Milestones of Railway & Dock Policing

Bristol & Exeter PC

Bristol & Exeter PC

1826 First mention of railway police – Stockton & Darlington Railway.

1831 First enactment to formalise appointment of Special Constables on the railway.

1835 Enactment enabling town and cities to form police forces.

1839 Enactment enabling counties to form police forces (many reluctant and did not). Hundreds of special constables taken on.

1847 Enactment enabling appointment of constables at docks and harbours.

1856 Enactment requiring counties to form police forces.

1908 First recorded British use of trained police dogs by NER Police at Hull.

1920 Formation of railway police federation to improve conditions.

1923 Railway & dock amalgamations – big four formed – LNER, LMS, SR, and GWR, each with their own police force.

1939 Railway & docks police issued with firearms for the duration of the war (and longer in some cases).

1947 First railway police residential training school opened (Tadworth – closed 2010).

1948 Railway amalgamations and nationalisation – British Railways formed.

1949 Railway & docks police amalgamated to become British Transport Commission Police (BTC).

1958 First Chief Officer of the force to be titled ‘Chief Constable’ (Arthur West).

1958 London Transport Police amalgamated into BTC Police.

1963 British Transport Commission dissolved. Change of name for BTC to the British Transport Police (BTP).

1964 British Waterways Board withdrew from BTP policing agreement.

1976 Equal pay and conditions for policewomen introduced.

1979 The Wright Committee Report finally secured pay parity with HO Forces.

1985 Police withdrawn from the docks following the privatisation of the British Transport Docks Board.

1991 The Blue Line newsletter replaced The Journal, in publication since 1948.

1999 The Midland Metro opened, the first modern tram system policed by BTP.

2001 BTP Jurisdiction extended by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime & Security Act.

2004 British Transport Police Authority inaugurated to assume responsibility for the Force.

2004 First BTP Police Community Support Officers were employed.

2011 British Transport Police formally authorised to deploy armed officers


Also see: Time Line of Policing the Railways (PDF), compiled by Kevin Gordon (last updated 2002)