Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Period 1900 - 1945

Time Zone: 1930 - 1944


Information Room inaugurated.

Harry BATTLEY’s ‘Single Fingerprints’ Classification system.

R 101 Zeppelin crashed.

First palm print identification used in evidence, presented at Court by Det Insp Cherrill (Rex v Egan).

Committee of Police Council on Police College Scheme.

Revision of Divisional Boundaries (1930 - 1933).

Abolition of fixed traffic points in favour of automatic traffic signals.

Miss Dorothy Peto OBE appointed staff officer for Women Police. (Began duty 11th April).

Road Traffic Act:

  • Abolition of general speed limit except in built-up areas.
  • First Traffic Patrols (Police Order 29 December 1930)
  • Taking and driving away without owner’s consent.
  • Introduction of Highway Code and Pedestrian Crossings

PC 947 ‘W’ Arthur LAWES (Wt No 116059) deliberately struck and killed by hit and run driver in unlighted stolen car in Tooting.

DS WILLS murdered at Cambridge by Douglas POTTS.

Jun 5 - George ABBISS (Wt No 91801) appointed Chief Constable.

F. W. ABBOTT appointed Chief Constable.


Economy Crisis - Coalition Government.

Women Police Uniform modified: collar and tie introduced and shorter skirts.

Report by J.C.C. on Police General Purpose Fund and Claims Department.

Lt Col. W. D. ALLEN appointed Assistant Commissioner, then H.M. Inspector of Constabularies.

Post of Dental Surgeon for the Metropolitan Police created.

Jan - Kingsway Tunnel reopens for double-decker Trams.

Mar 10 - Alfred Arthur ROUSE executed.

Jul - Automatic Traffic Signals introduced along Oxford Street.

Oct - Commissioner, Lord BYNG retired due to ill-health.

Nov - Lord TRENCHARD appointed Commissioner.


Report by Select Committee on Police Forces Amalgamation.

H. Alker TRIPP appointed Assistant Commissioner (B).

Dartmoor Mutiny.

Uniform: Tunics - Silver letters ‘MP’ affixed on each shoulder.

Commissioner, Lord TRENCHARD abolished the timed Beat System and set out his thoughts about the Metropolitan Police Personnel Recruitment and Promotion System.

Competitive selection and grading of police officers

Feb - 4th (Chatham) Dockyard Division Closed (opened 1860).

Mar 14 - At Cornhill the Lord Mayor of London inaugurated first electro-matic traffic signals in Europe.

Jul - Lambeth Suspension Bridge replaced by present structure.

Jul 23 - Electro-matic traffic signals installed at Cheapside.

Sep - Piccadilly line extended from Finsbury Park to Arnos Grove.

Oct 27 - Hunger Marchers riot in Hyde Park.


Ranks of Junior Station Inspector and Station Inspector introduced.

Short Service system (10 years) introduced.

Memorandum on the subject of certain changes in the organisation and administration of the Metropolitan Police. (TRENCHARD White Paper).

Lord TRENCHARD began his programme for the improvement of Section Houses.

Introduction of Children and Young Persons Act 1933. All reports on juveniles were channelled through A.4.Branch where Miss Dorothy Peto had been in charge since 1932. The A.4. index on juveniles, an important aspect of Women Police work, was started.

Civil Service examination replaced rudimentary educational test for recruits.

Report of Committee of Enquiry into Police Canteens.

Police pay for new entrants - 63 shillings per week.

World Economic Conference in London.

Four Deputy Assistant Commissioners placed in charge of Districts.

George ABBISS appointed Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

First woman appointed to the C.I.D.

‘Q’ cars introduced for CID work.

Metropolitan Police Act - Drastic changes in organisation.


Fifth Assistant Commissioner appointed.

London Passenger Transport Board formed to co-ordinate London’s bus, coach and tube services.

Public Service Vehicles licensed by Traffic Commissioners. (Had been licensed by Commissioner since 1869).

Under 18’s exempt from Capital Punishment.

Clerks employed in Police Stations.

Mar 3 - Electro-matic traffic signals installed at Albert gate, SW1.

Apr 3 - Electro-matic traffic signals installed at Trafalgar Square.

May 28 - Electro-matic traffic signals installed at Piccadilly.

Jul 18 - A Constable with less than four years service may not marry without Commissioner’s consent (1936-37, GO Sec 5 Para 81,)


Metropolitan Police withdrew from Devonport Dockyard, bring to a close its presence in HM Dockyards.

Information Room set up at Scotland Yard to receive calls from the public - WHItehall 1212.

Uniform: Redesigned tunic: Two hooks and eyes at collar; seven large chromium plated buttons down the front (until 1948), four small for epaulettes (stitched down) and pocket flaps (two breast pockets with three pointed flaps; plain cuffs.

Police Box system completed south of River Thames (‘R’ Division).

Solicitor’s Department created.

Section House over Cannon Row Police Station taken over as offices.

New Ranks of Junior Station Inspector and Station Inspector introduced.


8,000 cabs licensed (28 growlers, 2 hansoms.)

Firearms Committee.

Report on Metropolitan Police Provident Association and Kindred Schemes.

Report by Committee of Enquiry into necessity for retention of Metropolitan and City Police Orphanage. Closed

Report by Committee on Police Uniform Clothing.

May 31 - Metropolitan Police College at Hendon opened. Closed in 1939 on the outbreak of war.

Jun - Wireless car system introduced by TRENCHARD.


Jubilee of King George V. Women Police not allowed to march but put by Royal Box. The Mall was closed - except for school children. Women Police used for the first time to police a ceremonial occasion.

Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory opened at Hendon.

F. W. ABBOTT appointed Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

Jan 7 - Metropolitan Police Driving School established.

Mar - Croydon Airport Gold Robbery.

May 12 - ‘The Warren’ Hayes, Kent, MP Sports Club, opened. (Police Order April 1935).

May - To celebrate the 25th reign of George V, the Port of London designates the part of the Thames between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridge to be known as ‘King’s Reach’.

Jun - Driving Tests made compulsory.

Jul 20 - Review of Police in Hyde Park.

Nov 11 - Commissioner, Lord TRENCHARD retired. Succeeded by Sir Philip GAME.


Emergency signal light installed in police box in Trafalgar Square.

Post of Senior Assistant Secretary created (2).

George ABBIS appointed Assistant Commissioner.

F. W. ABBOTT (Deputy Assistant Commissioner) retired.

Station Codes revised to reflect the Division and the Station (changed from the 1867 design).

‘Confidential Informations’ became a daily publication, Monday - Saturday.

Press Bureau established.

Women Police attached to each Juvenile Court and to the Juvenile Bus service. Pembridge Hall Section House for women officers opened.

Jan - Death of King George V. Succeeded by King Edward VIII.

Mar - All station codes changed from ‘descriptive letters’ to divisional letters, eg Plumstead (PS) becomes ‘RP’.

May - Metropolitan Police Wireless Station at Denmark Hill opened.

May 12 - Execution of Buck Ruxton (Strangeways).

Jun - Gatwick Airport opened.

Aug - Victoria Park Police Station closed.

Sep - Sir Oswald MOSLEY arrested at the Cable Street Riots on ‘H’ division.

Oct 4 - The Battle of Cable Street involved the Metropolitan Police in street battles with opposing political factions. 88 persons arrested and 70 people injured including police officers.

Dec 1 - Crystal Palace burned down.

Dec 11 - Abdication of King Edward VIII. Succeeded by King George VI.


Firearms Act.

Uniform: Divisional letters and station sergeants’ crowns to be chrome (Police Order 9 April 1936).

May 12 - Coronation of King George VI.

Women Police were authorised to take fingerprints.

Jul - ‘999’ system introduced 8 am. for Police, Fire and Ambulance.

Nov - PC 611X Alexander Carmichael shot and wounded at Dollis Hill.


Report by Departmental Committee on Detective Work and Procedure.

Wandsworth Section House opened for women.

Civil Defence started with the formation of two Reserves in the event of war. The first were retired officers, the second Special Constables.

Jan - Dogs introduced experimentally in Peckham (LP).

North Fulham Police Station closed.

Mar - Andrew VANDERBURG (10 years imprisonment) and Reginald KAYE (3 years Borstal) for Desertion and wounding police officers.

Stanley MARTIN sentenced for murder of PC at Whimple.

Jun - Chigwell Sports Club opened.

Canning Town Police Station closed.

Sep - Munich crisis.

Northern Line closed beneath the Thames between Strand and Kennington during the ‘Phoney War’ period and sealed with concrete.

Nov 9 - PC George SHEPHERD thrown from the running board of a car whose driver he was seeking to stop when the suspect collided with a bus in Hampstead.


New Scotland Yard (North) completed.

Introduction of Police War Reserves.

Married women officers allowed to rejoin. Women Police Establishment 153. Strength 128 uniform and 8 CID.

Jun - I.R.A. activity resulted in 59 explosions in the Metropolitan Police District. 55 people were convicted for these offences.

Aug - New Chelsea Police Station replaces Kings Road and Walton Street.

Sep 3 - War declared on Germany.


Lionel FOX appointed Acting Receiver.

WRC Jack William AVERY stabbed by a man sketching gun emplacements in Hyde Park.

98 Metropolitan Police officers killed during the air raids.

Women Police employed on dealing with refugees, evacuees, and enemy aliens. They took their turn on duty at air raids, and Women Officers were posted to duties at the Internment Camp for enemy aliens on the Isle of Man.

Feb - PC ------- murdered at Coxhoe.

I.R.A. bomb outrages in London.

Battle of Britain.

Jun - Evacuation of British Expeditionary Force from France (Dunkirk).


Report by Departmental Committee on Police Widows’ Pensions.

Aliens and British fascists interned on the Isle of Man.

Air raids bombings continued and Holloway police station was destroyed. Somers Town, Sydenham and Brixton were too badly damaged to be used.

Assistant Commissioner George Abiss donated the Lady Abiss Trophy for the Annual First Aid Competition.

May 11 - Bomb struck New Scotland Yard.


Sir Frederick Charles JOHNSON appointed Acting Receiver.

PS ---------------- murdered by deserter at Bognor.

Police Officers were allowed to volunteer for the armed forces.

Members of the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps were attested.

A Women Police Section of the M.P.Athletic Association was formed.

Jun 25 - Gordon Frederick CUMMINS executed.

Sep - Temporary bridge across the Thames during demolition of Waterloo Bridge.

Sep 10 - George Silverosa and Sam Dashwood executed for murder - First case where palm print identification resulted in capital punshment.


In an attempt to curb housebreaking, the Commissioner Sir Philip GAME asked people not to keep furs, saying, ‘they are no doubt warmer and look nicer than a tweed coat, but a live dog is better than a dead lion’.

Mar - Walter ALLEN (Commandant-in-Chief Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary) died. Post taken over by Major V B ROGERS (until 1949).

Mar - 173 people killed descending steps to Bethnal Green Underground Air Raid Shelter.

Apr - Millwall football ground bombed by a single enemy raider. Grandstand severely damaged.


Arbour Square, Brockley, East Greenwich, Epsom and Highgate police stations hit by V1s.

Looting reached an all time record.

W.P.C. Margaret Gleghorn killed by a flying bomb whilst on duty at Tottenham Court Road. Women Police were involved on duty in many air raid incidents. Pembridge Hall was damaged by incendiary bombs.

Jun - First V1 Flying bomb (‘Doodlebug’) lands on Grove Road, Bow.

Mounted Branch riding school hit by bomb.

Sep - First V2 Rocket lands on Staveley Road, Chiswick.



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