Admiralty Constabulary

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Cap badge of the Admiralty Constabulary
Cap badge of the Admiralty Constabulary

The Admiralty Constabulary was a police force in the United Kingdom formed as a result of the Special Constables Act 1923. The Constabulary can trace its history back to 1686 when the Royal Navy needed an organisation to prevent dockyard crime. So the Secretary to the Admiralty - Samuel Pepys, the diarist - formed a force of 'porters, rounders, warders and watchmen' to guard the Naval Yards. Porters identified and escorted visitors, rounders patrolled the yard, warders were responsible for the keys and backed up the porters at the gates, and the part-time watchmen guarded buildings and areas by night.

In 1834 this force became the first dockyard police, with full police powers within the dockyards, and acting as policemen over offences committed by employees and Naval personnel within a radius of five miles of the yard. Rewards for obtaining convictions quickly led to corruption, so the force was 'cleaned up' and then abolished. The Metropolitan Police took over, and senior Naval officers became magistrates. A Royal Marine Police Force was formed 1934 and subsequent changes led in 1949 to the Admiralty Constabulary being created.

The Ministry of Defence Police absorbed the AC in 1971, along with the Army Department Constabulary and the Air Force Department Constabulary.

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