Southend Police
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IMELINE
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OUTHEND
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Southend-on-Sea
1867. Police Force doubles in size. Southend along with the many other parishes of the area was served by a Police Sergeant, in 1867 Southend's manpower was doubled with the posting of a Constable. At the time the Police Station that existed was in a house in Hamlet Road. Five years later the growing town needed more policing and better accommodation, two houses were acquired in Alexandra Street. 1873. Southend’s first Police station built in Alexandra Street. 1883. New Court House built. With Southend growing as a fashionable place to visit, so with it came crime; to cope with these issues and to maintain order in this respectable town a courthouse was built to the rear of the new Police Station in Alexandra Street. Unfortunately the facility was so well used it needed renewing in 1892. 1894. Prittlewell murder. Police Sergeant Marden assisted in the investigation into the murder of Florence Dennis, who was found shot in the head in Gainsborough Drive, Prittlewell. The inquiry, which was conducted by Marden and Detective Inspector Baker of the Metropolitan Police, found that Florence Dennis was pregnant, and the mistress of Mr James Canham Read, James was married with children and was having intimate affairs with three other women, two who were sisters, he worked as a cashier in the Royal Albert Docks. On Monday, 24th June 1894 Florence went to Prittlewell, and was met by a Read. They walked through some woodland park, at dusk. When in an isolated spot Read asked Florence if she had mentioned that they were meeting. Knowing what he wanted to hear she said "No." When her back was turned he shot her in the head. He hoped to catch the train from Prittlewell back to London, but turned up at the station too late and missed his train. He could not afford to wait for the next train, to rent a wagon might have led to questions that would lead to his identity. So Read decided to walk the many miles back to Stepney, the journey on foot took him all night. In the course of his journey, he had to stop several people for directions. After the murder Read went on the run. He was eventually arrested at the home of another one of his mistresses. Read was tried at the Essex Assizes and hanged aged 37 at Chelmsford prison on 4th December 1894. 1914. Southend-on-Sea Constabulary are formed. Separate from the Essex Constabulary. 1924. Law Court opens. Southend's growing size demanded a more suitable localised legal system; 1924 saw the opening of the new Southend Police Court by Mayor W. Miles. 1931. Southend Road Patrol introduced. Southend Police due to necessity of the expansion of the road network and the increasing number of visitors coming into the town by car, set up a separate Road Patrol on 18th March 1931. The force's fleet was made up then of 4 cars, a single motorbike and 3 motorbike combinations. 1935. Chief retires. Chief Constable Kerslake retired from Southend Police in April 1935. Much to the relief of some of his force, he was well known for his military style of leadership, and did not appreciate fools lightly. However, he will be remembered and recognised for steering the force through a period of growth, from when he started as Chief Constable 21 years earlier. Southend had a tiny force with minimal equipment, his legacy would be a well disciplined force capable of delivering an excellent policing duty across the whole borough. 1935. Police arrive in Shoebury. A new police station in Elm Road, Shoeburyness was completed in March 1935; the Shoebury Division was ready along with a few others established across the borough in the same year. 1936. Ambulance Service arrives. Southend Police Station adopted the first ambulance to serve the town in 1936, basing it within the newly adapted garages at it's main HQ in Alexandra Street. 1939. Police War reserve. On 4th September 1939, the first 95 men were sworn into the Police War Reserve, utilising the hall to the rear of the Westminster Bank at 13-15 London Road. Extra duties were required of this force not least keeping an eye on the many empty properties due to evacuation, but also maintaining a blackout situation. Southend's geographical position made this even more crucial. 1941. Women to the rescue. The Second World War had an impact on the Police Reserve Force, 75 police officers left and went into action leaving the streets of Southend under staffed. The Women’s Auxiliary Force was formed, demanding extra accommodation at the Alexandra Street Police Station and further expansion into buildings next to it. 1942. War room. With advice from the War Office a new War Room was constructed to contain and control events at the rear of Alexandra Police Station, this contained wireless radios and transmitting equipment, a telephone switchboard and a separate control room. 1956. Sea Rescue Patrol on patrol. 1956 saw the arrival of a new active division of the Southend Police; the Sea Rescue Patrol was a fully equipped life saving service that would patrol the seafront on land and water looking for day-trippers who may get into trouble. 1961. Parking meters arrive in town centre. 1962. Southend Police Headquarters moves to new HQ in Victoria Avenue. Sir Charles Cunningham, the Permanent Under Secretary of State at the Home Office cut the ribbon on 19th March 1962. 1967. The Queen Mother met PC Gandy of the Southend-on-Sea Borough Constabulary, one of the mounted police officers on duty that day to meet her, for a Royal visit. 1969. Southend Constabulary joins Essex Police on 1st April.

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Ground Floor Plan of the Police Station, Alexandra Street
Supt. William Simmonds Chief of Police in 1898, served 10 years in the town
Ex-Supt. Samuel Hawtree in 1898 was responsible for the control of Marine Park. Born in 1836, served five years in the Metropolitan Police, on 22nd April 1864, he joined the Essex Constabulary, and was promoted to Superintendent of the Rochford Division in 1880. He died in Shoebury in 1918.
2021 Police Station, Victoria Avenue
SOUTHEND TIMELINE
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