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History

Learn about the history of Surrey Police.

The establishment of a single, unitary police force for the county of Surrey has evolved over more than 150 years. Over that time the Force has coped with numerous amalgamations, secessions, reorganisations and boundary changes.

The Surrey Constabulary was established in 1851 with both Guildford and Godalming Boroughs having already run their own police forces for some years.

The Metropolitan Police, established in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel, initially operated within a seven-mile radius of Charing Cross, which included areas within the then Surrey county boundary and later became the model for other forces throughout the country. Over the next few years the area of policing was extended to take in additional parts of the county including Banstead, Warlingham, Coulsdon and Epsom.

It was the success of the Metropolitan force that led to the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, which allowed cities and boroughs to form their own police forces. The following year a borough force was set up for Guildford with Godalming establishing its own force a few years later.

1836 Guildford Borough

The Guildford Watch Committee appointed nine constables for the borough in 1836. Richard Jarlett was superintendent constable on a salary of £15 a year but he was only part time, as he was also the High Street baker.

The constables were paid 18s a week in the summer and 21s in the winter. In the early days there were night constables and day policemen who worked from 6am–8pm. In May 1936 the Watch Committee decided that a newly appointed constable, in addition to his salary, "… be provided with clothes of the same description as the London police, provided the expense thereof does not exceed five guineas." The first police station was established in September that year, at 1 Tunsgate behind the Corn Market, but has long since been demolished.

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