Timeline 1900 to 1945

Hyde Park Corner, London in 1920

Metropolitan Police Historical Timeline

Events between 1900 and 1945

Date Event
1900PC 240 ‘H’ Division Ernest THOMPSON (Wt No 76476) stabbed in the neck by a man whom he had moved after a street disturbance in Whitechapel.
Construction of a new floating police station at Waterloo Pier.
Lord BELPER Committee enquired into the best possible system of identification of criminals. Edward Henry demonstrates his system for retrieving specific fingerprint patterns from a mass collection.
May 18: Mafeking night.
Dec 31: Rent Aid allowance granted.
1901First police photographer employed.
Strength of Force 15,508, Population 6,554,449.
Telephone exchange installed at New Scotland Yard.
Uniform: Imperial Crown Buttons.
Flag-pole fell at hoisting of black flag at execution of H. J. BENNETT.
Jan: Death of Queen Victoria, Edward VII acceded the throne.
May 31: Edward HENRY appointed Assistant Commissioner.
Jul 1: The Fingerprint Branch commenced operation after the findings of the BELPER Report. Anthropometric measurements under the Bertillon system were still used but began to decline in importance.
Aug: The coronation of King Edward VII made major demands on the police, resulting in 512 police pensioners being recalled for duty. Extra pay, leave and a medal was granted to all serving officers.
End of Boer War.
Detective Training School established.
Photographic Branch established.
Nov: P/Sgt 16 ‘R’ Neil MacDougal fatally shot at Police Revolver Championships at Eltham.
1902Jun: District Underground Railway extended from Whitchapel to Bromley-by-Bow to connect with the London, Tilbury and Southend Line.
Aug: Coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra - deferred from June because of illness. Police pensioners re-engaged to form temporary ‘O’ or ‘Z’ Divisions.
Sep 13: Fingerprint evidence first used at the Old Bailey against Harry JACKSON for burglary.
Dec: Women prisoners cease to be incarcerated within Brixton House of Correction, which would now house male prisoners only.
1903Last steam train on underground.
Metropolitan Streets Act
11,500 horse cabs (7,500 hansoms; 4,000 4-wheelers).
Motor car Act - speed limit 20 m.p.h. - Drivers to be licensed.
First petrol cab licensed.
Private telephone lines installed between Divisions and Commissioner’s Office.
Sergeants introduced on Thames Division (Police Order 29 September 1903).
Two cars purchased for Commissioner and Receiver.
Jan: Fire at Colney Hatch - 52 women killed.
Third Class Inspectors re-designated Sergeants.
Mar 4: Commissioner, Sir Edward BRADFORD retired - Succeeded by Sir Edward HENRY.
Apr: Public Carriage Office refuse to license first experimental Petrol-electric Fischer (USA) omnibus.
Apr 7: George CHAPMAN executed.
May: First London County Council electric tram line opened between Westminster Bridge and Clapham by Prince of Wales.
Jun: Explosion at Woolwich, 16 killed.
Dec 11: First petrol cab licensed.
1904Motor Cars (Use and Construction) order.
Replacement of horse-buses by motor buses on a large scale.
Royal Commission on Traffic.
Proper method of instruction for police candidates introduced.
Six new stations are built at East Ham, Hackney, John Street, Muswell Hill, North Woolwich and Tower Hill. One was near completion and two other started. Major works took place at twenty-three other stations.
Adolf BECK's second wrongful conviction for fraud on identification and handwriting evidence (see 1895). The real perpetrator is arrested whilst Beck is in prison after the Trial Judge delayed his sentence because of lingering personal doubts about the case. The Court of Criminal Appeal is established in 1907 as a result.
Jan: Number plates and licences issued, under the Motor Car (Registration and Licensing) Order 1903.
Aug: London’s first municipal crematorium opened in Aldersbrook Rod, E12.
Dec: North Woolwich Police Station opened.
1905First militant suffragettes.
Aliens Act - Secretary of State given power to deport.
May: Fingerprint evidence first given in murder trial in England (Albert and Alfred STRATTON).
An article in Police Review mentioned that PC William HALLETT of ‘Y’ Division, who had retired after twenty-six years as a mounted officer, had ridden 144,000 miles or more than 5 times around the world in the course of his duty.
Building of Scotland House commenced - completed in 1907.
Public telephone lines to New Scotland Yard finally installed (previously tried in 1881).
1906Madame D’ANGELEY Case (wrongful arrest and perjury).
Royal Commission on Metropolitan Police 1906 - 08.
Metropolitan Police officers at this time were on duty for 13 days a fortnight and had an annual leave of 10 days.
Two despatch vans - 6 hp, vertical engine, single cylinder, Siddeley.
Jan: East Greenwich Police Station opened.
Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton ‘Tube’ opened between Hammersmith and Finsbury Park.
Feb: LCC opens Kingsway Subway.
Hoxton Police Station renamed Old Street.
Mar: Bakerloo Underground Railway opened - Baker Street - Kennington Road (Lambeth North).
Oct: Hampton and Notting Hill Police Stations opened.
1907Scotland House completed.
Two Stores delivery Vans - 10hp Adams-Hewitt.
Telephones exchanges installed at all police stations.
Church and Sexton convicted for being drunk and disorderly. Action against police. Convicted for perjury.
Taximeters made compulsory on motor cabs.
Privilege cabs at railway station abolished.
Feb 13: Clash between the police and 800 Suffragettes outside the House of Commons. Mounted and Foot officers were used to disperse them and allegations of brutality were made.
Mar 25: Horse Van Dispatch service between New Scotland Yard and Divisions replaced by motor vans.
June: Charing Cross to Golders Green/Highate Underground Railway opened.
Sep: Camden Town Murder - discovered in Agar Grove (Emily Dimmock).
Oct: Peel House Training School, Regency Street, established.
1908Suffragettes.
Under 16s exempt from Capital Punishment.
Port of London Authority formed.
Olympic Games at White City.
Prevention of Crimes Act.
Winslow Boy Case (George Archer SHEE).
Royal Commission on Metropolitan Police.
Post of Engineer (Electrical) for the Metropolitan Police created.
The Police Review reported, ‘the authorities at Scotland Yard have been seriously discussing the use of dogs as the constable companion and help, and Sir Edward HENRY (Commissioner), who regards the innovation sympathetically, considers the only crucial objection to be the sentimental prejudices of the public’.
Jun: Rotherhithe Tunnel opened by the Prince of Wales
1909Small recruiting commission for Metropolitan Police toured the country.
George TRIPP appointed Receiver.
Departments first became distinguishable by letters of the alphabet - ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ (Police Order 29 Dec 1909).
Police Act (Widows Pensions. Fourth Assistant Commissioner).
City of London (Street Traffic) Act.
Oscar SLATER Case.
Uniform: Gloves for Sergeants and Constables - white cotton for summer, black woollen for winter.
Jan 23: The Tottenham Outrage occurred in which PC William Frederick TYLER was shot in the head by armed robber, Paul HEFELD, whom he was pursuing and a 10-year-old boy was shot dead by anarchists.
Apr: Port of London Authority Police formed from various dock company police.
Jul 7: Kings Police and Fire Services Medal instituted.
1910Increase in Metropolitan Police strength 17,000.
Police Weekly Rest Day Act.
Port of London Authority Police formed.
Fast motor boats introduced for use by River Police.
Death of King Edward VII. Accession by George V.
The miners strike in South Wales results in many Metropolitan Police officers assisting to maintain law and order.
Uniform: Kepi worn by Superintendents and Inspectors since 1864 replaced by caps.
Jul 29/30: Telegraph messages sent to S.S. Montrose on which Dr Crippen and Ethel le Neve were sailing to New York. Wireless telegraphy having been used for the first time to apprehend a criminal.
Nov 23: Dr. Hawley Harvey CRIPPEN executed.
Dec 16: Houndsditch murders - City of London PS Robert BENTLEY, PS Charles TUCKER and PC Walter CHOAT murdered, leading to the Sidney Street Siege.
1911Suffragettes.
Railway Strike.
Strike in South Wales.
Uniform: Tudor Crown Buttons.
Jan 1: Murder of Leon BERON.
Jan 2: Siege of Sidney Street, Stepney. Armed Metropolitan Police took to the streets with the military to deal with armed anarchist criminals.
Jun 22: Coronation of George V.
Oct: Last London General Omnibus Company horse-bus ran between Moorgate and London Bridge Station.
Dec 4: SEDDON Case.
1912Metropolitan Police Act.
Metropolitan Police qualifications: Over 20 and under 27 years of age, 5’ 9”, no more than two dependant children.
Several De Dion Bouton vans added to vehicle fleet.
Southern Extension to New Scotland Yard added. Buildings known as North and South.
Committee recommended Central Traffic authority.
Establishment of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary on a permanent basis.
Rifling marks on revolver barrels demonstrated by Robert Churchill and police photographer William Mc Bride in the trial of John William for the murder of Inspector Arthur Walls in Eastbourne.
Fosdick’s ‘European Police Systems’ published.
Apr 15: Sinking of the ‘Titanic’.
Jul: Central London tube railway extended from Bank to Liverpool Street.
Nov 27: Attempted assassination of Commissioner Sir Edward HENRY.
1913Sir Basil THOMSON appointed Assistant Commissioner.
Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for ill-health) Act.
The Commissioner called for legislation to be introduced to restrict the trade in pistols following the assassination attempt on his own life.
Nina Boyle and Edith Watson - journalists and members of the 'Women' Freedom League' a feminist suffragette movement, started first moves towards what became the Women Police.
Apr 1: Weekly rest day came into full operation.
Jun 4: Emily Wilding DAVISON killed by King’s Horse at the Derby race.
Sep: The terms ‘Convict Supervision Office’, ‘Habitual Criminal Register’ or ‘Fingerprint Department’ are to be replaced by ‘Criminal Record Office’ of which the Fingerprint Branch will be a section (Police Order 20 September 1913).
Dec 15: Reserve Police discontinued. (Police Order 17 December 1913).
1914Police starting pay 30 shillings per week (same as postmen).
Special Constables Act. Special Constables may be appointed at any time.
Sir Edward WARD appointed Chief Commandant of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary (until 1925).
Police Constable (Naval and Military Service Act.
Police Reservists (Allowances) Act.
With the outbreak of World War 1 (4 August), 24,000 Special Constables were sworn in and by the end of the year there were 31,000. Annual leave was suspended for the first year of the war.
Nina Boyle advertised in 'The Vote' for women to offer themselves as 'Specials' , when Sir Edward Ward called on the nation for special constables. She also called for recruits to work part time as 'Women Volunteer Police' WVP.
Sir Edward declared only men were suitable, Nina Boyle ignored him and carried on recruiting.
Meanwhile Miss Margaret Damer Dawson, a suffragette - was 'Head of Transport' of a committee formed by Chelsea people, who greeted and helped Belgian refugees escaping from the Germans, she had been involved in an incident whereby a couple of the refugees had been 'spirited' away by 'white slavers', she needed a group of women in uniform - women police in fact. She commenced recruiting 'women police' in September 1914. When she learnt of Nina Boyle's plans, they decided to join forces and Nina became her deputy. They became the ' Women Police Volunteers' WPV.
Metropolitan Police (Employment in Scotland) Act.
First International Police Congress in Monaco.
P.S.V.s (Public Service Vehicles) - 3,000 motor buses, 3,000 electric trams - less than 100 horse trams left, 7,000 motor cabs, 1,300 4 - wheeled Clarence and Growlers, 200 Hansoms.
Defence of the Realm Act.
Aug 8: War declared on Germany.
Aug: Met assumes responsibility for Rosyth Dockyard in Scotland.
1915DC Alfred YOUNG, (Wt No 88266) Special Branch, shot dead while attempting to execute an arrest warrant at Hampstead.
Women typists, shorthand typists and clerks employed by the Metropolitan Police.
Feb: Margaret Damer Dawson and Nina Boyle argued over the WPV being used to police a curfew enforced against women. A vote was taken, Boyle was defeated. Damer Dawson decided to drop the name 'Women Police Volunteers' and reformed the group as the 'Women Police Service' WPS. Later they became the Women’s Auxiliary Service.
Meanwhile another group who wanted to protect women and young girls from white slavery and restrain their behaviour in and around military camps called for 'women police. 'Voluntary Women Patrols' VWP The main organisation was the 'National Union of Women Workers' - a less militant group, their President Mrs Creighton, was the widow of the bishop of London. They later changed their name to the 'National Council of Women' who then organised the 'Special Patrols'.
Mrs Edith Smith of WPS took over the women police in the area of Grantham. The Chief Constable, with the permission of the Town Council and Watch Committee had her sworn in and given power of arrest. The first official policewoman in the British Isles.
The London Ambulance Service began operation, taking over some of the duties originally performed by the Metropolitan Police. However, police in this year conveyed over 11,000 people to hospital.
Jan: Ten persons killed and 500 injured at Ilford station when local Gidea Park to Liverpool Street train was struck by Clacton to Liverpool Street express.
Apr: New Shooters Hill Police Station opened replacing earlier Victorian building (c 1858).
May: First Zeppelin raids over London.
Aug 13: George Joseph SMITH executed (Brides in the bath murders).
Nov: Women ‘Clippies’ employed on London buses as conductors.
1916Aliens registration by police. Creation of Aliens Registration Office.
Women patrols from National Union of Women Workers and Women’s Auxiliary Service.
Police, Factories (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.
Rosyth added to Dockyard Division.
Feb: Barnet Police Station opened.
Royal Star and Garter Home opened at Richmond.
Mar: Edmonton Police Station opened.
May: William Willets Daylight Saving Bill Became Law - clocks go forward for the first time.
Aug 3: Sir Roger CASEMENT executed at Pentonville for treason.
Aug: Hornsey Police Station opened.
Sep: PC 147 ‘F’ Harold RICKETTS drowned at Teignmouth whilst rescuing a drowning boy.
Nov: The Commissioner, Sir Edward HENRY, signed a Police Order stating that any member of the Metropolitan Police rendered himself liable to dismissal by joining a union.
1917During this year, 2,300 members of the Metropolitan Police were serving in the armed forces.
Jan 19: 82 killed in Silvertown munitions factory explosion, including Pc 389K George Greenoff.
Mar: Dartmoor Prison closed down by order of War Office.
Mrs Sofia Stanley was appointed Supervisor of 'Special Patrols'
There were 37 Special Patrols in London at this time, working two nights a week.
By the end of 1917 London had 55 full time Special Patrols.
Confusion and conflict in the different approaches arose between the women police groups - the WPS being more militant.
Mar: New London Postal District numbers introduced for the first time.
Apr 24: Old Bailey Sessions opened without usual ceremony in summoning Grand Jury.
1918Metropolitan Police pay increased by 13 shillings to 53 shillings per week.
Sir John Fitzgerald MOYLAN appointed Receiver.
Superintendents OLIVE and BILLINGS promoted to Chief Constables in charge of Districts.
Metropolitan Police Act.
Representation of the People Act - gave votes for women over age of 30.
Aug: Police strike - 6,203 men.
Portland Town renamed St Johns Wood
Sep: Commissioner, Sir Edward HENRY resigned as result of police strike. Succeeded by General Sir Nevil MACREADY.
Sep 2: Police Pensions Act. Pensions granted to policemen’s widows.
Oct: Mobile Squad of 12 Detective officers created (later, in 1920, to be known as the ‘Flying Squad’).
Daily Mail reported that an officially recognised force of women were to be appointed under the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (3 October).
Nov 11: Armistice Day.
Dec 23: Police Orders sets out the qualifications and conditions for the new 'Metropolitan Police Women Patrols'. The Monday after Christmas the first group of women began training at Beak Street Section House.
1919‘The Big Four’ - Superintendents in charge of C.I.D. - Albert HAWKINS, Arthur Neil, Francis CARLIN and Frederick WENSLEY.
Police Act - Standardisation of pay and conditions.
Desborough Committee on Police Conditions of Service.
PC Thomas Eldred Briggs ROWLAND, died from a fractured skull after being assaulted while attempting an arrest in Walworth.
Metropolitan Police Office divided into departments and branches. Commissioner’s Office - ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ , ‘D’ and ‘S’ (see ‘From Quills to Computers’ by Norman Fairfax).
Ministry of Transport created under Eric Campbell Geddes.
London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee created.
Feb 17: Women Police established in London when the first Metropolitan Police Women Patrols came into service. Establishment 110. Strength 110. The first batch were recruited from the ' Special Patrols', although many in the second batch were from the WPS. Mrs Sofia Stanley, Superintendent in charge. Assisted by Mrs Elinor Robinson. The first three sergeants made immediately - were Grace Russell, Patty Alliot and Lilian Wyles. London was divided into three and each was given a section. They had a contract for a year, as an experiment.
Traffic Branch created. Responsible for traffic matters - aerial, vehicular or pedestrian.
NARPO formed, the National Association of Retired Police Officers.
Metropolitan Police Athletic Association formed.
Rank of Deputy Commissioner and Deputy Assistant Commissioner introduced.
Eight-hour tour of duty introduced, replacing the two tours of four hours each.
Feb 15: Rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner introduced, with the appointment of Lt Col Percy Robert LAURIE.
Jun 17: SPS 87 ‘V’ DivisionThomas GREEN (Wt No 80417), struck on the head and killed by a mob of Canadian soldiers attempting to free Canadian soldier prisoner in the Epsom Police Station siege.
Jul: Police strike - 1,089 men involved.
Oct 1: Police Federation formed, representing Constables, Sergeants and Inspectors.
Nov 11: Silver identification token issued to senior officers (Police Order 11 November 1919).
1920Imber Court Mounted Training Establishment and Sports Club opened.
Mobile Detective Squad to be known as the Flying Squad formed. First cars purchased in September - two ex RFC Crossley tenders. Det Insp Hambrook in charge.
Electric Lantern superseded the old ‘Bullseye’ (oil).
PC 412 ‘T’ Division James KELLY (Wt No 101800) shot three times and killed while pursuing a burglar he had disturbed at Acton.
Dangerous Drugs Act passed to counteract rising problem of drug trafficking.
Firearms Act.
First motor cycles - Douglas 2.75 solo.
Apr: Commissioner, General, Sir Nevil MACREADY left to rejoin the army.
Apr 20: Brigadier General Sir William HORWOOD appointed Commissioner.
Nov 9: Motor vans started to replace horse-drawn prison vehicles in the Metropolitan Police District.
Nov 11: Cenotaph unveiled by King George V.
1921Temporary Police Box erected in Trafalgar Square.
British left Eire.
Police Pensions Act.
R 38 Zeppelin crashed.
The Police Pensions Act came into force, fixing an age limit for each rank at which retirement would be compulsory.
Feb 28: ‘Z’ Division (Croydon) established with Headquarters at Fell Road Police Station.
Uniform: Station Sergeant’s four-bar chevron replaced by three-bar chevron and small Tudor crown.
Nov 30: Sir Basil THOMSON (Assistant Commissioner) resigned. Sir Wyndham CHILDS appointed.
1922County Hall opened.
Jun 29: The Geddes Axe - Women Police Establishment cut by Parliament from 112 to 20. Mr. Shortt M.P. said in the House of Commons that Policemen’s wives could do Women Police Work. Lady Astor retorted Police did not choose their wives for patrolling streets or escorting prisoners.
Wireless communication with patrol cars, giving contact with Scotland Yard
Commissioner HORWOOD admitted that many of the men taken into the force in 1919 to replace strikers and those in the armed forces had given trouble due to neglecting their beats and drunkenness.
The Commissioner also commented on the growth in consumption of methylated spirits, with 80 convictions during the year.
Lloyd George’s Coalition government ended.
Aug: Public Carriage Office licence the first independent omnibus in London. Known as the ‘Chocolate Express’ it ran on Route 11.
Nov 14: Broadcasting from ‘2LO’ commenced.
Dec 1: Sir James OLIVE appointed Deputy Commissioner.
1923Second International Criminal Police Congress, in Vienna, creating an International Police Commission with HQ in Vienna.
First Wembley Football Cup Final led to major crowd problems. PC George SCOREY (Wt No 107832) on white horse, ‘Billy’, averted a disaster when crowd over-ran the pitch.
Special Constables Act.
Women first attested and given power of arrest. They were to be sworn in as ‘constables’ Establishment increased to 50.
Metropolitan Police Rugby Football Club formed.
Jan 9: Frederick BYWATERS and Edith THOMPSON hanged for murder of her husband, Percy
1924British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. Temporary police station opened at the South Institute, Wembley.
London Traffic Act - London Traffic Area - London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee. Roundabouts and Parking plans. Co-ordination of closing streets for repair.
General election - First Labour Government.
Report by Sub-Committee of Police Council on Police Rent Allowance.
Report by Committee on Standard Conditions of Service for Police (Chairman, Lord DESBOROUGH).
The Commissioner explained in his Annual Report how the social status of a Metropolitan Police Officer had been raised due to his conditions of employment.
First motor-cycle combinations - Triumph and Chater Lea.
In Egypt, Sydney Smith identifies a gun which fired a bullet because of a unique marking on the gun's barrel.
1925Criminal Justice Act.
Report by the Sub Committee of Police Council on Standard Conditions of Service for Police.
Report by the Sub Committee of Police Council on Pay of constables in initial years of service.
Report by Committee on Temporary Deductions from Police Pay and allowances and rateable deductions for pensions.
The Metropolitan Police begin to withdraw from policing dockyards (including Rosyth, Pembroke and Deptford Dockyards) and War Department stations.
Assistant Commissioner Sir James OLIVE retired after 53 years service.
Nine Elms Police Station opened.
Jan: Sir Walter ALLEN appointed Chief Commandant of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary (until 1943).
Aug 6: Report of Enquiry on arrest of Major R. O. SHEPPARD.
1926Police Pensions Act - deductions increased from 2.5% - 5%.
Traffic Superintendent, A. E. BASSOM died.
Attempt to assassinate Commissioner HORWOOD with poisoned chocolates.
Mar: Norwood Police Station renamed Gipsy Hill.
May: General Strike.
Emergency Powers Act.
Enrollment of many Special Constables.
Transport volunteers.
‘Times’ fund for the police.
Sep: Northern Line ‘Tube’ extended from Clapham Common to Morden.
LCC Tramways reach Downham Estate, Catford.
Dec: Woolwich Dockyard Division disbanded.
Abbey Wood Police Station closed.
Dec 20: Lost Property Office transferred to Lambeth.
1927Goodwood Racecourse bribery case.
Police Appeals Act - right of appeal to Home Secretary.
Liverpool Police Bribery Case.
Jan: PC DAINTY shot by Edgar SMITH at Newark.
Jan 31: Public Carriage Office transferred to Lambeth.
May: Raid on Arcos Ltd (Communist).
Sep 27: PC 218 GUTTERIDGE murdered at Stapleford Abbotts by BROWNE and KENNEDY. Use of comparison microscope and first occasion in Britain where a bullet was traced to a particular firearm.
Nov: South End Village police station replaces Catford Hill.
Oscar SLATER pardoned and released (Imprisoned since 1909).
1928PS GODDARD bribery case.
Royal Commission on Police Powers and Procedure (Chairman Lord LEE).
Hand ambulances withdrawn.
Policy of cautioning in motoring offences instituted.
Norman KENDALL appointed Assistant Commissioner.
Women over 21, rather than 30 given the vote, making the system equal with men.
Jan 7: Thames Flooded.
May: Miss SAVIDGE case - enquiry into interrogation by the Metropolitan Police.
Nov: Committee on Street Offences (Chairman MacMILLAN).
Nov 6: Commissioner, Sir William HORWOOD retired (ill-health) Succeeded by Lord BYNG of VIMY.
1929Report by the Royal Commission on Police Powers and Procedure.
Large number of men posted to Motor Patrol work: 4 Sub-Divisional Inspectors, 31 Sergeants and 324 Constables.
Apr: Metropolitan Police withdrawn from Sheerness Dockyard.
May 27: Centenary of the Metropolitan Police celebrated with a parade in Hyde Park and inspection by the Prince of Wales. The Women Police strength was 47 uniform and 2 CID.
The Home Secretary authorised 100 women police posts, a strength not achieved until 1938.
Jun: Imber Court Sports Ground opened by Prince of Wales.
Aug: PC 286 ‘S’ Division John Arthur SELF (Wt No 95455) violently struck to the ground by man (Harry HOLMAN) he was questioning in Golders Green.
Nov 29: The Police Box system commenced on an experimental basis in Richmond and Wood Green. (Police Order 29 November 1929).
1930Information 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.
1931Economy 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.
1932Report 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.
1933Ranks 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 is 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.
FITZPATRICK Case.
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,)
1934Metropolitan 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.
COPE MORGAN Case.
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.
1935Jubilee 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.
1936Emergency 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.
1937Firearms 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.
1938Report 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.
1939New 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.
1940Lionel 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).
1941Report 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.
1942Sir 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 punishment.
1943In 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.
1944Arbour 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.
1945Commissioner, Sir Philip GAME retired. Succeeded by Sir Harold SCOTT.
Report by Sub Committee of Police Council on Income Tax on Rent Allowance.
Sir Frederick Charles JOHNSON appointed Receiver.
Ghost Squad set up to deal with black marketeers at end of WWII.
Mar 7: V1 (Doodle Bug) fell on Waltham Holy Cross, Herts.
Mar 8: Karl Gustav HULTEN executed for ‘cleft chin’ murder.
Mar 27: 1,050th and last rocket (‘V2’) fell at Orpington.
Mar 28: Last siren warning in London.
Mar 29: Last siren warning in England at Colchester.
Last flying bomb (‘V1’) fell at Iwade, Kent.
May 5: Germany surrendered.
During 1939-45 war, Metropolitan Police losses were - 207 policemen and 1 policewoman killed in air raids. 491 policemen killed in armed forces.
May 8: ‘VE’ Day (Victory in Europe).
Jul 25: General Election - Labour returned.
Aug 6: Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Aug 9: Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
Aug 14: Japan surrendered.
Aug 15: ‘VJ’ Day (Victory over Japan).
Nov 18: End of Belsen trial.
Nov 20: Nuremberg trial commenced.
Dec 10: New Waterloo Bridge formally opened.