Admiralty Constabulary

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"Royal Marine Police" redirects here. For the military police of the Royal Marines, see Royal Marines Police.

The Admiralty Constabulary, known as the Royal Marine Police from 1934 to 1949, was a police force in the United Kingdom formed under the Special Constables Act 1923 which existed from 1934 to 1971.

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. The Royal Marine Police was formed in 1934 and subsequent changes led in 1949 to the Admiralty Constabulary being created.

The Admiralty Constabulary amalgamated with the Army Department Constabulary and the Air Force Department Constabulary in 1971 to form the Ministry of Defence Police.

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