Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Time Zone: 1946 - 1960


1946

Headquarters of the International Police Commission transferred to Paris (from Vienna).

The Metropolitan and City Police Company Fraud Department formed.

George ABBISS (Assistant Commissioner) retired.

Use of Police dogs began on an experimental basis.

Jan - First Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations held at Central Hall, Westminster.

First commercial flight from Heathrow.

R.L. JACKSON succeeded H M HOWGRAVE- GRAHAM as Secretary.

Jan 3 - William JOYCE (Lord Haw-Haw) executed.

Feb - Epsom Police Station reopens following war damage.

First Bananas since the war arrive at London Docks

Mar - Police Act (Amalgamation to come into force 1947). Parts of Herts, Surrey and Kent ceded to the Metropolitan Police.

Mar 11 - Chief Constable’ rank re-designated ‘Deputy Commander’. ‘Deputy Assistant Commissioner’ re-designated Commander’.

District Commissioners became Commanders.

Apr - New Training School Division formed (TS).

Staines Police Station changed from ‘TS’ to ‘TG’.

Jun - Somers Town Police Station closed.

Victory Celebrations take place. Women Police allowed to take part in VE Parade.

Superintendent Peto retired. Miss Elizabeth Bather, OBE. appointed Superintendent in charge of A.4 Branch. Miss Bather, the daughter of Winchester Housemaster, she had been the youngest J.P. in Hampshire and a member of the local Council before joining the WRAF.

The marriage bar for Women Police was removed.

New style ‘Bather’ uniform for Women Police introduced.

Jun 4 - Police exhibition at Brighton.

Jul - Limehouse Police Station opened.

Oct 26 - Neville George HEATH executed.

Nov - World War II inscriptions added to the Cenotaph.

Dec - Kensington Police Station opened.

Underground Railway extended from Liverpool Street to Stratford.


1947

Report by Committee on pay of Chief Constables.

Metropolitan Police faced a deficiency of 4,730 officers as a result of the war.

Jan - 45 Borough Forces amalgamated under the 1946 Police Act.

Apr 3 - Last horse cab licence surrendered.

Apr 29 - Alec de ANTIQUIS murdered trying to stop smash and grab in Charlotte Street.

Report by Committee of Police Council on Police Uniforms.

First of four reports by the Police Post-War Committee.

Report by the Committee of Police Council on Conditions of Service for the Police.

W.P.S. (CID.) Alberta Watts was the first woman officer to be awarded the Kings Police Medal for Gallantry.

Swimming, tennis, shooting, hockey, athletics and choir sections formed within the Women Police Section of the M.P.A.A. (Metropolitan Police Athletic Association).

Jun - Underground Railway extended to Greenford.

Nov 20 - Marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Lt Philip Mountbatten.

Dec - Underground Railway extended to Newbury Park and Woodford.


1948

Police Pensions Act.

Uniform: Start of issue of open-neck tunics, two breast pockets with three pointed flaps. Cuffs with inverted ‘V’ or buttons.

Report by the Committee of Police Council on Special Pensions.

Report by Committee on Pay of Superintendents.

Report by Committee of Police Council on Police Rent and Supplementary Allowances.

Oaksey Committee set up on Police Conditions of Service.

National Police College opened at Ryton-on-Dunsmore (subsequently moved to Bramshill in 1960).

Indictable crime rate fell to 126,000 crimes, but that was still 40% higher than before the war.

Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps (WAPC) disbanded.

Women admitted to the Police Federation. The age limit for women was lowered to 20 as an experiment. 18 Pembridge Square was acquired as an additional house to Pembridge Hall Women's Section House.

Peto House in Aybrook Street, named after Miss Peto, replaced Wandsworth Section House for women in training.

Jan - British Transport Commission Police formed upon Nationalisation of railways.

Feb 13 - PC 807 ‘Y’ Nathanael EDGAR (Wt No 128623) shot while on plain clothes patrol when questioning a suspect burglar (Donald George THOMAS) in Southgate. Died from wounds.

Apr 16 - Capital punishment held in abeyance pending Parliamentary vote. Re-introduced Jun 10.

May 4 - PC C. J. HARRIS shot at Forest Gate.

May 29 - PC H. KAY shot at Acton.

Jul 30 - Criminal Justice Act.

Jul - XIV Olympiad opened at Wembley.

Oct 16 - Peter GRIFFITHS sentenced to death for murder of Jun Anne DEVANEY.

Nov - First part of the Metropolitan Police Laboratory moved from Hendon to New Scotland Yard (Second part moved in Jan 1949).

Dec 31 - Metropolitan Police War Reserves disbanded.


1949

Report by Lord OAKSEY’s Committee on Police Conditions of Service recommended small increase in pay and London weighting.

Sir W ARBUTHNOT LANE appointed Chief Commandant of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary (until 1958).

School Crossing Patrols introduced (250 recruited).

Uniform: Blue shirts and black ties introduced for Pcs and PSs

Cricket and Walking women sections formed in the Women Police Section of M.W.A.A. Establishment for Women -338. Strength 235 uniform and 21 CID.

Jan - Second part of the Metropolitan Police Laboratory moved from Hendon to New Scotland Yard.

Jun 30 - Ranks in Metropolitan Police altered:

  • Introduction of the Chief Superintendent Rank (Police Order 30 June 1949)
  • Superintendent to Chief Superintendent
  • Chief Inspector to Superintendent
  • 1st Chief Inspector and Sub-Divisional Inspector to Superintendent

Sep - Central Line Underground extended beyond Loughton and Epping.


1950

The Metropolitan Police Roll of Honour, displaying the names of officers killed in the 1914 - 1918 and 1939 - 1945 wars, was unveiled at Westminster Abbey by the Queen.

First women Special Constables recruited.

Feb - General Election - Labour returned by small majority.

Mar - Arthur E. YOUNG (Assistant Commissioner ‘D’) succeeded Sir Hugh TURNBULL (retired) as Commissioner for City of London Police.

Mar 9 - Timothy John EVANS executed.

Apr - Captain RYMER-JONES appointed Assistant Commissioner ‘D’.

Apr 1 - Uniform: Open neck tunics extended to all Divisions.

May 26 - Petrol Rationing ceased.

Oct 2 - New Legal Aid Scheme,


1951

Commissioner Harold Scott introduced training of cadets aged 16 - 18 to become police officers.

May  - South Bank Exhibition and Battersea Pleasure Gardens.

Jun 14 - Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for 22 years service introduced.

Jun 25 - First batch of Metropolitan Police Cadets started training at Hendon.

Aug 4 - Amalgamation of A.R.O. 2 (Bethnal Green) with A.R.O. 1 at Piccadilly Place.

Sep - Temporary Police Station at South Bank Exhibition subsequently re-used for the first Feltham Police station (until 1971).

Metropolitan Women Police Sports Club formed. Netball section formed.

Oct 25 - General Election.

Oct 27 - John STRAFFEN committed to Broadmoor.


1952

Sir (Stanislaus) Joseph BAKER appointed Receiver.

The Dixon Report advocated many changes in the Metropolitan Police, including greater civilianisation.

Special Escort Group created for state visits and ceremonial occasions.

Women Police first took part in Nijmegen Marches.

Feb 2 - Death of King George VI.

Jul - Last London Tram at New Cross Depot.

Oct 8 - Harrow and Wealdstone train crash.

Nov 2 - PC 5000 ‘Z’ Sidney George MILES (Wt No 119962) shot dead while attempting the arrest of two suspects on a warehouse roof in Croydon (CRAIG and BENTLEY case).


1953

Commissioner Sir Harold Scott retired. Succeeded by Sir John NOTT-BOWER.

Recruitment of Civilian Fingerprint Officers.

Superintendent rank re-graded into Grades I and II.

Jan 28 - Derek BENTLEY executed for murder of Pc 550’Z’ Sidney Miles at Croydon in Nov 1952

Jun 4 - Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Women Police were put in charge of 30,000 school children who were given viewing places along Victoria Embankment, for the Coronation.

Police Council established; election of Federation women advisers.

First Aid Competition for Grace Lucas Trophy introduced.

Jun 26 - Introduction of Research and Planning Branch.

Jul 1- Re-organisation of the force (Implementation of Part 1 of Dixon Report).

Jul 15 - John Reginald Halliday CHRISTIE executed for multiple murders at 10 Rillington Place.

Oct - Television used for the first time in England in a murder hunt. Photographs of William PETIT televised in connection with murder of Rene Agnes BROWN at Chislehurst on 9 October.


1954

Serious understaffing problems with the force of only 16,000 and needed an estimated 4,000 men, mainly police constables

Uniform: Women police (Sergeants and Constables) change from ‘MP’ on shoulder to divisional letter (Police Order 26 January 1954).

CID attachments and nylon stockings for women introduced.

Drug Squad created.

Jan 1 - Mrs Styllou CHRISTOFI executed.

Feb - Truth Drugs used for first time in murder investigation in England (Raymond Harold BARKER).

May 19 - Queen’s Police Medal instituted (superseding the former King’s Police and Fire Service Medal).

Jun 6 - New Dog Training establishment opened at Layhams Road, West Wickham.

Jul 14 - Royal Review of police in Hyde Park.

Aug 9 - Civil Staff took over Public Carriage Office.

Sep - Crystal Palace (High Level) railway station together with Upper Sydenham, Lordship Lane and Honor Oak Station.


1955

Railways at standstill for 17 days.

Awards of the George Medal to W.P.S. Ethel Bush and W.P.C. Kathleen Parrott for courage by acting as decoys for sex attackers.

Recruitment of civilian Photographers and Vehicle Examiners.

Jun 21 - Ruth Ellis found guilty. Executed Jul 13.

Jun 24 - Formation of Central Traffic Squad.

Jul 13 - Last woman executed - at Holloway - Ruth Ellis.

Aug 13 - Armed Irish raid at Arborfield, Berks.

Dec - United Kingdom Police Unit set up during the conflict in Cyprus.

A suburban electric train from Waterloo ran into rear of steam freight train at Barnes, killing 11 passengers and 2 crew.


1956

The flying squad made over 1,000 arrests, a record since its formation.

International Police Commission renamed as International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).

The Dixon Committee recommended an increase in Women Police establishment to 656.

Formation of Traffic Control Room - at Wellington Arch Police Station.

Feb - First Routemaster Buses entered service on Route 2 (Crystal Palace - Golders Green).

Yellow Lines first introduced - Slough.

Apr 17 - Visit to U.K. of Marshall BULGANIN and Mr. KRUSCHEV.

Jun 15 - Two men sentenced at the Central Criminal Court for wounding Jack SPOT alias COMER.

Jul - Phonetic Alphabet introduced (1A now ‘Alpha One’).

Dec - Kensington Police Station opened.


1957

New Information Room opened at New Scotland Yard.

Feb - New Boreham Wood police station replaces Shenley.

Oct 31 - Report by Committee on Interception of Communications (telephone tapping).

Dec - Hendon Aerodrome closed.

90 killed in Lewisham Train crash. Women Police manned first casualty bureau.

Women Officers served with the British Police Unit in Cyprus.


1958

Commissioner Sir John NOTT-BOWER retired. Succeeded by Sir Joseph SIMPSON.

Uniform: ‘Noddy’ helmets introduced for officers on motorcycles (Police Order 9 May 1958).

Badminton Section of Women Police Sports Club formed.

Capt C D JACKMAN appointed Chief Commandant of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary (until 1967).

Public Records Act 1958 - Metropolitan Police to release certain records to the Public Record Office.

May - 6-week London Bus Strike commenced.

May 29 - Peter MANUEL found guilty of murder of seven persons (Glasgow High Court). Executed Jul 11.

Aug 31 - Notting Hill ‘Affray’.

Dec 14 - PC Raymond Henry SUMMERS stabbed in the back while breaking up a gang fight in Seven Sisters Road, Holloway.


1959

Indictable offences reached over 160,000, the highest recorded to that year.

Uniform: Capes withdrawn as part of police uniform (Police Order 1 May 1959).

Uniform: Gloves for Sergeants and Constables - black leather.

Uniform: Addition of patched waist pockets with three pointed flaps and waist belt for senior officers. Four buttons down front.

Archivist appointed for Metropolitan Police - a statutory obligation.

Rank of Superintendent Grade II abolished.

Street Offences Act introduced. A4.Central Index of Prostitutes formed. Women Detective Constables appointed to Flying Squad. Women Police Establishment 575: Strength 429 Uniform and 49 CID.

Mar - Morris Mini unveiled to the public.

Mar 19 - Ronald MARWOOD sentenced to death for murder of PC in Holloway.

Jul 13 - DS Raymond William PURDY (Wt No 128057) shot dead by a prisoner (PODOLA) escaping arrest in South Kensington.

Oct 27 - Abolition of the rank of Superintendent Grade II other than for women police.

Dec - Croydon Airport closed.


1960

PC Leslie Edwin Vincent MEEHAN struck by motor car after he was thrown off a car which had driven off after he had been questioning the driver about stolen property in Woolwich.

Criminal Intelligence Section formed.

Uniform: ‘Shirt Sleeve Order’ introduced.

Introduction of Parking meters; Women Police employed on scooters.

Apr 8 - Re-organisation of the Metropolitan Police Cadet Corps.

Sep 13 - C.10 formed for work in connection with stolen motor vehicles.

Sep 16 - Introduction of the Traffic Warden Scheme. Creation of the Central Ticket Office.

Nov 2 - Penguin Books acquitted at the Central Criminal Court of publishing an obscene article (Lady Chatterley’s Lover).

Nov 18 - Announcement of Royal Commission on the Police Service. (The ‘Willink’ Commission).


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