14th March 1915

Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established

Guernsey’s first island-wide police force was set up in response to the outbreak of the First World War.

The force that was established on 14 March 1915 wasn’t its first form of policing, though. A less formal network of constables had long been patrolling Guernsey’s various parishes. Their role was formalised in the 1800s, and they were joined by four uniformed assistant constables. These were the first full-time paid police officers on the island. The annual budget to cover their salary was £160, and they started work in April 1853.

Their numbers grew, and by the early 1900s, Guernsey had several smaller groups of constables, including a dozen in St Peter Port. While they provided a good service, the security implications of the First World War changed matters. A unified, paid force was, for the first time, considered a necessity.

Guernsey Police is born

The States of Deliberation voted to establish it on 30 October 1914. Its first staff went to work from rooms at Le Marchant Street on 14 March the following year.

At the outset, Guernsey Police employed 22 staff. This included two sergeants and corporals, and eleven constables of its own. The St Peter Port force seconded a further six constables to bolster the numbers.

The force worked under the direction of Chief Inspector Edwin Green, who had come to Guernsey from the Metropolitan Police.

The establishment of the island-wide force didn’t mean the days of the parish constables were over. They were retained, and worked alongside the new force until 1919. Communication between the different levels of law enforcement meant that the two frequently worked side by side.

When the war came to an end, the States of Deliberation assessed the work of the island-wide force, and asked whether the parish deputies were still required. It decided they were not – or at least not to the same degree. Most of their powers were taken away from them, and handed to the island-wide force.


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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st