Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
         
Knighton and district
Crime and punishment
 
  Policing the area  
The drawing opposite from PUNCH magazine shows us how the Superintendent Constables
might have looked.

At the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign the area was policed mainly by parish constables. None of these men were paid or had any training.
They had to do their duties as well as their own jobs, so you can imagine that not many people wanted to be a constable. They served for one year without pay, and often were not allowed to finish their duties by the courts unless they managed to find someone else to take over the job.
From the early Victorian period the county employed Superintendent Constables to oversee the parish constables. These were the first paid policemen in Radnorshire, but they still had little or no training. One of these Superintendent Constables was based in Knighton.
They were given money for a uniform but had to provide it themselves, and were required to turn up at the courts to be inspected.

 

In 1856 the government brought in an Act which required every county to set up a proper police force. Following this the Radnorshire Constabulary was set up.
At first PC William Stevens was the only officer stationed in Knighton. (There were three officers at Presteigne !) It wasn't long before this was increased to one sergeant and one constable, both based in Knighton.
The life of the police officers in the new force was quite hard. Police constables were expected to be able to read and write, but some were better at this than others.
They got no holidays, worked seven days a week, were expected to be of the best behaviour, and even had to get permission from the Chief Constable before they were allowed to marry !
When they were off duty they had to go home and stay there until it was time for their next spell of duty. They were given time to work in their gardens, though.
Life was very hard for the Victorian policeman !

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