Constables lost, cars gained: the first impact on the police

The Standing Joint Committee of Berkshire County Council and the Court of Quarter Sessions, which was responsible for the county police force (the Berkshire Constabulary), held a special meeting on 15 August 1914 to hear the report of the Chief Constable on the initial impact of the war on his force:

A special report by the Chief Constable was presented and … resolutions were passed as set out below:-

1. Police Army Reservists called on to rejoin the Army on mobilization:- I have the honour to report that, on the outbreak of war between this country and Germany, the following Army Reservists serving as Constables in this Force were called on to rejoin the Army on mobilization:

PC 58 Frank Brown Married
PC 101 Charles H. Goodchild Married
PC 103 Samuel Theobald Married
PC 105 Jesse J. Siney Married
PC 36 George Eales Single
PC 163 Philip Hubbard Single
PC 214 Harry Easton Single
PC 216 Ernest E. Sparkes Single

One other Army Reservist, PC 51, James H. Wood, who is the Drill Corporal to the Force, was, on my recommendation, allowed to remain for duty with the Force instead of being called up for duty.

I would recommend that, pending any order of the Secretary of State, the wives and children of the Constables so called up should be given an allowance calculated at half the pay they were receiving on being called up for Army Service.

So far as I now know the four single Constables have no one dependent on them, and, therefore, I do not recommend any allowance in their case, but I ask the committee to allow me to use my discretion in the matter.

I would also ask your authority to allow the wives of the four Army Reservists to remain in the houses now rented by the County so long as I consider it desirable, on payment of amounts equal to half the deductions for house rent.

Adopted.

(a) Increase of Force, and calling up of Police Reserves.

I beg to report that on the declaration of war, owing to the very heavy duties and responsibilities imposed on the Police, I considered it necessary to increase the Force and to call up a portion of the First Police Reservists. Three recruits joined the Force on the 12th August, 1914, and I called up for duty on the 5th August and subsequent dates the following First Police Reservists:
1 Inspector
11 Sergeants
10 Constables, Class A
11 Constables, Class B
Total 33

(b) In addition to these I have appointed 10 First Police Reservists. These include 8 chauffeurs to drive motor cars which owners have very considerately lent to the Police, and the cars and chauffeurs are accommodated in the Police Stations. It will be necessary to appoint others as available…

(c) It has been necessary to put up temporary sheds in several of the Police Stations for motor cars now in use and for the storage of petrol and benzol, and the possible accommodation of further motor cars which might in an emergency be required for the movement of the Police…

I would also ask authority for the payment for the purchase of petrol and benzol which I have considered advisable to purchase and store. Also for the payments for the upkeep of the motor cars lent for the use of the Police, to include all running expenses, upkeep of tyres, and repairs, as necessary.

At present this arrangement has only been made for seven Divisions, but I hope to have the same arrangement for the other remaining Divisions as soon as possible, should motor cars from owners be available.

As a further precautionary measure, I am arranging as far as possible for twelve motor cars to be available for each Police Division in case of emergency, and these will remain in the owners’ hands, and be only used if required.

Authorised.

(c) I would further ask your authority for the provision of such clothing and accoutrements as may be necessary for the use of the First Police Reservists, and an allowance for those acting as chauffeurs not exceeding £3 per annum each. Several of the First Police Reservists have been fitted up with the clothing previously stored for this purpose, but others require clothing and accoutrements which I have ordered.

Authorised.

(d) There are 17 First Police Reservists still available to be called up if required, and I would ask your authority to call them up should circumstances render it necessary.
Authorised.

The Chief Constable was requested to express the thanks of the Committee to the lenders of cars for their patriotic action….

[The County Surveyor’s report revealed that the temporary buildings for the cars were at Abingdon, Faringdon, Maidenhead, Newbury, Wallingford, Wantage, Windsor (Clewer) and Wokingham police stations, and the headquarters at Reading. Fire extinguishers were also supplied.]

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

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