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Dive into the rich history of Wolverhampton Police

Published on | #WeAre50, General

Former officers joined some of our newest recruits for the launch of a book charting the history of Wolverhampton’s police force.

Retired officers with service stretching back to the 1960s were alongside newly inducted officers for the event at Wolverhampton Police Station last week.

Among those attending were a former Wolverhampton Chief Superintendent, a retired Chief Officer of the West Midlands Police Special Constabulary, and four members of one family who are proud to have been police officers for five generations.

PC Claire Merrell, who’s covered the area as a response officer before becoming a training officer with WMP, was with her father and retired officer Raymond Harber who’d joined the force back in 1978.

And they were joined by her son PCSO Euan Watkins who started on Wolverhampton’s City Centre Neighbourhood Team in August last year and his brother Conor who’s all set to join WMP in the next couple of months.

She said: “Our family has a long history of policing – my grandfather was an Inspector in Birmingham City Police, and further back was his father who was a police officer in the First World War.

“It’s a vocation. You want to help and that I think sums up what being a police officer is all about, you just want to help.”

Commissioned by our West Midlands Police Museum, the book looks at Wolverhampton Borough Police which has a proud and distinct history.

Heritage manager Corinne Brazier, said: “The book’s given us the chance to shine a light on policing in Wolverhampton over the decades.

“It is one of a number of publications we’ve got coming out which will be highlighting different parts of the force area as part of our celebrations marking 50 years of West Midlands Police.”

The book looks at how policing has existed in Wolverhampton since at least the 1820s, but it was officially established in 1848 and existed until the 1966 merger with other local forces to create West Midlands Constabulary.

And there is also mention of Wolverhampton being the first place in the UK to have automated traffic lights in the 1920s, as a result of Chief Constable David Webster championing their use after seeing them on a visit to Germany.

Author Elaine Goodey, said: “To bring the history of policing in Wolverhampton to a wider audience is a privilege. Local historians, the West Midlands Police Museum and of course the Wolverhampton City Archives have some amazing artefacts in their collections, and there’s a real thrill from holding pieces of policing history in your hands.”

This book is available to purchase from the Museum shop – you can buy online or visit us on Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham.