Research and text by Robert Bartlett
THE POLICE FORCES OF SURREY
During World War I four police forces operated within Surrey: the Metropolitan Police, the Surrey County Constabulary, Guildford Borough Constabulary and Reigate Borough Constabulary.
The Metropolitan Police (created in 1829) operated in those parts of the county within 15 miles of Charing Cross in London (for a map showing the extent of the Metropolitan Police District see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Police_District).
The Surrey Constabulary was formed on 1 January 1851 to cover the remainder of the county. It absorbed the existing small borough and town forces of Guildford and Godalming (both formed 1836) and Dorking (formed 1838). The force’s name was officially changed on 1 January 1993 to Surrey Police.
A separate Guildford Borough Constabulary was re-established in October 1854 and continued in existence until 1 February 1943 when it was again absorbed into the Surrey Joint Police Force. The Godalming Borough Constabulary was also re-established in 1858 but was taken back into the county force on 1 April 1889.
Reigate Borough Constabulary was formed on 25 March 1864. It was finally abolished on 1 March 1943 when it became part of the Surrey Joint Police Force.
Special Constables were created during World War I to support the Surrey forces. During the war Surrey had over 2000 Specials. The Special Constables Act of 1923 created a permanent reserve force. 1926 saw the issue of the first complete uniform, Surrey taking the lead in the country.
To read more about the Surrey Constabulary during the First World War click here.