First Police Detective in Dorset

“Grandad was the first plain-clothes policeman in Dorset” my father informed me.  Grandad Beck obtained the rank of Sergeant in 1908, 6 months before being made Detective Sergeant.

A descended to the training sergeant at the time, gave me this account of Grandad Beck’s promotion.  “Because my Great Grandfather was the Training Sergeant he was aware of what was required and with the increase in crime, he and the top Senior ranks decided they needed a senior PC to help deal with the serious crime of the day. They looked at all the senior PC’S and quickly worked out that “Percy” would be ideal. He was promoted to Sergeant straight away to make his job easier for all, even though it would have had a small financial impact on the Force, as now there was an extra Sergeant.” Ian Swatridge.

As Dorsetshire’s first and the only Detective between 1908 and June 1915, Grandad Beck was based at Headquarters in Dorchester. He travelled around the county at the request of divisional superintendents to assist in more complex or longer investigations.

Picture of Bargate Southampton
Postcard to Lionel

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Preparing for the Dorset Police Sports Day

I have written before about the Dorset Police Athletic Club, when  in 1935 Grandad Beck, as vice-president, said he was the last serving member of the club.  He had been an active member from the first meeting in 1896.  Though he enjoyed the sports and supported them, the only reference to him taking part was when he mentioned the cycle races and loosing.  During the years he was a Detective at Dorchester (1908-1915) it is likely that he took the photographs that the family still have. In this post I will share some of these photographs with you.

Weymouth had a separate Borough Police Force at the time and joined the Dorset Constabulary sports day.  I understand that on occasion the event may have been held in Weymouth.

Photograph of sports day
Photograph of the sports day, showing the stands built by the tug-of-war team

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