One of our volunteers, Margaret George, has scanned the minute books of the Wolverhampton Watch Committee for references to the war, and we will cover some of these in forthcoming blog posts. This committee was responsible for providing a watch and for a newly appointed police sergeant. These minute books include statistics on crimes, annual reports of the chief constable, expenditure on police, personnel issues etc.
The first volume covers the period 1914 – 1915. As was reported in our post on the Police Force, 18 members of the Police Force were called up for active service on the outbreak of war. This led to a special meeting being called on 5 August 1914 to discuss action to be taken to bring the force up to normal strength. The Committee also discussed the provision to be made for the wives and children of Police Reservists whilst on naval or military services. Later that month, legislation was passed stipulating payments to be made to dependents of Police Reservists on active service or in the case of death of disablement. This Act was similar to one passed in 1900 on the occasion of the Boer War.
The Watch Committee reported on 19 August that the Wolverhampton Motor Cycling Club had offered their services as they had 80 members “with their own machines who could be useful to the Police Force during the Emergencies of War.” The Chief Constable undertook to take this offer up if necessary. The Watch Committee also noted the deaths in December 1914 of PC Moisey and PC Kent. Both men had widows, and the Committee discussed the question of an allowance to the respective women.
Further details from the Watch Committee will be covered in a future blog post.