5th March 1942

Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested

Guernsey is probably the only state in the world that can claim its entire police force was arrested in one day.

It happened half way through the occupation when, on 5 March 1942, two officers were caught stealing from German stores. They were taken to the German Police Headquarters for questioning. Soon after, all of their colleagues – without exception – were rounded up and put under arrest.

Most were released later the same day, but not necessarily because they had nothing to hide. The Germans continued their investigations and several faced trial. Some were even tried twice: once for stealing from German supplies, and then a second time for stealing civilian stocks.

Several were convicted of one or both crimes and imprisoned in either France of Germany.

Contemporary account

Albert Lamy, who was Chief Officer of Guernsey Police from 1942 until 1965, later wrote about the problems this caused (link is a PDF).

You can well imagine how we, who had to make the enquiry into this matter, felt. On the one hand the whole Force had been badly let down, but on the other hand we had all been pals for so long, and this did not make a distasteful task any easier. However they were sentenced to terms of imprisonment to run concurrently with their German sentences, and the majority of them served these sentences either in France or Germany. One member was so badly knocked about in Germany that he died from his injuries. We were then left with a very depleted Force. The whole of the civilian population had little room for us, and we then had to pick up from scratch.

Four months later, the issue arose again. The new Chief of Police was arrested for handling some of the stolen goods. At that point, Lamy himself was appointed to the role that he would retain for the next 23 years. He died in 1975.


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