Police Gazette (Great Britain and Ireland)

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The Police Gazette; or, Hue and Cry
Police Gazette or Hue and Cry 6 August 1831.jpg
The front page of Police Gazette or Hue and Cry 6 August 1831
Owner(s)College of Policing
Home Office

The Police Gazette; or, Hue and Cry, also known as The Police Gazette and Hue and Cry, was originally a weekly newspaper produced by the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Service from 1772[a]. Its primary purpose is to publish notices of wanted criminals with requests for information, and where appropriate to offer rewards.[1][2]. In recent years it became a bi-monthly publication produced by the College of Policing in London until it ceased publication in 2017.


The Quarterly Pursuit was first issued by John Fielding, chief magistrate of the Bow Street Police Court, in 1772. It was distributed free until 1793, when the following announcement was made:[3]

Hue and Cry, and Police Gazette, Has for many Years been sent, gratis, by the Chief Magistrate in Bow-Street, to the Principal Acting Justices of the Peace and other Persons connected with the Administration of Criminal Justice in different parts of England. It has been thought that this Paper would conduce more to the Design of its first Institution, if it was made more generally Public; which cannot be done, without exposing it to Sale, like the London Gazette and other Newspapers, it has accordingly been determined, that in future it shall be sold by the Hawkers and other Newscarriers in Town and Country, at the usual Price of other Newspapers. The Hue and Cry is at present published Every Other Saturday.[3]

Changes of title[edit]

The publication was repeatedly renamed, first to Public Hue and Cry. It became The Hue and Cry, and Police Gazette on 30 September 1797. It was renamed to Police Gazette; or, Hue and Cry on 18 January 1828. It became simply The Police Gazette on 1 April 1839.[4]

Responsibility for its original production rested with the Home Office. Editing was delegated to the Chief Clerk to Bow Street Magistrates Court, notably John Alexander, who edited the Gazette from 1877 until 1895. Responsibility for the Police Gazette was transferred to the Metropolitan Police ("Scotland Yard") in 1883.[2]

In recent years, responsibility for publication transferred to the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA), and then subsequently to the College of Policing.

Stated purpose[edit]

The purpose of the publication was stated on the front page in 1831 as follows:[5]

Containing the Substance of all Informations received in Cases of Felonies, and Misdemeanors of an aggravated nature, and against Receivers of Stolen Goods, reputed Thieves and Offenders escaped from Custody, with the time, the place, and every particular circumstance marking the Offence. The Names of Persons charged, who are known but not in Custody, and of those who are not known, their Appearance, Dress, and every other mark of identity that can be described. The Names of Accomplices and Accessories, with every other particular that may lead to their Apprehension. The Names of all Persons brought before the Magistrates, charged with any of the Offences mentioned, and whether committed for Trial, Re-examination, or how otherwise disposed of. Also a Description of Property that has been Stolen, and particularly of Stolen Horses, with as much particularity as can be given, with every circumstance that may be useful for the purpose of Tracing and Recovering it.

— Police Gazette[5]


Historically, The Police Gazette was published as follows:[2]

Section Frequency Content
Main Magazine Weekly crimes committed, information wanted
Supplement A Fortnightly details of active travelling criminals.
Supplement B Weekly particulars of convicts on licence, persons under police supervision and other wanted people.
Supplement C Fortnightly? wanted aliens.
Supplement D Fortnightly, (alternating with Supplement A) absentees and deserters from HM Forces.
Supplement E ? photographs of active criminals.
Supplement F - not issued?
Supplement G Daily deaths of people who had previously appeared in the Police Gazette.


The Police Gazette was circulated throughout the British Isles. Since an archive survives in New South Wales, Australia,[6] the Police Gazette may also have been circulated in countries governed by Britain around the world. However, local gazettes were printed by states in Australia (see e.g. the Victoria Police Gazette, which began in 1853).

Historical value[edit]

The Police Gazette recorded the history of crime; the role of the police; and major social events such as the penal transportation of criminals to Australia. The many references to personal names – of missing persons, criminals, army deserters and those deported and imprisoned – make it an important source for genealogy when census and marriage records prove insufficient.[6]

Surviving archives[edit]

The National Police Library holds all issues of The Police Gazette from the late 18th century to 2017. As more recent issues of this publication contain restricted information, only serving UK police can access recent issues via the library.

At least 61% of the total run of issues from 1772 to 1900 survives, archived by the initiative of local police forces, as well as by the British Library.[6]

Many of the Supplements between 1914 and 1965 also survive.[2]

It is also possible to purchase back issues online, dating back to one hundred years ago and earlier.


  1. ^ Another newspaper of the same name is said to have been published in Dublin by Dublin Castle, the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the Royal Irish Constabulary. The newspaper, possibly with variants, was circulated to other British territories including Australia.


  1. ^ The National Archives, Series Reference HO 75, 'Hue and Cry and Police Gazette', 1828-1845 http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=7630&CATLN=3&accessmethod=5&j=1
  2. ^ a b c d The Open University Archive, The Police Gazette Collection, ref GB/2315/POLGAZ http://libraryarchive.open.ac.uk/ead/html/gb-2315-polgaz-p1.shtml
  3. ^ a b "Hue and Cry, and Police Gazette". The Sun (not the modern newspaper). 23 November 1793. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  4. ^ "The Police Gazette". Publisher's Note. Adam Matthew Publications. 2012. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Police Gazette; or, Hue and Cry." No. 371. Saturday, August 6, 1831.
  6. ^ a b c Adam Matthew Publications, The Police Gazette, Parts 1 to 4 http://www.ampltd.co.uk/news/documents/PoliceGazette.pdf

External links[edit]