Senior Policemen of Dorset at Conference Point

I wanted to share this photograph with you taken in 1923.  Posing for this photograph is the most senior policeman in Dorset Constabulary at the time.  Grandad Beck had a copy of this photograph in his collection but this is a scan of a framed photograph my cousin was given, that had been on the wall in one of the police offices for many years. Hence the fading at the sides.

8 uniformed police officers with the 2 most senior chiefs
Note the moustaches, when these men joined the force a moustache, was likely, to have been compulsory but beards forbidden

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Superintendent moves from Beaminster to Bridport

Beaminster Police Station

When Grandad Beck took over as Superintendent of the Bridport Division of the Dorset Constabulary in 1919, the accommodation for the position was at Beaminster police station.  The reason for this is that when the Dorset Constabulary was formed in  1856, Bridport was a Borough and had their own police force, stationed in South Street.  The new divisional police station, with accommodation for the Superintendent and a court room, was built at Beaminster in c. 1862. By 1924 this was inconvenient for Grandad Beck as the larger portion of his work and staff was at Bridport and the vicinity. The Chief Constable drew this to the notice of the Dorset Police Standing Committee in July 1924 and requested that a suitable house be found in Bridport for the Superintendent’s accommodation.  My father remembers Grandad Beck saying that this decision was unpopular in Beaminster, this may have been because they were afraid they would lose the police station and justice court.
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The sentenced is prison with hard labour!

Imprisonment with hard labour was often the sentence for people, found guilty by the local courts. I have chosen several examples from the newspapers of 1930, the charges were theft, drunk and disorderly. Quite what hard labour entailed I don’t know, or if there was any other form of imprisonment. The local police tried to keep the area free from “undesirables” and told anyone they considered to be in this category to leave town. All these court cases concern people from outside the local area of Lyme Regis, Bridport, Beaminster and the surrounding villages.

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Poison, farm animals & hay ricks – all work for a policeman

Bridport Division of Dorset Police Constabulary is a rural area. The selection of cases that came before the areas magistrates that I have chosen in this post reflect this. Controlling farm pests with poisons has always been dangerous, in the spring of 1932 Mr Hussey of Netherbury was charged with killing his neighbours sheep dog. Not far away at Marshwood, Tom Bishop’s dogs killed some of his neighbours sheep in September. In June the following year, a boy was sent to Industrial School for setting a hay rick alight. The last case happened in December of 1931 in the town, as it involved cattle and it amused me, I have included it here.

Poisoned Eggs in Trees

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Intoxicated Liquor Licences 1934: Controversy over Summer Half-Hour

Licences for intoxicated liquor, then as now, was an emotive subject and was a subject for local courts. Every February the local businesses selling intoxicated liquor renewed their licences. Grandad Beck as Superintendent of the Bridport Division of Dorset Police Constabulary gave the annual report to the licencing committee for his area. Supt. Beck started each session by giving a report into the previous year, which was reported by the Bridport News.

In 1934 as in previous years Mr Roper on behalf of the Licenced Victuallers’ Association wanted Bridport Borough to grant an extension by half-hour during summer evening. Bridport Borough didn’t agree that they had to right to do this. Bridport Borough and Dorchester magistrates argued that they needed a change in the law but other areas including Beaminster, Lyme Regis and Weymouth granted the half hour extension. The hours are set by national government with local areas allowing extensions in their area for an individual or group of premises. There seems to be a confusion about what extensions to opening hours the local courts could allow. Continue reading “Intoxicated Liquor Licences 1934: Controversy over Summer Half-Hour”