Northamptonshire Police

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Northamptonshire Police
Common name Northants Police
Abbreviation NPS
Logo of the Northamptonshire Police
Agency overview
Formed 1 April 1966
Preceding agencies
  • Northampton and County Constabulary (1966)
  • Northamptonshire Constabulary (1840)
Employees 2,147
Volunteers Approximately 700 volunteers
Annual budget £121,000,000 (2014)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Police area of Northamptonshire, UK
England Police Forces (Northamptonshire).svg
Map of Northamptonshire Police's jurisdiction.
Size 2,364
Population 710,000
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Constabulary (HMIC)
Headquarters Wootton Hall, Northampton, United Kingdom NN4 0JQ
Police Officers
Unsworn members
Elected officers responsible
Agency executives
  • Mr. Simon Edens, Chief Constable
  • Mr. Andy Frost, Deputy Chief Constable
  • Ms. Rachel Swann, Assistant Chief Constable
  • Mr. Ivan Balhatchet, Assistant Chief Constable
  • Vacant, Assistant Chief Officer
Parent agency Home Office
Divisions 2 (Territorial and Crime and Justice Command)
* Police area agency: Prescribed geographic area in the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Northamptonshire Police (NPS; Welsh: Heddlu Swydd Northampton; colloquially known as Northants Police, and internally as 'the Force') is a territorial police force responsible for policing the county of Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England, in the United Kingdom.

The Force provides municipal police services 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week to 16 town settlements (Brackley, Burton Latimer, Corby, Daventry, Desborough, Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough, Kettering, Northampton, Oundle, Raunds, Rothwell, Rushden, Towcester, Thrapston and Wellingborough) across 914 square miles (2,370 km2) and has a resident population of 710,000. It responds to more than one million phone calls a year, with more than 120,000 of these being 999 or 112 calls requesting immediate police attention.


As a municipal police force within the United Kingdom (legally known as a territorial police force), Northamptonshire Police is responsible for general law and order within the county, including the enforcement of the laws of Parliament, in addition to county and municipal laws.


Prior to the establishment of uniformed police forces in the United Kingdom, each parish had a Parish Constable – a person appointed locally who had responsibility for enforcing the law within their own village. In villages and towns, a system known as Watch and Ward was employed, where paid Watchmen guarded towns at night.

The first police force to be established in the United Kingdom was the City of Glasgow Police, following an Act of Parliament in 1800. Organised policing followed in London with the introduction of the Metropolitan Police Act 1829, in royal boroughs and counties in 1835, and nationally in 1856.

Northamptonshire Police can trace its earliest roots to 1840 when the Northamptonshire Constabulary and Daventry Constabulary were formed. The establishment of police forces at that time was based upon principles established by Sir Robert Peel, the Home Secretary in 1822 and founder of modern day policing in most Westminster-based systems of government. Known as the Peelian Principles, they describe a philosophy that define an ethical police force and include:

  • Every police officer should be issued an identification number, to assure accountability for his actions.
  • Whether the police are effective is not measured on the number of arrests, but on the lack of crime.
  • Above all else, an effective authority figure knows trust and accountability are paramount. Hence, Peel's most often quoted principle that "The police are the public and the public are the police”.

Upon creation, Northamptonshire Constabulary initially started with seven superintendents and 35 police constables, who worked in a primitive shift system and were paid 12 shillings a week.

In 1930, Northamptonshire Constabulary rolled-out their first motorised vehicles for law enforcement use. The inventory included two cars and four motorcycles for police officer use. The vehicles were stationed throughout the county, with one car based in Daventry and the other in Kettering. The motorcycles were stationed in Northampton, Wellingborough, Oundel and Towcester.

The Northamptonshire Constabulary merged with the borough police forces within Northamptonshire on April 1, 1966 to form Northampton and County Constabulary with an estimated 442 officers and actual strength of 387.[2]

The Force was renamed the Northamptonshire Police on 1 January 1975.

Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner

The Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is an elected official charged with securing efficient and effective policing within the County. The position replaces the now abolished police authorities. The PCC is elected for four-year terms. The first incumbents were elected on 15 November 2012.

The current PCC is Mr. Adam Simmonds who was elected to office on 15 November 2012 to a term expiring in May 2016.

The core functions of the PCC is to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force within Northamptonshire, and to hold the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of the police and crime plan. The PCC is also charged with holding the police fund (from which all policing in the County is financed) and raising the local policing precept from council tax. Lastly, the PCC is responsible for the appointment, suspension and dismissal of the Chief Constable.

Police and Crime Plan

Shortly after their election to office, the PCC is required to produce a Police and Crime Plan. The plan must include their objectives for policing, what resources will be provided to the Chief Constable and how performance will be measured. Both the PCC and the Chief Constable must have regard to the Police and Crime Plan in the exercise of their duties. The PCC is required to produce an annual report to the public on progress in policing. The Police and Crime Plan 2014-2017 is Northamptonshire Police’s foundation document.

Police Funding

The PCC is charged with managing the 'police fund', from which all policing is financed. The bulk of funding for the police fund comes from the Home Office in the form of an annual grant (calculated on a proportionate basis by the Home Office to take into account the differences between the 43 forces in England and Wales, which vary significantly in terms of population, geographical size, crime levels and trends), though the PCC has the authority to set a precept on the Council Tax to raise additional funds. The PCC is responsible for setting the budget for the Force, which includes allocating enough money from the overall policing budget to ensure that they can discharge their own functions effectively.


Police officers and staff operate from the Police Headquarters at Wootton Hall and at police stations based in Brackley, Corby, Daventry, Kettering, Oundle, Northampton, Rushden and Wellingborough.

The Force is led by the Chief Constable, and is composed of:

  • The Chief Officers and Force Command Team;
  • Crime and Justice Command;
  • Territorial Policing Command;
  • Force Support Departments;
  • East Midlands Police Collaboration;
  • Multi-Force Shared Services; and,
  • Police Business Services.

Chief Constable

The Chief Constable (sometimes referred to in legislation as the Chief Police Officer) is the most senior constable within Northamptonshire Police and holds command of the Force. They are accountable to the Police and Crime Commissioner of Northamptonshire who appoints them, and who may dismiss them.

The Chief Constable is assisted by a Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) and one or more Assistant Chief Constables (ACC) whom are collectively known as the "Chief Officers" of the force and belong to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

The current Chief Constable is Simon Edens. Chief Edens was appointed in July 2015, following the retirement of Adrian Lee. Adrian Lee was appointed in October 2009 and held the national Association of Chief Police Officer (ACPO) leads for police ethics, executive development and protocol.

Chief Officers and Force Command Team

The Force Command Team consists of the Chief Constable, the Deputy Chief Constable, the Assistant Chief Constable(s) and the Assistant Chief Officer(s).

The Command Team is the executive decision making body for the Force, and supported by the Senior Management Team, is responsible for:

  • the successful delivery of Force operations;
  • developing a strategic vision for the Force;
  • shaping the organisational development of the Force to ensure that is fit for the future; and,
  • setting clear corporate priorities and the development of strategy to deliver these priorities.


Northamptonshire Police employs more than 1220 police officers, 130 PCSO's and 700 police staff. It is also supported by more than 400 Special Constables, 700 Police Volunteers and 100 Police Cadets.

Actual personnel strength by ranks (2014/15):

  • Chief Constable: 1
  • Deputy Chief Constable: 1
  • Assistant Chief Constable: 2
  • Chief Superintendent: 2
  • Superintendent: 8
  • Chief Inspector: 20
  • Inspector: 57
  • Sergeants: 217
  • Constables: 931
  • Police Community Support Officers: 134
  • Special Constables (all ranks): 410
  • Police Staff: 774

Total 2557

Regular members

The term regular member, or "Regular", refers to the more than 1220 regular police constables who are trained, attested and paid officers of the Force, and include all the ranks from Constable to Chief Constable. They are responsible for investigating crime, and have the authority to make arrests. Regulars are responsible for general policing duties and serve in a variety of operational and administrative roles within the Force, including: major crime investigations, emergency response, forensic identification, forensic collision reconstruction, bike patrol, explosives disposal and police dog services. Also included are administrative roles including corporate services (finance, HR, etc.), policy analysis, public affairs and professional standards.

In law, every member of a police force is a Constable whatever their actual rank, in the sense that, despite being a low-ranking or high-ranking officer, all have the same powers of arrest. The basic police powers of arrest and search of an ordinary Constable are identical to those of a superintendent or chief constable; however certain higher ranks are given administrative powers to authorise certain police actions. In England and Wales, these include the powers to:

  • authorise the continued detention of up to 24 hours of a person arrested for an offence and brought to a police station (granted to sergeants and above at designated police stations),
  • authorise section 18 (1) PACE house searches (granted to inspectors and above), or
  • extend the length of prisoner detention to 36 hours (granted to Superintendents).

Some authorities are matters of force or national or force policy and not subject to law, such as authorising the use of tyre deflation devices, and authorising the use of safe controlled crashes of pursued vehicles, by trained traffic police officers.

In relation to police officers of the Home Office or territorial police forces of England and Wales, section 30 of the Police Act 1996 states that "a member of a police force shall have all the powers and privileges of a Constable throughout England and Wales and the adjacent United Kingdom waters". Police officers do not need to be on duty to exercise their powers and can act off duty if circumstances require it (technically placing themselves back on duty). Officers from the police forces of Scotland and Northern Ireland and non-territorial special police forces have different jurisdictions.

Officers holding ranks up to and including Chief Superintendent who are members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or Special Branch (and certain other units) have the prefix "Detective" before their rank. Due to the nature of their duties, these officers generally wear plain clothes and so do not wear the corresponding rank insignia; however, they still operate within the same structure as their uniformed counterparts.

Regular Member Ranks

Like most of the police forces of the United Kingdom, Northamptonshire Police uses a standardised set of ranks that were chosen by Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel in 1829. The ranks at that time were deliberately chosen so that they did not correspond with military ranking (with the exception of Sergeant), due to fears of a paramilitary force. While still in effect in other jurisdictions, Northamptonshire Police does not currently appoint to the ranks of Chief Inspector and Chief Superintendent as a means of reducing the management structure within the Force.

United Kingdom police ranks (up to Chief Superintendent)
Rank Police Constable Sergeant Inspector Chief Inspector Superintendent Chief Superintendent
Insignia Uk-police-01.PNG Uk-police-02.PNG Uk-police-03.PNG Uk-police-04.PNG Uk-police-05.PNG Uk-police-06.PNG
United Kingdom police ranks (chief officers)
Rank Assistant Chief Constable Deputy Chief Constable Chief Constable
City of London Police rank Commander Assistant Commissioner Commissioner
Metropolitan Police rank Commander Deputy Assistant Commissioner Assistant Commissioner Deputy Commissioner Commissioner
Insignia Uk-police-07.PNG Uk-police-08.PNG Uk-police-09.PNG Uk-police-10.PNG Uk-police-11.PNG

Special Constables

Special Constables are volunteer police officers who have exactly the same powers as a regular officer, and (with minor exceptions) wear the same uniform and are issued the same equipment. Special Constables are assigned to Safer Community Teams (SCTs) and work alongside Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, and help improve public confidence and satisfaction. In addition, Specials support operations across the Force, such as Operation Guardian and Operation Nightsafe, carry out plain-clothed patrols, gather intelligence and execute warrants.

Northamptonshire Police has over 400 Special Constables, the highest number per capita in the United Kingdom of any police force, and is currently working to increase its on-board strength to over 900 Specials by 2016.

Special Constable Ranks

Since 2000, the National Policing Improvement Agency has encouraged special constabularies to return to rank structures and epaulette insignia identical to their regular counterparts.

Forces using the alternative rank insignia
Gaps in the table indicate that a rank is not used in a force's structure.
Alternative titles used by each force are listed below the rank.
Special Chief
Chief Officer
of the Special
Chief Officer
of the Special
Chief Officer
of the Special
Avon and
Special Constable.jpg Special Sergeant.jpg Special Inspector.jpg Special Chief Inspector.jpg Special Superintendent Cheshire.png Special Chief Officer.jpg
Special Constable.jpg Special Sergeant.jpg
Special Inspector.jpg
Special Chief Inspector.jpg Special Superintendent Cheshire.png Special Chief Officer.jpg
Special Constable Cheshire.png Special Sergeant Cheshire.png Special Inspector Cheshire.png Special Chief Inspector Cheshire.png Special Superintendent Cheshire.png Special Chief Superintendent Cheshire.png Special Deputy Chief Officer Cheshire.png Special Chief Officer Cheshire.png
Devon and
Special Constable DevonAndCornwall.png Special Sergeant DevonAndCornwall.png Special Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Superintendent DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Superintendent DevonAndCornwall.png Special Deputy Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png
Special Constable.jpg Special Sergeant.jpg Special Inspector Dorset.png Special Superintendent Dorset.png Special Chief Officer.jpg
Special Constable DevonAndCornwall.png Special Sergeant DevonAndCornwall.png Special Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Officer.jpg
Special Constable.jpg Special Sergeant.jpg Special Inspector.jpg Special Chief Inspector.jpg Special Superintendent Cheshire.png Special Deputy Chief Officer Essex.png Special Chief Officer Essex.png
Special Constable Gloucestershire.png Special Sergeant Gloucestershire.png
Section Officer
Special Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png
Area Officer
Special Chief Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png
Area Officer
Special Superintendent DevonAndCornwall.png
Greater Manchester
Special Constable.jpg Special Sergeant.jpg Special Inspector.jpg Special Chief Inspector.jpg Special Chief Officer.jpg
Special Constable.jpg Special Sergeant.jpg
Sector Officer
Special Inspector.jpg
District Officer
Special Chief Inspector.jpg
Area Officer
Special Deputy Chief Officer Essex.png Special Chief Officer Essex.png
Special Constable Lancashire.png Special Sergeant Lancashire.png Special Inspector.jpg Special Chief Inspector.jpg Special Deputy Chief Officer Lancashire.png Special Superintendent Cheshire.png
Special Constable Met.png Special Sergeant Met.png Special Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Superintendent DevonAndCornwall.png Special Deputy Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png
Special Constable Northamptonshire.png Special Sergeant Northamptonshire.png Special Inspector.jpg Special Chief Inspector.jpg Special Superintendent Northamptonshire.png Uk-police-04.PNG
*Regular Chief
Special Constable.jpg
Northumbria Special Constabulary abolished its ranks in 2006. All officers hold the rank of Special Constable, although those who previously held a supervisory rank are entitled to continue wearing their rank insignia.
Special Constable Nottinghamshire.png Special Sergeant Nottinghamshire.png Special Inspector Nottinghamshire.png Special Chief Inspector.jpg Special Chief Officer Essex.png Special Chief Officer.jpg
Special Constable South Yorkshire.png Special Sergeant South Yorkshire.png Special Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png
District Officer
Special Chief Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png
District Officer
Special Deputy Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png
Special Constable Staffordshire.png Special Sergeant Staffordshire.png Special Inspector Staffordshire.png Special Chief Inspector Staffordshire.png Special Deputy Chief Officer Staffordshire.png Special Chief Officer Staffordshire.png
Special Constable Suffolk.png Special Sergeant Suffolk.png Special Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png
Special Constable Surrey.png Special Inspector Surrey.png Special Chief Officer.jpg
File:Special Constable Thames Valley.png 70px Special Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png 70px Special Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png
File:Special Constable Warwickshire.png 70px Special Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Inspector DevonAndCornwall.png Special Deputy Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png Special Chief Officer DevonAndCornwall.png
File:Special Constable West Mercia.png 70px Special Inspector.jpg Special Chief Inspector.jpg Special Chief Officer.jpg
Special Constable Gloucestershire.png Special Sergeant Gloucestershire.png
Section Officer
Section Officer
*Regular Chief
These forty forces use insignia for Special ranks not recommended by the NPIA. Only three forces have adopted the approved insignia.

Police Cadets

Northamptonshire's Volunteer Police Cadet Programme for young people aged 15 to 18 was introduced in June 2011 and is designed to provide a sense of what it is like to be a police officer, by getting cadets involved in various police related activities, such as crime prevention projects and assisting local Safer Community Teams by helping police events. The Programme operates from the following areas:

  • Daventry
  • Kettering and Corby
  • Northampton
  • Towcester and South Northamptonshire
  • Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire

Police Cadets meet one night a week to learn about the police service and develop practical skills, with the Force asking them to commit their time every Thursday evening 6pm to 9pm during the school term, and volunteer to support their safer community team.

The Programme is open to all young people regardless of their career ambitions or capabilities. It is intended that participants in the programme will develop skills and confidence that will be of benefit to communities and employers.

Police Community Support Officers

A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) (Welsh: swyddog cymorth cymunedol yr heddlu, SCCH) is a uniformed civilian member of police support staff. They are non-warranted but are provided a variety of Police powers. PCSO's work within Safer Community Teams composed of PCSO's, regular Officers and Special Constables to undertake high visibility patrolling, tackling anti-social behaviour, dealing with minor offences, gathering criminal intelligence and supporting front-line policing. However, the powers of PCSOs have been statutorily limited to maintain the distinction between them and Police Officers.

Police Community Support Officers do not have a rank system. Their epaulettes simply bear the words "POLICE COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICER" and their collar number.

Force Initiatives

Operation Guardian

Launched in September 2009, Operation Guardian is a countywide operation cracking down on vehicle crime, burglary and robbery and targets those who commit these offences.

Since the operation was launched, several thousand arrests have been made and many search warrants carried out through regular High Impact days.

As a result, crime has reduced significantly. Between April 2010 and March 2011, house burglary, robbery and vehicle crimes combined have fallen by more than 22% across Northamptonshire. This means 2,285 fewer crimes than in 2009/2010.

High Impact days are high profile days of action that target crime hotspots and areas where known criminals live. The high Impact days put pressure on local offenders and are designed to reassure residents that the Force is driving down crime in their neighbourhood.

Examples of positive results can be found on the Force website and include:

  • Three arrests made in Raunds and Irthlingborough in connection with a robbery at a bookmaker in Rushden
  • Drugs and £8000 cash seized from a property in Henshaw Road, Wellingborough, following a search – occupants subsequently evicted.
  • 17-year-old man arrested in Nethermead Court, Northampton, following information from the public. He was convicted and jailed for two years for burglary.
  • Five people arrested in Far Cotton, Northampton for cocaine and heroin supply offences and currently awaiting trial.
  • Two prolific criminals from Northampton convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for crimes committed across South Northamptonshire.
  • Prolific offender from Kettering arrested and remanded in custody by the local Operation Guardian Team.
  • Cannabis factory in an old property in Thornby found and dismantled

Operation Nightsafe

Operation Nightsafe is a county wide operation designed to help keep Northamptonshires town centres safe at night. Nightsafe coordinates a highly visible policing response aimed to tackle alcohol-related violence.

Police activity under Nightsafe targets a wide range of issues including sales of alcohol to underage drinkers, pubs and clubs breaching the terms of their licences and drink related anti-social behaviour.

British Grand Prix

Every year, Northamptonshire Police work as part of a team to police the Grand Prix. In summer 2011, the British Grand Prix policing operation halved crime figures in comparison to the previous year.

There are 300,000 spectators at Silverstone over the race weekend with 122,000 on race day itself.

The Force promotes crime prevention messages to those attending and staying on the site alongside high-visibility patrols.

New Criminal Justice Centre

A new custody centre is under construction to meet the urgent need to replace and upgrade the existing small and outdated cell facilities at Campbell Square and Weston Favell police stations. The Criminal Justice Centre is scheduled for completion in July 2012 and is expected to be fully operational by September 2012. Construction is on schedule and within budget.

Kier Construction based in the East Midlands is the construction firm responsible for building the Criminal Justice Centre.

The centre will provide custody facilities of 40 cells to serve the needs of Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire. It will include over 2,000 square metres of purpose built office space bringing opportunities to realign the Force’s estate, releasing leasehold properties and temporary modular buildings, to ensure policing services are located appropriately and effectively and best able to meet the policing needs of Northamptonshire.

Notable investigations

  • Operation Seahorse, Oct 2011: corporate manslaughter investigation at Lava nightclub, Northampton[3]
  • Operation Polecat, Oct 2011: murder of Karoly Varga in Wellingborough
  • Operation Scorpion, Oct 2011: murder of John Kiernan in Kettering
  • Operation Nene, May 2011: Ding family murders in Northampton

National Recognition

Developments in Forensic Science

In 2011 while Scientific Support Manager at Northamptonshire Police, Dr John Bond was awarded an OBE for services to forensic science and to the county’s police.

An innovative partnership project between the University of Leicester and Northamptonshire Police Force resulted in ground-breaking applications of forensic science. In February 2011, a pioneering new forensic device that extracts latent fingerprints from discharged cartridge cases was launched by Consolite Forensics at Northamptonshire Police headquarters.



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2014". Home Office. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965

External links

See also