The British Police Collectors Club  

PMCC - Magazine


Dedicated to preserving our Police Heritage

Editor - Martin Hodder

Friday 9th June 2006

 Design - James Treversh



Wartime Police memorabilia

We make no apologies for doing a feature on the Second World War in this issue of your PMCC Magazine. For a start, the week leading up to publication saw the sixty-second anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, and we reckon this provides a good reason to look back at what was happening on the Home Front while the armed forces were getting to grips with the Nazis and their allies.


There are many people today who simply do not realise that through the dreadful years of 1939-45 we in Britain experienced what has become termed as Total War. The need to have the fighting forces at maximum-possible strength as well as having sufficient manpower (and by that I include women of course) to keep the country running in the face of devastating enemy air raids placed demands on the British people that today are unimaginable.


Central to the Home Front was the Police Service, which had massive additional duties and responsibilities thrust upon it. However, at the same time as these demands were growing, very many younger Officers were being swallowed up by the Army, Navy and Air Force, increasing the strain tremendously. This problem was answered, as well as possible, by signing up large numbers of auxiliaries: the First Police Reserve (Police pensioners below the age of 60 who returned to full-time, paid Police duties wearing regular uniform); the Police War Reserve (recruited as Temporary Constables and working full-time with pay, with regular uniform); the Special Constabulary (usually on a voluntary basis but with the proviso they could be required to work full-time with pay if circumstances required it).


As Jim points out in his article below, the rapid increase in Police numbers from 1939, along with the rise in armed forces numbers and other uniformed services, meant that for some time there were simply not enough uniforms to meet demand. This gave rise to the introduction of armbands and to lapel badges – again as Jim explains – along with the manufacture of special lapel badges. And, of course, all of this is good news for those of us involved in memorabilia collection today.


This feature, interesting as it is, only scratches the surface of wartime Police memorabilia because it really is a massive topic, stretching right across the spectrum. Another wartime facet we hope to be covering in the future is that of photographs of the Police going about their duties, dealing with emergencies and, of course, relaxing. If you’ve got any original photos that fit into the wartime-Police category, please contact either of us at the usual email addresses.


In total contrast we have the photos of the final Land Rover Discovery employed on Traffic duties with the Metropolitan Police. This Discovery is soon to be replaced with a Japanese 4x4, an event that marks the end of the 80-year relationship between the Met and “proper” British motor vehicles as far as Traffic cars are concerned. My lad Simon spent a day with the Met getting the material for the specialist Land Rover magazine of which he is Deputy Editor, and told me that just about everyone he talked to was sad about the switch to Far-Eastern 4x4s.


And talking of sad, make sure you have a good read of Tony Steventon’s comments regarding the sale of the very rare Hull Police spike-top helmet we’ve featured in the last two magazines. Tony’s an ex-Hull Officer and, as you’ll see, feels pretty upset about the way this helmet was sold. I reckon it’s something that most of us will sympathise with; speaking personally, I know how I’d feel if something rare like this from my old force was treated in this way.


Well, now I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll just wish you all the very best of health. As for me, I’m off for a week’s holiday in France as soon as this magazine goes live on Friday evening; I’ll do my best to be back in time to prepare No 42… as long as the wine I’m bringing back doesn’t slow the Land Rover down too much!






Short blasts

A round-up of news items of particular interest to collectors,

historians and other police enthusiasts

Short Blasts on your cell phone

Police officers in America were warned recently that what appears to be an innocuous cell phone could actually be a .22-calibre handgun.

"We've been aware of them for a couple of weeks, now," Nassau County Det. Lt. Kevin Smith said yesterday. "Generally speaking, it's knowledge that we've ascertained and disseminated to all our police officers on patrol."

Click to go to video

Although area police have said that they are not aware of any of these cell phone-like handguns appearing in Nassau, Suffolk or New York City, overseas law enforcement authorities have recovered several caches of them. Officials said that it is believed that these guns are made in Europe.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly directed that an "officer safety alert" be distributed to "all commands" this month. It said in part, "Beneath the digital phone face is a .22-caliber handgun capable of firing four (4) rounds in rapid succession when the number 5, 6, 7 or 8 is depressed."

It noted that "This gun is very difficult to detect visually, but once handled, it will feel heavier than a real cellular phone."

To see a vidio clip of the cell phone gun - click on the picture.

From Maxine Zewiey (L.A.P.D.)


Hooligans at World Cup

It’s been admitted that a small number of hardcore English football hooligans are expected to reach the World Cup in Germany, despite the concerted efforts of the Police and other agencies to stop them. Realistically, it was never going to be possible to prevent all those determined to cause trouble getting to Germany because of the extreme lengths the most extreme among them are prepared to go to. However, with the German Police being assisted by specially-trained British Officers, plus Officers from other forces around the world, hooligans will be dealt with swiftly and firmly.


New-generation speed camera

A “Super Speed Camera” could soon be checking British motorists. The "see all" camera is fitted with three digital stills cameras plus a video capture system, enabling it  to patrol up to four separate lanes of traffic at a time and have moving film as back-up evidence. Current fixed speed camera systems are only able to monitor part of a wide carriageway. This means speeders in certain lanes can go unnoticed.


The new Multi-Camera System (MCS) can also be used to police traffic lights and box junctions. And there will be no dispute as to who was behind the wheel, as the device has an infrared as well as normal flash and can be mounted forward-facing to take pictures of drivers' faces. The MCS is made by Dutch firm Gatsometer, producer of the Gatso speed camera. The new machine can hold up to 60,000 images of speeders on its encrypted hard-drive while the photos can be downloaded at any time via a telecommunication link.


Of course, it will not stop speeding motorists claiming they’ve been “victimised”, nor will it make them realise that if they kept within speed limits there would be no need for the cameras.


Federation: Standardised comms needed

Responding to the findings contained in the report into the 7/7 bombings, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Jan Berry, has stated:
“Regrettably, the findings come as no surprise to the Police Federation, as we
have long argued that different emergency services using different radio systems was a disaster waiting to happen. We raised this specifically when Airwave was introduced solely to the Police Service.

“The Transport Police had communications equipment that worked
underground. The government has a responsibility to ensure emergency services equipment is compatible and this is clearly not the case. The real question which needs to be answered by successive governments is why the emergency services still had radio equipment unable to transmit in the deep tube lines 18 years after the King’s Cross fire enquiry highlighted this very issue. What is urgently needed is central funding and co-ordination to ensure that all emergency workers are capable of communicating effectively.”


Anyone who has used emergency services radio equipment over the years will appreciate just how diverse this equipment has been historically. Those of us with an interest in collecting radios used by Police and other emergency services know only too well what a minefield it is – but we find it astonishing that, even today, lives are still being put at risk by incompatible equipment.


Hat Works Museum - (Toppers for Coppers)

The Hat Works Museum is holding a special exhibition of Police headwear from Britain and around the world until 21 July 2006. 


The fantastic collection of the Greater Manchester Police Museum and the hatting expertise of Hat Works are combined in this fascinating exhibition. You can find out how and why police helmets are made, and learn about historic police hats and police headgear from around the world. The exhibition also features personal stories from police officers and fun activities for family visitors.


Admission is FREE


The museum is situated at - Wellington Mill, Wellington Road South, Stockport SK3 0EU. For more information their website is: 


Aladdin's Cave for collectors
Thanks to our good friend John Barrett we are able to put PMCC members in touch with a shop that's a true Aladdin's Cave of Police memorabilia. It is Courts Miscellany, at 48a Bridge St, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DZ, tel 01568 612995. John visited the shop recently and told us: "I left the shop confused because he has so much Police stuff and knowledge. It is a must for any serious collector." The owner is George Courts, and Jim had a chat with him after John's tip-off. "He's a real fanatic, and although he mainly specialises in truncheons, rattles and lamps he has plenty of other items as well," says Jim. So it looks as though we're all going to be heading for Leominster as soon as possible. Keep the eyes skinned, though, because the shop is on the edge of the town and could be missed - and that would be a tragedy!




Scooting around Glasgow in the Fifties

This photograph entitled Glasgow Police Riding School was taken on 30th November 1956, at a time when the motor scooter was fast becoming one of the most popular forms of transport. Private ownership of cars at the time was at an extremely low level, and the scooter, along with inexpensive motorcycles such as BSA Bantams, provided a welcome alternative to the pedal cycle and public transport. Scooters were tried out by many police forces, usually to be rejected quite rapidly in favour of full-blown motorbikes or continued reliance on the good old pedal cycle, but it’s evident that Glasgow Police were more enthusiastic than some when it came to the scooter. The machines being ridden in this photo are all 125cc Vespas, with at least three of them displaying L-plates; presumably these learner-drivers were not allowed out on patrol before passing their motorcycle test.




Police Humour

Submiited by L.A.P.D officer Maxine Zewiey

Luxury SUV

Custom Wheels

Custom Stereo

Seizing it from a Drug Dealer


$ 5,000.00

$ 3,000.00




Police War Duties and Collecting

by Jim

Any war is a sad event, and an event that the majority of us would pray and hope never happens. Of course, the sad truth is that it does, and even today British Police become involved in War Duties, whether in the aftermath or the conflict itself. As a Police Historian who was born in 1949, I look back at our history in the hope that we never get tangled up in the misfortunes that others had to bear in the two World Wars. Collecting Police memorabilia from these wars helps us to remember the various ways in which the Police Service was involved, and the ways in which manpower was expanded through the recruitment of Auxiliaries, Special Constables and others.


In this feature we look at the Second World War, when the concept of “Total War” was experienced for the first time, and every citizen in Great Britain from the age of 14 years was required to do their bit. Those that couldn't join the armed forces were required to take some other active roll, either as auxiliaries or full-timers, in the Home Guard, Fire Service or Police, even if they were employed in essential war work, such as the manufacture of armaments, or in dockyard work, and so on.  Thousands of Citizens were enrolled as Special Constables. After their normal day’s work was done, they were required to report for duty to help enforce wartime regulations and guard important installations. Young lads did their bit, too, with Boy Scouts being recruited as Police Messengers in many towns and cities.


Added together, this has all had the effect of producing a wealth of memorabilia, just a little of which is featured here. As with most emergencies, in the early days there is never enough uniform or equipment to be had and the Police were no exception to this. A lot of Special Constables had to wear their own civilian clothes, and to identify them Armbands were issued, and sometimes – if they were lucky – a flat hat was also issued.


Early armbands were literally a piece of printed cloth, such as the two shown above from Tony Clayton’s collection. Later ones became more formal, often being made from metal and supported by the familiar On-Duty armband or a leather strap, such as the three examples below.

One area of collecting that is very popular – and I have a small collection of them myself – is Special Constable lapel badges. Often called mufti badges, they were worn with civilian clothes to show that you were doing your bit for the war effort. They weren't just worn by the Special Constabulary, but included other organisations as well such as ARP (Air Raid Precautions), Fire Service, Land Army, Women's Voluntary Service, etc.

Aberdeen Kent Boston West Sussex Metropolitan Women's Auxiliary Messenger Service
Leeds Leicester Rochester Oxford East Suffolk Nottinghamshire Perth & Kinross

Researching Records: the Discipline Book

Part of collecting can be the history behind the Police Force, together with the memorabilia. One entirely overlooked source of history is the Divisional Discipline Book. Each Division had to keep a Discipline Book to record reprimands that were not serious enough to put before the Chief Constable. By their very nature, policemen do not join the job to break the law, so entries in the Discipline Book would not be a daily event. My own Division in the Hertfordshire Constabulary had two Discipline Books which spanned over 100 years, whereas most other records over 10 years old had been destroyed.


Neglect of Duty

War Reserve Constable 35 Henry James Smith

Whilst on duty at a vulnerable point at the Electrical Power Station, Cardiff Road, Watford, was found asleep at 0515hrs 23rd April 1940. Found Guilty and required to resign. 

If you are a serving Police Officer and interested in Police History, why not ask your Divisional Commander to look at the old records. If you are not a serving Officer, it may be possible to view the records under the Freedom of Information Act.


Another popular area of collecting:

Warrant Cards, Warrant Card Holders & ID Cards





Make-do and Mend – even with cars

Almost without exception cars purchased for Police work immediately prior to the outbreak of war had to soldier on throughout hostilities and, very often, for a year or two afterwards. This group of cars from the Worcestershire force was photographed in 1946 and contains three cars that had remained in use through the war. These are the Humber Super Snipe nearest the camera and the two Wolseley 18s on the far left.


War Duty booklet

Reporting on a booklet he stumbled across on Ebay, Martin says that this list of instructions issued to East Suffolk Officers in July 1939 is a delightful piece of Police history

In July 1939 the East Suffolk Police force issued to all Officers a booklet entitled War Duty Hints. As is always the case with material intended solely for the use of Officers the booklet was strictly confidential, and although it does have sensitive content, there was also a natural desire not to cause alarm to the general public.


George Staunton, Chief Constable, wrote in a Forward to the booklet that “if this country were to be attacked by air the Police Service, owing to its wide distribution and its daily and intimate association with the public, would be called upon to play a very large part indeed in the protection of life and property, and in the preservation of public tranquility, which are the primary objects of an efficient police force today, as in the past. By calm devotion to duty in the face of danger, and instant readiness to assist by advice and example, every police officer will be a vital factor in the maintenance of morale.”


As has been recorded many times before by historians, it was seen at the time as almost inevitable that war with Germany would come, and therefore plans for the defence of Britain and, as the Chief Constable put it, the maintenance of morale and order, were well advanced. This is evidenced, not only by the fact that this booklet was distributed in July 1939, but by the clear evidence that plans had been fully prepared for boosting numbers of Police Officers.


Mr Staunton states: “The term Police Service” includes all Police Auxiliaries, ie, the 1st Police Reserve (re-engaged Police Pensioners below the age of 60), the Police War Reserve, and the Special Constabulary, including the Observer Corps.”


He went on, “I commend to you some of the words contained in the declaration you made when you were appointed to the Police Service: ‘that I will to the best of my power cause the peace to be kept and preserved, and prevent all offences against the person and properties of His Majesty’s subjects’.”


The booklet was issued to all ranks, with instructions that Officers must familiarise themselves with its contents. On page 3 was a list of the main additional duties likely to fall on the Police in the event of war.


These included: The prevention of sabotage by enemy agents; measures for the arrest of enemy spies; prevention of damage to places of vital importance; assistance in the detention of enemy ships and aircraft; assistance in the mobilisation of Defence Forces; assistance with various measures of defence, including enforcement of lighting restrictions, circulation of air raid warnings, etc.



The various chapters within the booklet cover all key aspects, including: Police organisation (defining the various branches of Auxiliaries), Police equipment and communications; advice on dealing with damage to the public utility services; Police action and duties before, during and after air raids; dealing with incendiary devices; wartime traffic matters; lighting restrictions; and the impressments of vehicles and horses, etc.


Several pages at the back are left blank under headings such as “Air raid shelters”, “Ambulance depots”, “Casualty clearing hospitals” and so on; the intention is that each Officer will add relevant details relating to his own area of operation, such as telephone numbers and addresses.


Altogether, this is a fascinating booklet and one which provides a clear insight into the way the Police had to respond to the war situation that developed only a few months after the East Suffolk Chief Constable wrote his introduction to the set of War Duty instructions for his Officers.


It’s a wonderful item of memorabilia from those troubled times, and I’m delighted to have it.



The Ipswich Borough force was within the geographical area of Suffolk covered by the East Suffolk Police, whose pre-war handbook of War Duty Hints is the subject of this article. In this picture the Chief Constable, Charles Cresswell (who had come up through the ranks of Ipswich Borough after joining in 1903) poses with the wartime Special Constables who operated from the town's No 2 Police Station at the Old Customs House on the docks. We're not sure why the three men in the front are in the photo!

Sgt Ronald Saunders of the West Suffolk Constabulary was awarded the BMW for rescuing the crew of an American bomber that crashed on his patch in 1944.

This Metropolitan Police Wolseley 14 had been bought by the Met in 1939, and remained in service until 1946.




Last of the Met’s Traffic Land Rovers


For 80 years Metropolitan Police Traffic Patrols have relied on British vehicles. Now that the last of the Met’s Traffic Land Rover Discoverys is being pensioned off, it’s the end of a buy-British era that began in 1926

Met Traffic Officer Sgt John Pope poses for Simon at Hendon with the V8 Discovery which is his normal duty vehicle. John wears his heart on his sleeve because his personal transport is a V8 Discovery, and he had a V8 Range Rover before that.

This photograph provides clear evidence as to the practicality of the Discovery, with plenty of space to fit the ever-growing array of equipment, seating for five (yes, even five policemen!) and more than ample luggage space for everything that Traffic cars need to carry with them. On top of that, the Discovery is able to haul broken-down vehicles from the carriageway with ease; even 40-ton HGVs are within its towing capability.


The management of this magazine felt so strongly about the end of the relationship between the Metropolitan Police Traffic management and Land Rover that it devoted a special feature and the front cover to the subject

The eighty-year relationship between the Metropolitan Police Traffic Department and British cars is very nearly at an end. The last pure-British vehicles to be used for Traffic duties – Land Rovers – will soon be replaced with Japanese models such as Mitsubishi Shoguns. The Vauxhalls that perform a variety of duties with the Met are no more than General Motors vehicles, mostly built in Europe, and carrying a Vauxhall badge instead of the Opel crest they wear in the rest of the world.


Land Rover have enjoyed an excellent partnership with the Met since around 1949, and for a long time the V8 Range Rover was the most favoured of all vehicles when it came to Traffic patrols. The Discovery was to be seen wearing Met livery soon after its launch in 1989, and while the diesel models proved to be lacking in top speed and acceleration, the 3.5-litre and 3.9-litre petrol engined V8s proved to be excellent for the job most of the time.


But the 3.9-litre Discovery shown here is the last of the line and for reasons that are not entirely clear, and which are not always popular with many of the Officers who drive them, Mitsubishi Shoguns are now making their way onto the fleet in place of the home-grown Land Rovers.


To mark the occasion, and to pay tribute to the work done over the years by Land Rovers, the specialist magazine LAND ROVER enthusiast has done a major article on this final Met Traffic Discovery. The feature was written and photographed by the magazine’s Deputy Editor Simon Hodder, the son of PMCC’s Martin Hodder, and even features this particular Discovery on its front cover. The magazine is currently on sale, if anyone wants to read the whole article.


In order to obtain the material for the feature, Simon spent a complete day with the Met’s Sgt John Pope during a normal duty shift, which meant that Simon was able to experience first-hand the variety of tasks handed out to a front-line Traffic vehicle. John is driving the Discovery on the cover photograph, and is posing beside the static picture, which was taken at Hendon.


Enthusiasts of British motor vehicles are unhappy that the Met’s relationship with true British cars and 4x4s is about to come to an end, although, of course, it is worth remembering that this applies only to Traffic and general-duty vehicles. Fortunately, there are various Range Rovers, Discoverys and Jaguars in special-duty use, and many of us hope this will continue for a long time in the future.




Disappeared without Trace

(Not Quite)

A couple of weeks ago, club member Tony Clayton sent me a CD full of pictures from his collection. One of the items was this button from St. Austell Police. I had never heard of a separate Police Force for St. Austell, which is in the Restormel Borough district of Cornwall and the same Borough where I live.


I then attempted to find out more. I contacted a couple of officers that I know, who are stationed at St. Austell. No! They had never heard of the St. Austell Police. I then contacted Simon Dell who is a Devon and Cornwall Police historian and does voluntary works at their museum. He replied "St Austell seems to be like Teignmouth.......! We know of the existence of a button but no records exist to suggests there was ever a Borough Police in those towns so I regret there's nothing in the Devon & Cornwall archives to go on."


I got back to Tony who replied: "There seem to be a number of these small forces coming to light where there was no Borough force. Some Town forces seem to have been formed under local Improvement Acts. Some of these towns were later granted charters of incorporation but others were absorbed into county forces without ever becoming Borough forces, Ashford in Kent being an example. Other towns and parishes seem to have formed forces under the Lighting and Watching Act of 1833 which enabled vestries and courts leet to establish local police forces. There were also a lot of local Prevention and Prosecution societies set up by public subscription and some of these employed their own police forces. Finally, after the Metropolitan Police and the first Borough Forces were set up some of the remaining Parish constables were provided with uniforms based on that of the Met.


"I expect that St Austell fell into one of these categories but which one I couldn't say."


Can you help solve these mysteries? Please let us know if you have any helpful information, photographs or even items of memorabilia. Simon would like to include the Devon and Cornwall mysteries in a new book he is writing.






The Collecting Debate

A few comments regarding the debate on collecting and prices. Yes, ebay has certainly pushed up prices and opened up the market, thereby reducing the “old guard’s” almost exclusive access to all the tasty collections coming up for sale and them gobbling everything up for their exclusive collections.


As for the Hull City helmet, as a former Hull bobby and Hull City collector I offered this lady £2,000 in trades for that helmet but she declined! I was upset as I wanted it to stay in OUR city but she decided she wanted cold hard cash even though I offered her some Clarice cliff pottery worth much more – strangeness on her part to say the least. However, I lost out and will probably never see that piece being retained for our City’s heritage, for which we have no force archive or museum. It’s a sad loss of a rare helmet as I have one of the largest Hull City collections going.


I have seen rare stuff on ebay go for nothing but then next week shoot through the roof. It all depends on who’s there at the time and who will fight for it. I must correct you on the plate being worth £900; in fact it is more like £400-500 but they are scarce indeed. Hull has always been a very hard force to find things from, even in Hull where I live. If anyone has ANY Hull items please let me know as I want to put together some archive for the force or city, especially as I work with Hull museums now.


Tony Steventon




New South Wales Sheriffs

A very good friend in Australia, Dave Morley, has sent me a number of patches and baseball caps, some of which are particularly interesting. Dave is ex-Police and ex-Army, but among his gifts were some Sheriff patches from his home state, New South Wales – he lives in the beautifully named place, Wagga Wagga, and is a State Sheriff.


Because I wasn’t sure where the office of Sheriff fitted in with the Police Service, I asked him to explain. Here’s what he told me: “All States over here have a Sheriff’s office, but they don't all have the same function for some reason. Here in NSW we serve summonses, execute warrants (generally for money people owe to other people), serve divorce and child custody documents, provide security in court, administer the jury system and the District (Quarter Sessions) and Supreme Court. Lately we've also started collecting unpaid fines for the government as well.


“The NSW Sheriff’s Office is part of the Attorney-General's Department and separate from the NSW Police. Our ranks of seniority are: Sheriff’s Officers, Senior S/Os and then Sergeants, Inspectors, Chief Inspectors, etc. Those of us like me, who've been in the job a while are also sworn in as NSW Police Special Constables to give us a tad more authority when carrying out court security functions.”


Thanks for that Dave. Most interesting.






Metropolitan Women Police Association

The Metropolitan Women Police Association was formed in 1976 by a group of women officers to provide a means of helping women police officers to meet and keep in touch with one another.  All serving or former women police, including those who later transferred to other forces, are eligible to join at any time.  We keep in contact with members at home and abroad via a newsletter three times a year,  which we produce ourselves and this contains details of social and special events, outings and get-togethers at the Sports Clubs.  We have a Christmas lunch usually in Central London and an AGM in March.


Website -



Small Collection for Sale

Simon **** has contacted the PMCC, wishing to sell his small collection of cars and figurines. Their are 30 figurines ranging from a Robert Harrop Bulldog to a lead figurine and six Corgi 1/43 scale model vehicles in new condition and boxed. and includes the display shelf.  For the Figurines Simon is looking for £185 (plus postage) and for the model vehicles Simon is asking £50 (plus postage). If you are interested Simon can be emailed at #### SOLD ####





Coming Soon

Oxford City Police

If you have any pictures, pictures of insignia or stories about the Oxford City Police, we would be grateful of an email.



Coming in Magazine No 42

(June 23rd)

American Police Motorcycles


Special feature for everyone interested in Police Traffic work and the vehicles used, tracing the fascinating story of the motorcycle with Police Departments in the USA. Lots of excellent photos and interesting information.



To finish with a touch of humour from Pam's postcards . . . . . .


Next Magazine Friday 23rd June 2006 (2030hrs)