Cheshire Constabulary

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Cheshire Constabulary
Cheshire Constabulary logo.svg
MottoBe safe, feel safe
Agency overview
Formed20 April 1857; 165 years ago (20 April 1857)
Employees2,088 Police Officers[1]
168 PCSOs[1]
Volunteers281 Special Constables[1]
Annual budget£169.8 million (2018–19)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCheshire, England
England Police Forces (Cheshire).svg
Map of police area
Size905 square miles (2,340 km2)
Population1.1 million
Legal jurisdictionEngland and Wales
Governing bodyCheshire Police and Crime Commissioner
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by
HeadquartersClemonds Hey, Winsford
Constables2,369 (of which 281 are Special Constables)[1]
Police Community Support Officers168[1]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive
Local Policing Units8
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Cheshire Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for policing the English unitary authorities of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Borough of Halton and Borough of Warrington. The force is responsible for policing an area of 946 square miles (2,450 km2) with a population of approximately 1 million.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts was appointed in 2021.[2] The deputy chief constable is Julie Cooke, appointed in April 2019.[3]


A constabulary was first formed in the county under the Cheshire Constabulary Act 1829 (10 Geo. 4, c.97) which was amended by the Cheshire Constabulary Act 1852. The passage of the County and Borough Police Act in 1856 led to the dissolution of this force and the creation of a second constabulary. Many of the officers continued to serve in the new force and there was clauses in the Act which allowed their pension rights to continue.

The first chief constable was Captain Thomas Johnnes Smith, late of the Bedfordshire Militia. The first full Cheshire Police Committee met at the Crewe Arms Hotel, Crewe, on 3 February 1857 and the new Cheshire Constabulary was officially formed on 20 April 1857.[4]

The first headquarters was established at 4 Seller Street, Chester. In 1862 this office was removed to 1 Egerton Street, Chester and remained there until 1870, when it was removed to 113 Foregate Street. In 1893, the Court of Quarter Sessions approved the building of a new Headquarters which was erected at 142 Foregate Street and designed by John Douglas, at a cost not exceeding £2,000. This continued to be used, together with the adjoining buildings, until 1967, when a new purpose-built Headquarters was opened at Nuns Road, Chester. This building served the constabulary until 2004 when the Headquarters building moved to a purpose-built complex at Clemonds Hey, Winsford.[4] In 1965, the force had an establishment of 1,359 and an actual strength of 1,329.[5]

It was proposed by the Home Secretary on 6 February 2006, that Cheshire should merge with the Merseyside Police, to form a strategic police force,[6] but these proposals were later abandoned.

The Museum of Policing in Cheshire preserves and researches the heritage of policing in the county.

In June 2022, The Cheshire Police announced that they will start using facial recognition technology in a bid to help identify offenders. The Technology will be used retrospectively to compare images such as CCTV against pictures held on the police national database.[7]


The incumbent Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner is John Dwyer, appointed in May 2021. Dwyer previously held the post from November 2012 to May 2016. From May 2016 until May 2021, David Keane held the office. The police and crime commissioner is scrutinised by the Cheshire Police and Crime Panel, made up of elected councillors from the local authorities in the police area. Before November 2012, the Cheshire Police Authority was the police governance.

Chief constables[edit]

The force has had a number of chief constables:[8]

  • Captain Thomas Johnes Smith (1857 to 1870) (First Chief Constable of Cheshire)
  • Captain John William Arrowsmith (1870 to 1881)
  • Colonel John Henry Hamersley (1881–1910)[9]
  • Lieutenant Colonel Pulteney Malcolm (1910 to 1934)
  • Captain Archibald Frederick Hordern (1934 to 1935) (Chief Constable of Lancashire, 1935–50)
  • Major Sir Jack Becke (1935 to 1946) (Knighted in 1944 Birthday Honours)
  • Godwin Edward Banwell (1946 to 1963)
  • Henry Watson (1963 to 1974)
  • William Kelsall (1974 to 1977)
  • George Edward Fenn (1977 to 1984)
  • David J. Graham (1984 to 1993)
  • J. Mervyn Jones (1993 to 1997)
  • Nigel K. Burgess (1997 to 2002)
  • Sir Peter Fahy (2002 to 2008)
  • David Whatton (2008 to 2014)
  • Simon Byrne (2014 to 2017)
  • Janette McCormick (acting; 2017 to 2019)
  • Darren Martland (2019 to 2021)
  • Mark Roberts (2021 to present)

Officers killed in the line of duty[edit]

The Police Roll of Honour Trust and Police Memorial Trust list and commemorate all British police officers killed in the line of duty. Since its establishment in 1984, the Police Memorial Trust has erected 50 memorials nationally to some of those officers.

Since 1788, the following officers of Cheshire Constabulary, or its predecessor organisations, were killed while attempting to prevent, stop or resolve a crime:[10]

  • Officer John Parry, 1788 (killed arresting a suspect on warrant).
  • Police Constable Charles Alfred Cartledge, 1894 (fatally injured stopping a disturbance).
  • Police Constable Alfred Kerns, 1900 (fatally injured during a struggle with two men).


The constabulary covers the council areas of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, and Warrington. In 2015, the structure of the force was changed to cover eight Local Policing Units (LPUs) across the county.

  • Chester
  • Crewe
  • Ellesmere Port
  • Macclesfield
  • Northwich
  • Runcorn
  • Warrington
  • Widnes

Basic command unit structure[edit]

Each area has several specialist teams, namely:

  • Local Policing Units, each with local neighbourhood policing teams and investigation teams. The units concentrate on responding to both emergency and non-emergency calls, preventing and detecting local crime and targeting offenders, building contacts in the local community, resolving problems by working with local organisations and individuals, and being visible and accessible.
  • Criminal Investigation Departments detect serious crime
  • Customer Service Desks ensure incidents are dealt with promptly and the public get a better service
  • Public Protection Units deal with domestic abuse, stalking and harassment, honour-based violence, elder abuse and child protection.
  • Intelligence Units and Pro-active Policing Units target persistent criminals
  • Partnership Development Units
  • Custody Investigation Teams, consist of a combination of interviewing police officers and civilian staff members who interview persons detained in the custody suite suspected of committing an offence.

Headquarters-based teams[edit]

The following centralised teams operate from force headquarters:

  • Central Roads Policing Unit
  • Centralised Crime Recording Bureau
  • Contingency Planning/Events Coordinators
  • Force Major Investigation Team
  • Specialised Support Units

Road policing[edit]

An ANPR traffic car
Peugeot 308 beat car

The Cheshire road system is made up of 3,417 miles (5,499 km) of highway. The constabulary is responsible for policing one of the longest stretches of motorway in Britain. The force patrols 214 miles (344 km) of the M6, M62, M53 and M56 motorways, which has 23 interchanges and four service areas. The M6 motorway across the Thelwall Viaduct carries 140,000 vehicles every 24 hours. Delays and incidents on the motorway can have a severe impact on the economic life of the entire North West Region.[11]

Air operations unit[edit]

The force no longer has an air operations unit. Since 2012 aviation support has been provided by the National Police Air Service.[12]

Historically, in December 2001, Cheshire Police began operating a Britten-Norman Islander fixed-wing aircraft. It was particularly suited to police aviation as it was able to carry a wide range of equipment and stay airborne for long periods of time. This equipment allowed it to operate during the day or night, in most weather conditions.

On 27 February 2009, the Constabulary confirmed that the Home Office had agreed to jointly fund the purchase of a new £1 million Eurocopter EC135 aircraft, to be operational 24 hours a day.[13] The fixed-wing aircraft was retired when the new helicopter came into operation.

The aircraft was operated by a team of civilian pilots, four police observers and one sergeant ensure it was available all year. The aircraft was used to conduct a wide range of policing work providing emergency responses to incidents involving threat to life, commission of crime and searching for missing persons. It also conducted deployments for non-crime searches, scene management at incidents and video evidence gathering.

On 18 July 2011, the North West Air Operations Group was launched. It was a regional collaboration between five forces and police authorities. The service dispatched aircraft from a regional command desk to incidents across Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and North Wales. The five forces in the North had four helicopters, based at four different locations throughout the North West, providing a service anywhere in the region, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Race and sex discrimination in recruitment[edit]

In February 2019, Cheshire Constabulary was found guilty of discrimination, having refused to give an applicant a job because he was a white heterosexual man. Despite the applicant, university graduate Matthew Furlong, being judged to have been "well prepared", he was nevertheless rejected for the job with the force falsely claiming that 127 of the other candidates had been equally suitable for the role, a claim an employment tribunal described as a "fallacy". The tribunal was told that Acting Chief Constable Janette McCormick believed "passionately about positive action" and it ruled that Furlong had been a victim of direct discrimination on the grounds of his sexual orientation, with the case believed to be the first in the UK of an organisation misusing positive action to discriminate illegally.[14]


Cheshire Constabulary is a partner in the following collaborations:

Crime statistics[edit]

Between 2005 and 2007, Cheshire Constabulary's crime statistics for recorded crimes were:[15]

April 2005 – December 2006 April 2006 – December 2007 Percentage Change
Burglary (dwelling) 3657 3333 −9%
Burglary (other) 4960 4566 −8%
Theft from vehicle 6382 5472 −14%
Theft of vehicle 2645 2195 −17%
Violent offences 14942 14038 −6%
Other offences 40524 38575 −5%
Total crime 73110 68179 -7%

Cheshire Constabulary and the media[edit]

During 2005/06, the force was featured in the BBC TV series Traffic Cops.[16]

Former Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy called for the legal age of buying alcohol to increase to the age of 21 as a result of the Garry Newlove murder in 2007.[17]

Series 3 of 999: What's Your Emergency?, which aired in mid 2016, followed officers from Cheshire Constabulary alongside Ambulance crews from the North West Ambulance Service.[18]

During 2017, Cheshire Constabulary was featured in series 12 of Channel 5' TV programme Police Interceptors.[19][20]

In early 2019, a ten-part series focusing on the work of Cheshire Police's Vehicle Maintenance Unit aired on the TV channel Dave.[21]

In 2021 a new spin off of the show Motorway cops started following the roads and crime team in the series Motorway Cops:Catching Britain's speeders again for a Channel 5's commission, [22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Police Service Strength". Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Chief Officer and Support Staff". Cheshire Constabulary. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke". Cheshire Constabulary. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b Cheshire Constabulary: History of Cheshire Constabulary Archived 10 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 27 May 2010)
  5. ^ The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965
  6. ^ "Police mergers outlined by Clarke". BBC News website. 6 February 2006. Archived from the original on 8 February 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  7. ^ Smith, Cachella (16 June 2022). "Cheshire Police to roll out facial recognition technology". Police Oracle. Police Oracle. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Our History". Cheshire Constabulary website. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  9. ^ "History of the Cheshire Constabulary" (PDF). Museum of Policing in Cheshire. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Police Roll Of Honour Trust". Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Road policing". Cheshire Police website. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2007.
  12. ^ "About Us | National Police Air Service". Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Aircraft Purchase=Chester Chronicle". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  14. ^ Hardy, Jack (22 February 2019). "Cheshire Police found guilty of discrimination after rejecting white heterosexual man for job". The Telegraph – via
  15. ^ "Crime statistics". Cheshire Police website. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2007.
  16. ^ "Traffic Cops". Cheshire Police website. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2007.
  17. ^ "Police chief urges alcohol action". BBC News website. 15 August 2007. Archived from the original on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  18. ^ "999 What's Your Emergency? episodes filmed in Warrington to begin airing next week". Warrington Guardian Website. Archived from the original on 2 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Police Interceptors". Cheshire Police website. Archived from the original on 13 May 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Police Interceptors in Chester chronicle". Chester Chronicle. 16 March 2017. Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Cop Car Workshop". Dave TV Channel. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  22. ^ . channel 5 UK Retrieved 22 August 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]