Hertfordshire Constabulary

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Hertfordshire Constabulary
Logo of the Hertfordshire Constabulary
Motto Creating A Safer Hertfordshire[1]
Agency overview
Formed 1841
Preceding agencies
Employees 3,990[2]
Volunteers 266[2]
Annual budget £171.4 million[2]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Police area of Hertfordshire in the country of England, UK
England Police Forces (Hertfordshire).svg
Map of police area
Population 1.5 million
Legal jurisdiction England & Wales
Constituting instrument Police Act 1996
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Welwyn Garden City
Constables 1,953 (of which 410 are special constables)[3]
Police Community Support Officers 246[2]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible David Lloyd
Agency executive Andy Bliss, Chief Constable
Stations 21
* Police area agency: Prescribed geographic area in the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for policing the county of Hertfordshire in England. Its headquarters is in Welwyn Garden City. Since June 2011 the force has been headed by Chief Constable Andy Bliss.[4] Its manpower consists of over 3,900 police officers and staff, supported by more than 410 special constables.


The Constabulary was founded in 1841, under the County Police Act, five years after the Hertford Borough Police and St Albans Borough Police had been formed. In 1889, the Hertford Borough Police force was merged into Hertfordshire.

The first Constables were working class men and were paid at the level of an agricultural labourer. In Victorian times, officers were entitled to only one rest day in every four to six weeks and were entitled to only one week's unpaid annual leave a year. A ten-hour working day was the norm and no meal breaks were allowed. There were strict contraints on an officer's private life too. For example, officers reportedly could not leave their homes without permission and could only go out with their wives so long as they were not absent for more than two hours and someone was home to take messages.[5]

St Albans Constabulary remained independent until 1947, then being absorbed into the Hertfordshire Constabulary. Finally, it was in 2000 that the current force boundaries came into place with the addition of Hertsmere and Broxbourne transferred from the Metropolitan Police.

In 2006 proposals were made by Charles Clarke, the then Home Secretary, that would see the force merge with neighbour forces Bedfordshire Police and Essex Police to form a new strategic police force.[6] However, in July 2006, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair signalled that police force mergers would not be forced through by the central government.[7] However, with the economic recession beginning in 2008 the force began working on collaboration with neighbouring forces. First joining with Bedfordshire Police and then Cambridgeshire Constabulary in a Strategic Alliance, the three forces formed joint units in Counter Terrorism, Major Crime, Dogs, Firearms, SOCO, Roads Policing, Operation Planning, Civil Contingencies, ICT and Professional Standards. Working collaboratively in this way protected local policing by local officers, but enabled specialist units to work across, and be paid for by, all three forces.

Further collaborative work is underway with call handling, control and dispatch, human resources and some 'back-office' functions being examined for merging.[8] For the foreseeable future, the Constabularly looks likely to remain an independent force. Ultimately, the decision for any full merger of the three forces will be in the hands of the Police and Crime Commissioners, and thereby in turn, the public themselves.

Organisation and structure

Local Policing

Local policing is overseen by the Local Policing Command, headed by a Chief Superintendent. The county is sub-divided into 10 Community Safety Partnerships, which broadly correspond to the local Borough and Council areas. The 10 CSPs, each headed by a Chief Inspector are: Watford, Three Rivers, Dacorum, Welwyn and Hatfield, St Albans, Hertsmere, East Herts, Broxbourne, Stevenage and North Herts.

A Hertfordshire police van

Each CSP has:

  • 5x Intervention and Response Teams: Each team is headed by a Sergeant and aligned to a shift pattern, there is always at least one team on duty at any time during the year. Intervention teams respond to 999 and non emergency calls and perform general patrol duties.
  • Safer Neighbourhood Teams: Combined teams of PCs and PCSOs covering local and quality of life issues. Each Ward/Neighbourhood has at least one PC and PCSO to maintain an up to date knowledge of local issues and to address them. Each town is headed by a Sergeant, with an Inspector supervising on a CSP level.
  • Local Crime Unit: Team of Detectives with a remit covering burglaries to assaults.

Specialist Units

Local Policing is supplemented by an array of specialist units, some of which are collaborated with Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. These include:

  • Armed Policing Unit: Collaborated unit working across the three counties providing Armed Response Vehicles, crewed with Authorised Firearms Officers to assist in the response to potentially dangerous incidents such as those involving firearms and knives. The unit also provides a Specialist Firearms Officer capability for hostage rescue and close protection.
  • Dog Unit: Collaborated unit providing a 24/7 Police dog service for tracking, searching and public order duties. The unit also provides pre-planned capabilities for explosive and drugs search.
  • Road Policing Unit: Collaborated unit, primarily patrol and respond to serious incidents on the motorway and other road networks. Other duties include responsibilities for taking over pursuits, traffic management and road death investigation.
  • Major Crime Unit: Collaborated unit, responsible for the investigation of murder, stranger rape and kidnap, amongst others.

Operational Support

  • Force Communications Room: Responsible for taking emergency and non-emergency calls and recording crime through Call Handling and the deployment and management of resources through Despatch and Control. The FCR receives an average of 3,000 calls and deals with over 1,000 incidents every day.

Notable incidents and investigations

Notable major incidents and investigations in which Hertfordshire Constabulary have directed or been involved include:

  • October 2000: Hatfield rail crash: A railway accident that caused 4 deaths and over 70 injuries. The accident exposed major stewardship shortcomings and regulatory oversight failings of Railtrack and ultimately triggered its partial re-nationalisation.
  • May 2002: Potters Bar Railway Crash: A railway accident that occurred when a train derailed at high speed, killing 7 and injuring 76. Part of the train ended up wedged between the station platforms and building structures.
  • December 2005: The Buncefield fire: A major fire caused by a series of explosions at the Buncefield oil storage facility causing 45 injuries. It was the largest peace-time explosion since the Second World War and the plume of smoke could be seen from space.
  • March 2009: Murder of Jeffrey Howe: Also known as the Jigsaw Murder.
  • May 2012: Rothamsted Research protests:Approximately 200 protesters attempted to occupy an agricultural research centre that was conducting tests on genetically modified wheat.
  • July–August 2012: 2012 Summer Olympics: The Lee Valley White Water Centre, in Waltham Cross hosted the canoe slalom events of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hertfordshire Constabularly deployed significant resources in support of the security of the White Water Centre, and supplied officers on mutual aid to the locations in London.
  • June 2013: Bilderberg meeting: Hertfordshire Constabulary deployed large numbers of resources, including officers from other forces on mutual aid, in an operation around the Bilderberg Group meeting at The Grove Hotel, Watford.

Officers killed in the line of duty

The Police Memorial Trust lists and commemorates all British police officers killed in the line of duty and erects memorials to some of those officers. Since 1950, the following officers of Hertfordshire Constabulary are listed by the Trust as having been killed in the line of duty:[9]

Rank Name Age Year of death Circumstances
PC Frank Edwin HULME 31 1958 Collapsed and died after a violent arrest.
PC Arthur William BURCH 38 1960 Killed when the patrol car he was in collided with a tanker, whilst engaged in the pursuit of a speeding car. Killed alongside PC Silcock.
PC Anthony Richard SILCOCK 25 1960 Killed when the patrol car he was in collided with a tanker, whilst engaged in the pursuit of a speeding car. Killed alongside PC Burch.
WPC Mandy Dawn RAYNER 18 1982 Fatally injured when her stationary vehicle was rammed during a police pursuit.
PC Francis John MASON QGM 27 1988 Shot dead when, despite being off duty, he intervened in an armed robbery. Posthumously awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.
WPC Jacqueline Ann BROWN 23 1989 Fatally injured in a patrol car crash during a prisoner escort at Harpenden.
PC Ronald Raymond HULL 35 1989 Killed assisting at an accident in thick fog when struck by a speeding car.
PC Kevin John CHURCH 46 2005 Killed in a motorcycle accident while on a plain clothes policing operation.

See also


  1. http://www.herts.police.uk/about/about.htm
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/performance-and-measurement/performance-assessment/assessments-2007-2008/hertfordshire
  3. "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2013". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Andy Bliss". Retrieved 18 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "175 Years of Policing in Hertfordshire". Hertfordshire Constabulary. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Police forces 'to be cut to 24'". BBC News. 2006-03-20. Retrieved 2009-08-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Blair accused of wasting police time on mergers", Daily Telegraph, 13 July 2006.
  8. "Commissioner welcomes plan to share resources with Beds and Cambs". Hertfordshire Commissioner. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Police Roll of Honour Trust. "Police Roll of Honour Trust". policememorial.org.uk.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links