Birmingham City Police

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Birmingham City Police
Birmingham City Police hat badge.jpg
Hat badge of the type in use on the last day of the service
Agency overview
Formed 20 November 1839 (1839-11-20)
Dissolved 31 March 1974 (1974-03-31)
Superseding agency West Midlands Police
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction Birmingham, England, UK
Legal jurisdiction England & Wales
General nature • Local civilian agency

Parent agency Home Office

Birmingham City Police was a police force responsible for policing the city of Birmingham in England until 1974, when on 1 April it was amalgamated under the Local Government Act 1972 with West Midlands Constabulary and parts of other forces to form the West Midlands Police.


Birmingham Police Act 1839

Birmingham town police[edit]

Following Chartist rioting in 1839, when one hundred police had to be brought from London, an Act of Parliament was passed on 26 August 1839 "for improving the Police in Birmingham". Birmingham was required to have at least 250 constables and 50 officers.[1] A commissioner was to be appointed by the Home Secretary and report to him.[1] The Birmingham force came into being on 20 November 1839 with 260 men. Francis Burgess, a local barrister, was appointed as the first police commissioner for Birmingham.[2] On 12 August 1842 a new Police Act transferred responsibility to the Birmingham Town Council and another removed doubts as to the authority of the council.[1]

Birmingham City Police[edit]

When Birmingham became a city in 1889 the town police became the Birmingham City Police.

World War I[edit]

571 officers from Birmingham City Police served in the military during World War I, of whom 50 were killed. All 571 are named on a memorial which is located in Lloyd House, the headquarters of the BCP's successor, the West Midlands Police, and on an acompanying website.[3]


The Birmingham City Police Band was, at one period, conducted by Appleby Matthews,[4] organist of the city's St. Philip's Cathedral and the first conductor of the City of Birmingham Orchestra (later the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra). members of the band would sometimes supplement the orchestras numbers.[5]

Chief Constables[edit]

Chief Constables of Birmingham City Police included:[6]


  1. ^ a b c Gill, Conrad (1952). History of Birmingham Volume I. Birmingham City Council, Geoffrey Cumberledge, Oxford University Press. 
  2. ^ "History of the Force". West Midlands Police. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  3. ^ "Police Memorial". West Midlands Police Military History Society. Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra". Sinfini Music. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Morley, Christopher (4 November 2010). "A glorious 90 years". The Birmingham Post. p. 4. 
  6. ^ "Birmingham City Police 1839 - 1974". West Midlands Police Museum. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 

External links[edit]