An unduly large number of young men of enlisting age in the police

Deputy Chief Constable Colonel Ricardo had been checking to see how the practice of calling up Reservists to the police was working out. He was generally pleased but thought some young men were using police work as an excuse for not joining the army.

BERKS POLICE SPECIAL RESERVE
INSPECTION BY COLONEL F. C. RICARDO, CVO
Maidenhead Police Station

28th June 1915
To the Chief Constable of Berkshire
Sir,

As Chief Organising Officer and Commandant of the Berkshire Police Special Reserve, I was naturally very anxious to ascertain by personal inspection the results of the organization which, in accordance with your request, I initiated in September last.
I therefore, with your sanction and approval, consulted the Divisional Officers as to the feasibility of holding Divisional Inspections during the months of May and June. I was much gratified with the interest shown in the suggestion, and am pleased to be able now to report that I have concluded my inspection of all the eight Divisions.

Admirable arrangements were made for these inspections in each case by Divisional Officers, assisted by the Superintendents of the several Police Divisions to whom much credit and thanks are due.

The result of the inspections may be looked upon as very satisfactory and the attendance parade highly praiseworthy, taking into consideration the inconvenience and difficulties which must have been experienced by a great many members of the Force, and the sacrifice of leisure which their attendance must have entailed.

Undoubtedly the organization of the Force generally has been attended with good results. As regards numbers, the Force, according to the latest returns rendered, has now a total strength of 3,298, which is numerically a falling off of about 800 from the returns rendered in November 1914, when the force attained its maximum strength of approximately 4,100. The decrease in numbers is due in a great measure to enlistment of members in His Majesty’s Military Forces, so cannot be looked upon otherwise than as advantageous, at all events from a National point of view.
Drill has been well carried out and the instruction imparted most creditable to the Drill Instructors.

I was much struck by the great steadiness in the ranks at inspections, and the physique of the men was quite up to expectations. In this respect I would specially mention the Wantage Division in which an exceptionally fine body of reservists has been enrolled.

I would also like to bring to favourable attention the Maidenhead Division, which I consider is deserving of praise for conspicuous steadiness on parade, and a general state of efficiency which is undoubtedly the product of very careful supervision.

I regret that I had to comment at one or two of my inspection parades upon the unduly large number of young men of enlisting age in the ranks. In most cases the explanations offered for their enrolment were satisfactory, but undoubtedly there have been instances of a want of rigid adherence to the instructions laid down in the Text Book which, with your approval, I compiled for general guidance when I commenced the organization of the Force.

I am glad to be assured that Rifle Drill and Musketry have been practised by a fair proportion of the men and that interest has been taken in the instruction of detachments in First Aid work.
A mounted detachment of 12 men has been formed in the Abingdon Division, and, judging from their appearance, equipments and equitation, I am confident they would be a very valuable addition to the Police Force on [sic] an emergency. I consider special credit is due to this detachment for the trouble and personal expense entailed in rendering themselves so efficient.

Reading Division

The presence of an unduly large number of men of enlisting age in the ranks was noticeable…

Maidenhead Division

It was brought to notice that about 64 men have quitted the Division to enlist in the Army, which is evidence of the fact that a proper sense of duty has been instilled into those members whose enrolment was in the first instance somewhat irregular.

Report of Deputy Chief Constable, in Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

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