n the early days, Dock Constables worked 12 hour days without relief. They had policing jurisdiction only within the Dock Walls. Most notably, the Constables dealt with cases of assault, 'unauthorised persons and improper characters' entering the country through the Docks on ships, crimping (the kidnapping of merchant sailors to serve aboard a new ship) and attending the arrests made by

Watchmen, who had no power in law. Figures for a two year period in the late 1880s documented 669 accidents at the Docks, with the use of Police Ambulances in 102 cases and 100 casualties tended to.

 

Uniform was suggested in 1854 in the form of a short, dark blue overcoat with the initials of the company sewn into the collar at a cost of £2 each. These were delivered around 1860. Also with respect to uniform, there is also mention in 1858 of damage to police hats during an incident at the main gate.

 

By 1852, the force consisted of a Principal of Police, two Head Constables and 20 Constables. In 1869, there is mention of the position of Sergeant and Inspector within the ranks, with at least two officers holding the rank of Inspector.

 

The death of one Constable is recorded in the line of duty, PC John William Smith. Constable Smith died 6 May 1877, aged 28 as a result of a violent assault attempting to arrest a suspect.

 

On 1 January 1889, it was announced the East and West India Dock Company and the London and St Katharine Docks company would merge and the amalgamation concluded with the formation of a new company, London and India Docks Company, on 1 January 1901.

  1. Principal of Police
  2. James Dixon 1838 - 1852
  3. I H Sheppey 1852 - 1888
  4. Mr Cahill c1888

Sources
  1. Keepers of the Door
    Glyn Hardwicke
  2. policerollofhonour.org.uk


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