to take over the Bradninch Borough Police but was met with fierce resistance from the borough authorities. It took almost ten years before the Chief Constable could legally enforce his will upon Bradninch, and in 1866 was able to send Superintendent Swaine to assume control over the police station.

 

Until 1865 the Mayor and Recorder held their Court of Quarter Sessions without interference from county judges and the inhabitants of the borough did not pay the County Police Rate. Although the borough appealed against having to pay, they failed and the demise of the Bradninch Police Force was assured.

 

The jurisdiction of the county authority was eventually admitted and Mr Collins, the Superintendent of Devon County Constabulary, was appointed Inspector of Weights and Measures for the borough. He was lodged in the room of Mr Swaine, the Constable of the borough.

 

The policeman's house was let to the county who paid rent to the Corporation for it. From that date prisoners were committed to the County Gaol at Exeter and not the borough prison. Cases of indictable offences were to be held before two justices, the Mayor and the Recorder. Charges were to be made for the service and return of summonses but were to be paid In the relief of borough rates. People refused to pay these rates over which they had no control. From the 12 October 1865 the fate of the Corporation's independent authority was sealed.

 

Under the Municipal Corporations Act of 1883 Bradninch Borough was finally dissolved on Lady Day 1886 and the officers of the Devon Constabulary took over the policing of the borough.


Sources
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