Falmouth Docks Police

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Falmouth Docks Police is a very small, specialised constabulary whose primary role is security of Falmouth Docks.[1] As of 2007 the constabulary numbered just 4 constables.[2] It is not certain if this constabulary is still in existence.

Officers of this constabulary are sworn in as special constables under section 79 of the Harbours, Docks, and Piers Clauses Act 1847. As a result, officers have the full powers of a constable on any land owned by Falmouth Docks & Engineering Company and at any place within one mile of any owned land.

Any serious, major incidents or crime becomes the responsibility of the local territorial police force, the Devon and Cornwall Police.

Early history[edit]

The force was created on 19 September 1870 and was known as the 'Falmouth Harbour Police.' George Julyan, the superintendent of the Falmouth Borough Police, was appointed head constable and had four constables in his charge. His salary was £70 per year. The Falmouth municipal authorities frequently found fault with the force and it was suggested on many occasions by the corporation that it should be amalgamated with the borough and county police for cost and efficiency purposes. On 24 November 1876, Superintendent Julyan resigned following an incident with one of the Falmouth Magistrates. Having been unable to attend court the previous week, as he was busy dealing with an incident on the Quay, Julyan sent a constable in his place which the Magistrate found unacceptable. The Magistrate lodged a complaint against the superintendent, causing him to step down.

On 1 December 1876, Sergeant Martin was promoted to superintendent.

Incidents of Note[edit]

R v Dudley and Stephens is a legally significant trial in relation to case law of murder which involved an officer from Falmouth Docks Police. On 6 September 1884, Falmouth Harbour Sergeant James Laverty was on duty at the Customs House and overheard three sailors confessing to the customs officer that they had committed murder. It transpired that the three sailors - Edwin Stephens, Thomas Dudley and Edward Brooks - were rescued after their yacht, the 'Mignonette,' foundered in rough seas. On 19 May 1884, the three men plus 19 year-old novice Richard Parker, departed Southampton in the Mignonette with orders to deliver the vessel to Sydney, Australia. On 17 June, the vessel came to grief in torrid conditions and the four men hastily repaired to the lifeboat. Such was the urgency of the evacuation, they were only able to salvage two cans of turnips and a small amount of water. When this was depleted, they continued without food for over a fortnight before delirium set in. It was then that the unthinkable happened. Seeing no other way to survive, a vote was cast to decide who should be sacrificed and consumed so the others could endure. Being the youngest and most inexperienced of the group, Parker was nominated and brutally beaten to death. The three men used Parker's body as sustenance until they were eventually rescued by a German ship.

Recent history[edit]

The force was renamed 'Falmouth Docks Police' circa 1925 and numbered around nine constables up until the 1990s. At the turn of the century, the incumbent dock sergeant took steps to modernize the force by updating the uniform and equipment, including a small investment in a number of police helmets displaying the force crest. As the Falmouth Docks Police receives no government funding, it is entirely reliant on the finance of the dockyard operator which in the present utilizes the force as more of a security arm than a fully-fledged constabulary.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "British Police History". www.british-police-history.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  2. ^ Department for Transport, Great Minster House (1970-01-01). "Accountability and Standards of the Port Police Forces". Retrieved 2018-04-26.