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Mayor Cllr Richard Townsend selects the Special Constabulary badge as Object of the Month at Bishop’s Stortford Museum

Bishop’s Stortford Museum is pleased to welcome back Object of the Month to its Uncovered Gallery and the pages of the Indie.

The feature returns with an artefact chosen by the mayor of Bishop’s Stortford, Cllr Richard Townsend.

“When asked to consider some artefacts in our extensive museum, the Special Constabulary badge caught my eye as I served a number of years in Y division throughout Enfield Edmonton, Southgate, Cheshunt and Waltham Cross,” says Richard.

“During that time I experienced many wonderful and some horrific and intriguing events. I worked with officers from all parts of the Metropolitan Police and their civilian support staff at police stations across the ground.

“I worked several shifts every week, sometimes alone and other times paired with the area car (now intervention) or in the Panda cars and the Sherpa van, collecting and delivering people and equipment around the district and beyond.

“Seeing this medal also reminded me of the numerous attendances at central London events, participating in crowd and traffic control, attendance at crown and magistrates’ courts presenting evidence, logging incidents, writing reports and serving all factions of the community.

The Special Constabulary badge
The Special Constabulary badge

“I especially enjoyed night shifts, which were always active as we never knew what would be next and the work was always challenging but sometimes frustrating.”

Richard adds: “So much has changed over the years in the police service, but being called to serve, enforcing the law with balance and impartiality, making a difference to people when needed and really caring about the community set me up for a fascinating and intriguing, multifaceted career.”

During the First World War, the regular police force was much reduced due to large numbers of policemen serving with the armed forces. The special police force had to take on extra duties, a fact acknowledged by the then Earl of Essex and Hon Chief Commandant of the Special Constabulary.

The Hertfordshire Mercury of August 14, 1915, published a letter the Earl had sent to Special Police Section Leaders in which he said: “I shall be glad if you will impress upon the special constables of your respective sections that they are rendering valuable service to the county and that the duties they are now performing are of great assistance and a real help at a time when it is greatly needed.”

The normal Special Constabulary badge did not have a date on, but the one in Bishop’s Stortford Museum was issued marked 1914, in recognition of their service. Sadly, the museum records do not show who it belonged to.

It is now on temporary display, with other past and upcoming Objects of the Month, in the Uncovered Gallery on the first floor of the Bishop’s Stortford Museum at South Mill Arts.

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