Liverpool Cathedral Constables

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Liverpool Cathedral Constables are a private constabulary responsible for providing security for Liverpool Cathedral. Its officers are not attested as constables, but take their title of 'constable' from a long held tradition, dating back to the 13th century. At one time, many cathedrals appointed ecclesiastical constables, to uphold law and order in and around their precincts. Liverpool Cathedral is one of only five cathedrals nationally to employ constables; York Minster (York Minster Police), Canterbury Cathedral, Chester Cathedral, and Hereford Cathedral are the other four, although Hereford has only a single officer. The constables endeavour to maintain the history and tradition of ecclesiastical constables through the Cathedral Constables' Association.[1] Liverpool Cathedral's specialist constabulary was formed on 15 August 2005. Before this date its members were the Cathedral's security team. They were granted permission to become constables by the Dean and Chapter; having previously forged close links with the constables of the York Minster Police, a body of men and women who can trace their origins back to the thirteenth century, Liverpool Cathedral followed in this ancient tradition and appointed its security officers as constables.

Today, Liverpool Cathedral and its precinct are protected by a team of 10 constables, managed by a Head Constable. Working in teams of two, they provide 24 hour cover, 365 days a year. The security of the Cathedral is not their only responsibility; constables also patrol the adjacent residential college campus, providing much needed security to the young people who reside there. Constables work out of the Constables’ Lodge, a single story building at the entrance to the Cathedral’s precinct, from where they watch all comings and goings with the aid of an extensive range of CCTV cameras and monitors. In January 2011, the Cathedral appointed its first female constable.

The Cathedral's constables wear uniforms similar to typical British police officers, but do not carry handcuffs or batons. They wear a white shirt with epaulettes, black tie, black combat style trousers, and a high visibility jacket with the words "Cathedral Constable" on the back. Although they are not sworn in as constables and do not have police powers, they are trained to deal with difficult and occasionally dangerous situations whilst ensuring minimal disruption to the spiritual tranquillity of the Cathedral. On the rare occasion when the constables have made an arrest, they have used 'any person' powers of arrest under Section 24a of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The constables, through the Cathedral Constables' Association, have published a short book entitled, 'Cathedral Bobbies.' The book is a series of reflections related to individual constable's experiences.

The more traditional policing functions for the Cathedral are conducted by the local territorial police force, Merseyside Police.