Tuesday 27 September 2016

NSW Police History Pt 2

Here we are at part two of my history of New South Wales Police Force we start at 1894 when as a result of the Bridge Street Affray saw a number of the Police in Sydney were injured while attempting to arrest a group of safe-breakers, subsequently saw Parliament pass legislation allowing members of the New South Wales Police Force to carry firearms and they have carried them ever since.

The following year the Police Band was formed and it continues to perform and entertain throughout the state just thought I would throw that in here. It will be 1933 when the Police Choir will be formed.

Let us move forward a bit to 1903 which saw the Fingerprint Section being formed, it became the Central Fingerprint Bureau of Australia in 1941 maintaining a nationwide manual collection of fingerprints and criminal records right up till 1986 when it reverted to a state-based role. It now forms part of the Forensic Services Group.

1906 saw the Police Headquarters relocate to the corner of Phillip and Hunter Streets in Sydney and the Police Depot was relocated from the inner city to Redfern in 1907 and the Mounted Police have been located there ever since. Between 1953-1984 it was the main centre for education and training in its role as the first Police Training Centre and later the Police Academy.

1911 was the year, the first Police Prosecutors were appointed to the Force and appeared in the courts

The first motor vehicle was bought by the NSW Police Force in 1912 it was a Sunbeam roadster and was for the exclusive use of the Inspector General the following year a Douglas motorcycle was bought and commenced special traffic duties and in 1915 a Renault was modified for use as a motorised patrol van.

1915 was also the year that Lillian Armfield and Maude Rhodes were appointed as Special Constables and became the first women in the NSW Police Force, they were not allowed to wear a uniform or to carry firearms though. It would be 1948 before women were allowed to wear a uniform and not till 1965 before they were sworn in as Constables like male offices and not till 1979 before they were routinely allowed to carry firearms.
Members of the Force who volunteered to serve in the Great War were commemorated on the Honour Roll at the Sydney Police Centre and on the Wall of Remembrance at the Police Chapel in Goulburn. The war saw the first major change to the uniform with the military style cap replacing the kepi the military style cap is still in use today.

In 1924 the use of wireless with morse code was introduced as the means of communication in a number of the police vehicles the main wireless station in Sydney became known by the call sign VKG in 1927 and by 1928 all police stations were linked to the telephone network.
1925 saw the Public Safety Bureau being formed within the Traffic Branch, this later became the Highway Patrol and had the responsibility for all traffic law enforcement.
Between 1927 and 1929 saw the so called Razor Gang Wars rage in Sydney with criminals using the straight (cut throat) razor as their weapon of choice. It was in 1929 that the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) was formed from the existing Detective Branch, today it is known as the State Crime Command.
In 1933 the first Police Cadets commenced training and were sworn in as Police Officers three years later in 1936 the system of Police Cadets continued until 1980.

In 1933 the Police Association funded the original Honour Roll for Police Officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, it was installed at Police Headquarters.
The first Police Citizens Boys Club was established at Woolloomooloo in 1937, this later became known as the Police and Community Youth Clubs (PCYC) and continues to this day, it was also in 1937 that radio started to replace morse code as the main form of communication.
In 1938, the NSW Police RSL sub-branch was formed to cater for returned servicemen from the Great War and of course the following year saw the Second World War and policing declared a reserved occupation as a result not many serving police officers were released for military duties. Those who did serve were commemorated on the Honour Rolls at the Sydney Police Centre and on the Wall of Remembrance at the Police Chapel in Goulburn. The threat of invasion from the Japanese saw the police undertake many internal security roles in the community and trained with rifles and bayonets.

The Police Cliff Rescue Squad was formed in 1942 it is now known as the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit it has a permanent base at Zetland and a number of part time units around the state including in the Hunter region where I live, I often see the Police Rescue truck around these parts.
That will do it for part two today more will follower next week, don't want the post to be too long and boring.


  1. All this fascinating history. You should write a book.

  2. You do have a talent for history- and find things most historians would gloss over.

    1. Thank you, I see things on telly that take my interest and I turn the topic into blog posts

  3. I love the bits and pieces you show us so we know the "behind the scenes" history.


  4. Interesting history. Great photos especially the one showing the first motor vehicle.

    1. Thanks I had no idea the police rescue has been around so long

  5. Very interesting, Jo-Anne. Love the pictures that give us visuals of what you are telling us about.


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