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Avon and somerset police

The meaning of «avon and somerset police»

Avon and Somerset Police is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement in the county of Somerset and in four districts that used to be in the defunct county of Avon: Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

As of September 2017 the force had a workforce of 2,630 police officers, 2,275 police staff, 315 police community support officers and 340 special constables.[4] The constabulary provides service for over 1.6 million people and, in terms of geographic area of responsibility, is the 11th largest in England and Wales.

The police area covered by Avon & Somerset Police today can trace its policing heritage back to the very start of the modern policing system. The Municipal Corporations Act 1835 created municipal boroughs across England and Wales, each with the power to create a borough police force. Prior to this time 'policing' was largely unrecognisable from today's system with watchmen and parish constables providing variable levels of law enforcement, if any, driven largely by magistrates. As a result of the Act the following borough police forces were created within the current Avon and Somerset Constabulary police area: Bath City Police (1836), Bristol Constabulary (1836), Bridgwater Borough Police (1836), Wells City Police (1836), Glastonbury Borough Police, Chard Borough Police (1839), and Yeovil Borough Police (1854).[5]

However, outside of the new boroughs there was no modern police. Therefore, the government introduced the County Police Act 1839 which permitted county authorities to set up county forces to police areas outside of the boroughs. Following these Acts, Gloucestershire Constabulary was created in 1839 which covered what is now the north part of the current police area of Avon & Somerset Constabulary (South Gloucestershire). There was still some opposition to the new model of policing however, and rural Somerset had no police force until 1856.[6] The County and Borough Police Act 1856 mandated that county authorities must set up a constabulary.[7] Somerset Constabulary commenced policing the county in 1856 with Wells City Police and Glastonbury Borough Police merging into the new county force almost immediately, with Yeovil Borough Police following a year later.[8]

Later in the 19th century the Local Government Act 1888 required that all boroughs with populations of less than 10,000 amalgamate their police force with the adjoining county constabulary.[9] This signalled the end of Chard Borough Police who merged into Somerset Constabulary on 1 April 1888.[5] In 1940, Bridgwater Borough Police voluntarily became part of Somerset constabulary, the small force having a 101-year history, with the 20 officers of the borough police becoming Somerset County officers upon merger.[8]

During the 20th century the number of individual police forces across the United Kingdom was reduced across the country on grounds of efficiency. The Police Act 1964 gave the Home Secretary the power to enforce amalgamations but this was not required when Somerset Constabulary and Bath City Police voluntarily agreed to merge forming the Somerset and Bath Constabulary on 1 January 1967.[10] This resulted in 3 police forces left covering the geographic area which is now the responsibility of Avon & Somerset Constabulary; these being Somerset and Bath Constabulary, Bristol Constabulary and Gloucestershire Constabulary covering the extreme north. This situation ended 7 years later on 1 April 1974 following the implementation the Local Government Act 1972 which created Avon and Somerset Constabulary following the amalgamation of Somerset and Bath Constabulary with Bristol Constabulary and the southern part of Gloucestershire Constabulary.[5]

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