Was Southend police’s amalgamation with Essex really progress?

View of the past – the old Southend Police officers on a march

View of the past – the old Southend Police officers on a march

First published in News by

THIS Tuesday will mark the 45th anniversary of a highly significant event in Southend’s history, the end of the town’s own police force.

In 1969, Southend Constabulary, as it was called, became part of Essex and Southend Joint Constabulary. Five years later it was renamed, simply, Essex Police.

Proud coppers of the original Southend force didn’t approve the Government-imposed change, not that they had a say in such things.

Neither did the town’s then two MPs, Sir Stephen McAdden, in the East, and Paul Channon, in the West, who joined Southend Council in strong opposition.

But protests and petitions and public pleas were rejected.

Southend’s own police force, with roots back into the previous century, was no more.

There had been a police presence in the town since 1873, when the police station opened in Alexandra Street – its site is now a car park.

Southend Constabulary was formed when the town won county borough status on April 1, 1914.

The picture above, taken from the rail bridge and looking toward the lower half of Southend High Street – long before it was pedestrianised – dates from just ahead of the 1969 merger with Essex.

The huge turnout to see the marchpast by orderly rows of whitehelmeted men of the town’s admired Southend Police, clearly underlines the depth of public interest and appreciation.

The boys in blue, as many knew them, were heading for their headquarters in Victoria Avenue, which had opened in 1962.

In earlier decades, Southend Police had divisional stations in Leigh, Westcliff, Shoebury, as well as many tiny outposts, or police boxes as they were known, in various parts of the borough.

Prisoners facing charges appeared before Justices of the Peace in any of three courts behind the Alexandra Street police station.

Policemen of the distant past, survivors of a Southend of yesteryear, may feel that the price of “progress” is sometimes very high indeed, as police stations are closed, costs are cut and new-style Crime Commissioners are in charge, at the top.

Comments (8)

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9:43am Mon 31 Mar 14

Leighdweller says...

Now, that's something I didn't know. I'm not sure such a show of respect would be shown today.
Now, that's something I didn't know. I'm not sure such a show of respect would be shown today. Leighdweller
  • Score: 11

10:22am Mon 31 Mar 14

Blind Haze says...

It's good to see a picture of Southend high street without a bloody McDonalds.
It's good to see a picture of Southend high street without a bloody McDonalds. Blind Haze
  • Score: 11

11:48am Mon 31 Mar 14

scrounger‎ says...

And, the police in them days didn't let you ride your bike on the pavement
And, the police in them days didn't let you ride your bike on the pavement scrounger‎
  • Score: 6

11:49am Mon 31 Mar 14

Nebs says...

There is a lot of Southend Police Officers on that march. I wonder how a picture of todays Southend Police Officers would compare.
There is a lot of Southend Police Officers on that march. I wonder how a picture of todays Southend Police Officers would compare. Nebs
  • Score: 8

3:02pm Mon 31 Mar 14

SARFENDMAN says...

Gosh, was it that long ago? White helmets worn in summer and boot laces removed from the Bovver Boys when they arrived during one summer invasion. The other was hop across Warners Bridge as "not our problem" if there was an issue. That was Essex's problem.
Gosh, was it that long ago? White helmets worn in summer and boot laces removed from the Bovver Boys when they arrived during one summer invasion. The other was hop across Warners Bridge as "not our problem" if there was an issue. That was Essex's problem. SARFENDMAN
  • Score: 0

3:02pm Mon 31 Mar 14

Broadwaywatch says...

A wondemrful photographs of a once great and proud police force
A wondemrful photographs of a once great and proud police force Broadwaywatch
  • Score: 2

3:13pm Mon 31 Mar 14

emcee says...

And it's been downhill ever since.
And it's been downhill ever since. emcee
  • Score: 4

4:14pm Mon 31 Mar 14

runwellian says...

Nebs wrote:
There is a lot of Southend Police Officers on that march. I wonder how a picture of todays Southend Police Officers would compare.
The would all be unqualified community support people without any powers to arrest.

I bet the real qualified officers couldn't fill a mini bus!

No wonder Southend is no longer the place to be!
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: There is a lot of Southend Police Officers on that march. I wonder how a picture of todays Southend Police Officers would compare.[/p][/quote]The would all be unqualified community support people without any powers to arrest. I bet the real qualified officers couldn't fill a mini bus! No wonder Southend is no longer the place to be! runwellian
  • Score: 2

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