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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Neil Collingwood

The establishment of detectives in Staffordshire

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Hi Brian

I have read your history of the Staffordshire Force and also another history somewhere which agrees with yours; there is something though that seems not to tie in with a discovery I have made. I have a marriage Certificate for Herbert Moreton from the 'Mining Divison' (Bilston) dating from June 14th 1887 where he is clearly described as a detective. He was a former NCO in the army and went on to become a Police Sergeant. Your history states that detectives did not exist in Staffs until the 1890s. Do you have any possible explanation or has someone somewhere perhaps made a slight error with the date of the introduction of detectives? Thanks Neil  

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The information published on page 9 of the book "Staffordshire Police 150th Anniversary" states, "Whilst Captain Anson (Chief Constable), did not consider a detective branch throughout the county to be a necessity, he saw the advantages to be gained by employing officers on plain clothes duties. Accordingly, in 1894 he gave authority for ten constables to be engaged on enquiry and detective duties. These enquiry officers were paid a plain clothes allowance of four pence (2p) a day". The book is published by Staffordshire Police and is compiled using a number of archive sources including the minutes of the Standing Joint Committee.

Its worth bearing in mind that an individual seeking marriage could and can describe his/her "job" using whatever title he/she pleases. Perhaps Mr. Moreton occasionally did duty in plain clothes and took the view that whilst so dressed he was engaged in detective work. This practice may have been the norm prior to the year mentioned, or you man simply decided that "detective" on his marriage certificate sounded rather impressive. I hope this is helpful.


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Hi Dave, thanks for that; I confess that I did wonder if Herbert was not being entirely truthful in his description of himself as he was certainly not referred to as a detective in the 1901 census, or in 1911 by which time he had retired.

Thanks again


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