For centuries, law enforcement in English towns and parishes was left to local constables and watchmen. In 1829, Robert Peel introduced the Metropolitan Police Act which established the Metropolitan Police in London. The 1835 Municipal Corporations Act provided for the creation of police forces on a local level, but many municipalities were slow to respond. It wasn't until the County and Borough Police Act of 1856 that it became compulsory for municipalities to establish a police force.
This collection includes a wide variety of registers that recorded appointments of regular and special constables, promotions, disciplinary actions, transfers, lists of applicants, injuries sustained in the line of duty, and physical descriptions. In some cases, the records list the marital status, names of spouses, and birth dates and places.
Records are from the following municipalities:
- Bradford (city)
- Halifax (borough)
- Huddersfield (borough)
- Leeds (city)
- Wakefield (city)
- West Riding (county subdivision)