Philip Knights, Baron Knights

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Knights
Philip Knights, later Baron Knights.jpg
Born Philip Douglas Knights
(1920-10-03)3 October 1920
Died 11 December 2014(2014-12-11) (aged 94)
Nationality British
Education East Grinstead Co School, King's School
Alma mater Police Staff College, Grantham
Occupation Chief constable
Employer West Midlands Police
Spouse(s) Jean Knights (deceased)

Philip Douglas Knights, Baron Knights, CBE, QPM, DL (3 October 1920 – 11 December 2014) was an English police constable and the head of West Midlands Police as Chief Constable. Lord Knights was the successor to West Midlands Police's first Chief Constable, Sir Derrick Capper.[1]


Knights joined Lincolnshire Police as a Cadet in 1938, becoming a Constable in 1940 and completed training at the (now defunct) Police Staff College in Grantham, Lincolnshire. During World War II, he served in the Royal Air Force between 1943 until 1945. Knights returned to Lincolnshire Police, reaching the rank of Chief Superintendent in 1957. He moved to the Birmingham City Police in 1959 as an Assistant Chief Constable and rose to the rank of Deputy Chief Constable in 1970. In 1972 he moved to Sheffield and Rotherham Constabulary as Chief Constable. In 1974, Sheffield and Rotherham Constabulary amalgamated with parts of West Yorkshire Constabulary to become South Yorkshire Police. Knights returned to West Midlands Police where he was appointed Chief Constable. He was described as a 'true architect' of the new force, bringing together six separate forces into one.[2]


In 1983 the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament activist Madeline Haigh criticised Lord Knights for not disciplining West Midlands Special Branch who investigated her after she wrote to a local newspaper complaining about the cancellation of a peace march. Lord Knights defended the case by saying it "fell within the terms of reference of the Special Branch."[3][4]

Honours and awards[edit]

Knights was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in 1964[5] and then appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1971.[6] Knights was promoted to a Commander (CBE) in 1976[7] and knighted in 1980.[8][9][10][11][12] He was Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands in 1985[13] and was created a life peer on 22 July 1987 as Baron Knights, of Edgbaston in the County of West Midlands.[14] He sat as a crossbencher in the House of Lords until his death in 2014.

Knight-Bachelor.ribbon.png Knight Bachelor 1980
Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png Order of the British Empire 1971
Queens Police Medal for Merit.png Queens Police Medal 1964
Ribbon - Defence Medal.png Defence Medal 1945
Ribbon - War Medal.png War Medal 1939–1945 1945
QEII Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
Police Long Service and Good Conduct ribbon.png Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal 1972

Personal life[edit]

Lord Knights was vice-president of the Warwickshire County Cricket Club, the Birmingham County Scout Council and the Birmingham Federation of Clubs for Young People.[13]


  1. ^ "Lord Knights, the architect of West Midlands Police, dies at 94". West Midlands Police. 12 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "West Midlands Police Facebook". West Midlands Police. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "True Spies, Secret State: Timeline". BBC News. 17 October 2002. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "MI5 tactics under question". The Independent. 10 November 2002. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "No. 43343". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1964. p. 4969. 
  6. ^ "No. 45384". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1971. p. 5967. 
  7. ^ "No. 46919". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1976. p. 8023. 
  8. ^ "No. 48160". The London Gazette. 18 April 1980. p. 5815. 
  9. ^ "MPs, Lords and offices – UK Parliament". 21 April 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "Mr Philip Knights (Hansard)". Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Honorary graduates of Aston University". Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "Political Biographies, Constituency & MP Profiles, News, Online Bookshop". DodOnline. Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Lord Knights". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 4 March 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "No. 51008". The London Gazette. 27 July 1987. p. 9527. 

External links[edit]

Police appointments
Preceded by
Derrick Capper
Chief Constable of the West Midlands
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Dear