York Minster Police

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York Minster Police
York Minster Police.jpg
The York Minster Police in 2010
York Minister Police Badge.jpg
Badge of the York Minster Police
Agency overview
Formed13th Century (1275), re-attested 2017
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York (York Minster), England, UK
Legal jurisdictionYork Minster and adjoining Precincts
Governing bodyYork Minster
General nature

Agency executive
  • Mark Sutcliffe, Inspector of Cathedral Police and Head of Security (Chief Police Officer)

York Minster Police is a small, specialised cathedral constabulary responsible for security in York Minster and its precincts in York, United Kingdom.[1]


The Liberty of St Peter and Peter Prison was formed in 1106,[2] and appointed its own officers (including constables) quite separately from the rest of the city of York.[3] Following the Minster fire in 1829, the Chapter of the cathedral ordered that "'Henceforward a watchman/constable shall be employed to keep watch every night in and about the cathedral", and bemoaned the lack of one previously.[3]

The Liberty was abolished in 1839, as a result of which any constables appointed for the Liberty would have been transferred to the new municipal borough of the city of York, and as the liberty ceased to exist it could no longer appoint constables. It is then that the first record is available of the employment of Thomas Marshall as a watchman, which lasted until 1854 at the salary of forty-one pounds and twelve shillings per year. The title of "Minster Police" was first recorded in 1855, when William Gladin replaced Marshall.[3]

Present day[edit]

There are now eight officers, and one Inspector, of the Minster Police. In addition to their policing role, the officers are the custodians of over 380 sets of keys, provide information and directions to tourists, oversee fire safety, and security for the movement of cash around the Minster.[4] The local territorial police force, North Yorkshire Police retains primacy of policing throughout the county including York Minster, being responsible for the investigation of all crime and leading on all major or serious incidents.[5]

In February 2017 it was reported that the Minster Police would be "given back powers of arrest after 80 years" by ITV News.[6] A former territorial experienced police officer was brought in to update the constables on their power and training and the Minster Police "can deal with situations appropriately at the right level". A ceremony was reported to take place in the Spring to mark this change.

The BBC News website reported that: "Powers were returned to the force following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Chapter of York and the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire [Police]. The memorandum recognises that although security provision inside the minster and its precinct remain the responsibility of cathedral constables, North Yorkshire Police will be responsible for investigating all crime. Any arrested people will be handed over to North Yorkshire Police for transport and processing and the force will be responsible for the submission of prosecution files. The Minster Police constabulary is thought to be the oldest continuing police service in the country".[7]

All officers have completed the Level 3 Certificate in Cathedral Constable Attestation.[8]

Uniform and Equipment[edit]

The uniform consists of white and blue shirts, black ties (for men), black and white cravats (for ladies) black pull-over jumpers, yellow high-visibility jackets, black boots and a peaked cap with blue and white Sillitoe Tartan or "dicing" as a cap-band. Female officers also wear this peaked cap, as opposed to the bowler cap which is worn by many British and Overseas Territories female officers[9]. Officers can also wear a stab vest with "YORK MINSTER POLICE" written on the back, to easily identify them as such. Rank slides are worn on the shoulders of the shirt, jumper and vest. They wear numerals on their epaulettes together with the Minster's crest of crossed keys surmounted by a crown and "YORK MINSTER POLICE" wording[10].

There is also a dark blue police tunic to be worn over the shirt, for more formal occasions or day-to-day policing.[11] If the constable has been awarded any decorations (medals) then their ribbons should be worn on the left breast of the tunic.

Officers carry radios (walkie-talkies) and can use earpieces.


The force is one of only seven Cathedral forces in the world and the Minster Police includes three female Constables.[6][citation needed] The Minster Police comprises eight Cathedral Constables and a Head of Security (who also doubles as the Police Inspector).[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Acid attacks - a Freedom of Information request to York Minster Police". WhatDoTheyKnow. 17 August 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Not just an ordinary copper". The Church Times. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "The Minster Police". York Minster. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  4. ^ Clark, Matt (19 April 2010). "Behind the scenes with York Minster's police". The Press. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  5. ^ "MOU between NYP and York Minster Police" (PDF). Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b "York Minster's cathedral constables given back powers of arrest after 80 years". ITV News. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  7. ^ "York Minster police given back power of arrest". BBC News. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  8. ^ Hobson, Br. Joseph Hobson Obl. CR, Joseph Hobson, Cathedral Beat, Cathedral Bobbies, Brother Joseph. "cathedralconstables.co.uk - Today's Minster Police". www.cathedralconstables.co.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  9. ^ https://yorkminster.org/geisha/inc/img.php/geisha/assets/images/attestationinner.jpg/900/497/crop.jpg
  10. ^ http://news.images.itv.com/image/file/1220607/stream_img.jpg
  11. ^ "York Minster Police - UK Emergency Vehicles". www.ukemergency.co.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  12. ^ "York Minster's Cathedral Constables receive police powers". York Minster. Retrieved 12 July 2017.

External links[edit]