lthough many smaller townships in the West Riding of Yorkshire had established forces of police in the 1840s it was not until 1853 that the County and Borough Police Act made it mandatory for the county authorities to move into action.


In November 1856 Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cobbe was appointed chief and a strength of up to 466 men authorised. By December he and his chief clerk had begun the task and in January the following year he had 459 men posted to Divisions throughout the county.


A printing press was set up at Headquarters in 1867 and a bi-weekly sheet, the West Riding Constabulary Gazette, was produced. The publication, which informed police officers throughout the force of criminals and their methods, was renamed West Riding Police Reports and the publication still circulates throughout the North of England.


Wireless was introduced in 1928, in which year the first patrol car also made its appearance. Two Standard 9hp two-seater sports cars were ordered and the first started patrol in that year followed by the second in February 1929.


With the increase of traffic involvement, a Road Traffic Division was created in 1938 with an establishment of one superintendent, two inspectors, 14 sergeants and 167 constables. And in 1944 officers, previously trained on a Home Office course, started a West Riding Police Driving School at Wakefield.


Policewomen in the force dated from 1925 and up to 1940 three female officers were employed. (Submitted by Alan Pickles)



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