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Post by Stanley » 20 Apr 2018, 07:00


In 1856 the Barlick Town Constable was Thomas Waite of Hen House Farm. He was replaced by a uniformed constable and that has been the system of policing in the town ever since. I seem to remember a story told by Jack Savage of a felon who was handcuffed to the stove at Hen House and attempted an escape dragging the stove behind him. I have also been told that there was a lock-up in the Lamb hill area but have never found any direct evidence of this.
Over the years the organisation was refined and grew. Until 1974 this was under the control of the West Riding Constabulary whose HQ was at Wakefield. Under them the old police station on Manchester Road was built and local inspectors, sergeants and constables were appointed. There were also Special Constables, members of the public who volunteered to help the police maintain law and order especially in times of stress.
There were other augmentations of the force by constables brought in from other areas during times of civil unrest. We see these mainly during the strikes against the More Looms System in the 1930s. Jim Pollard and Ernie Roberts were both eye-witnesses to the infamous police charge against the picketers at Sough Bridge Mill. This developed into a pitched battle with batons being used and people fleeing over the fields. The Town Council complained to the Home Office but were told that only necessary force had been used. There are accounts in the life story, by Bessie Dickinson, of James Rushton, a notable local activist and member of the Communist Party in Barlick of strikers on Gisburn Road being faced by massed ranks of police with batons drawn. During the same strikes police slept in the engine house at Long Ing Shed to guard against sabotage and police actions at the shed generated another complaint to Wakefield which was also dismissed. These were turbulent times but there are still old folk in the town who can remember these events.
In 1974 we were dragged, kicking and screaming, into Lancashire and the police force in the town was transferred to the Lancashire Constabulary based at Preston. For some years there was little change but in the 1980s the present police station was built and the old one on Manchester Road together with its cells and mortuary was closed. I remember a bobby telling me that the big problem with the new building was that there wasn't a room in it big enough to hold a full sized billiard table!
Over subsequent years the force has been gradually 'rationalised', the result of which is less staff and more ground to cover. First we lost the ability to ring our local station and now we have lost our direct contact via the front desk. I am at the stage now where I begin to wonder where the shrinkage will end and what the result will be. I'll look into that next week.


Police breaking the picket at Sough in 1932
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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