Helston Borough Police (1836 - 1889)


Although Helston was mandated to create an organised police force, it continued to appoint parish officers until the 1850s when the increase in population and crime rate demanded the appointment of a full time head constable and a handful of part-time constables.

A popular pastime among drunken miners in Helston was the attempted strangulation of Head Constable Bishop, who found himself being throttled on many occasions while attempting to make arrests.

The force was amalgamated with the Cornwall Constabulary in 1889.

Information from Slates Directory 12 / 1852 states that the town prison was in Wendron Street and that the Gaoler was Thomas Richards.

The Helston Council Minute Book held in Helston Museum in 1957 records the following information:

3/8/1860 Mr Fitzsimmons was dismissed from office of policeman and gaoler for neglect of duty.
24/8/1860 Mr Fitzsimmons was reinstated as a policeman upon promising to be more cautious in the future.
1847 It was recorded that nine men were convicted at the Lent Assizes of 1847 for stealing oysters on the Helford River.
1863 A list of Constables was recorded as being appointed by West Kerrier Petty Sessions on 23/3/1863, this consisted of 41 constables and eight special constables.
1886 The Cornish Telegraph newspaper records the incident of a murder at Breague.

Exhibits at Helston Museum in 1957 included the following:

  • Three decorative truncheons of 1814, 1836/37 and 1837 with the names of Borough Mayors thereon.
  • Two Borough truncheons, one Mullion constable's truncheon, two small George III truncheons.
  • A general abstract from a statute book in a frame. Four tunic buttons of the Falmouth Borough Police which was disbanded in 1889.
  • Two photographs of John Wedlock, the last Helston Borough constable.
  • Police mantrap with locking device, 18" square by 9", made of iron.

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