[ Policing in Victorian England: Essex County Constabulary. ] Manuscript volume containing 332 General Orders by reforming Chief Constable Major W. H. Poyntz, including one relating to the murder of Inspector Thomas Simmonds.

[ Essex County Constabulary; Major William Henry Poyntz (1838-1892). Chief Constable; the murder of Inspector Thomas Simmonds, 1885; Rochford ]
Publication details: 
[ Rochford, Essex Police Constabulary. ] Entries dated from the Chief Constable's Office, Chelmsford. 6 December 1881 to 30 October 1885.
SKU: 20778

179pp., foolscap 8vo, and contains 332 general orders by 'W. H. Poyntz | Major and Chief Constable'. The volume is entirely in manuscript, but is not in Poyntz's handwriting. It comprises 168 paginated pages, followed by an eleven-page index giving a one-line summary of the 'Purport' of each order. The volume is a ruled notebook, in original quarter binding of black cloth spine and marbled boards, with the words 'GENERAL ORDERS' printed on a label on the cover, with 'Rochford' written in manuscript beneath. Complete and entirely legible, on aged and worn paper, with a few loose leaves, and shaken in heavily worn binding. A detailed and informative volume, casting a fascinating light on Victorian provincial policing, he entries reflecting the exacting standards of the chief constable. Subjects include procedure, punishments, pay, registrations and promotions, leave, uniform ('Belts to be worn with Tunics and Great Coats', 'Winter and Summer Gloves'), 'Parade in Uniform Boots', 'the length of the Constables hair', drinking on duty, 'Gambling and raffling in Public and Beer Houses', transcriptions of letters from the Home Office, the giving of testimony, 'disused Mine Shafts', 'Boiler explosions'. The most significant entry relates to the murder of Inspector Thomas Simmonds: 'General Order 284 | 28th. January 1885 | The Chief Constable has much gratification in promoting P.C. 107 Alfred Marden to a 1st. Class and at the same time a “Merit” Class Constable for gallant and meritorious Conduct in having on the 20th. instant at Hornchurch within the Liberty of Havering atte Bower after his Superior Officer (Inspector Simmons) had been struck down by a shot from a revolver fired by one of three armed Burglars, whom they were about to search, Continued the pursuit of two of these men by himself, notwithstanding that while so doing two shots were discharged at him | The Conduct of this young Office reflects high credit on himself, and through him, on the Essex Constabulary'. General Order 314 (18 July 1885) reads: 'The Chief Constable directs that Superintendents and Officers in charge of Petty Sessions are to be very particular watching the manner that Constables give evidence when in the Witness Box. | Nothing looks worse than its being given in an indistinct and hesitating manner, and where such is apparent, instruction and practice should be afforded the officer. | A Constable must stand straight up at “attention” and not “fiddle about” with his hands in a nervous sort of manner. | As putting on the right hand glove after taking the oath seems rather to unsettle some officers, and as difficulty seems frequently to arise in replacing it, that part of General Order No. 166, dated 15th October 1883, relating thereto, is hereby Cancelled'. An example of 'Punishments' is issued 'for the information of Divisions' as General Order 291 (23 February 1885): 'P.C. 92. G. Hurrell (1st. Class) is – for having been found partially undressed and asleep in a hut while on duty at 2 A.M. on the 10th. instant, and for making a false preort against his Inspector – dismissed from the Force | P.C. 175 N. Paye (1st. Class) 128 A. Whalley (2nd. Class) and 138, A. Sweeting (3rd. Class) are – for not using proper diligence to return to their Station at Greys, when sent to London on duty thereby missing the train and remaining away all night – each fined half a days pay, viz: Paye 1s\11d Whalley 1s/8d, and Sweeting 1s/7d | This not being the first Case of the kind that has occurred, the Chief Constable wishes it to be clearly understood that any similar neglect of duty will be severely dealt with.' Born in Dublin, Poyntz joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1853 and reached the rank of Major, serving in Hong Kong, China, Japan and Woolwich. Chief Constable of Nottingham, 1872-1881; and Chief Constable of Essex, 1881-1887. For information on his career at Essex see Chapter 5 ('Major Poyntz makes Changes, 1881-87') of Maureen Scollan's 'Sworn to Serve: Police in Essex 1840-1990' (1993), according to which he put 'new ideas in action' and faced ' public order problems involving Salvation Army and Guy Fawkes festivities'. Under Poyntz 'officers of all ranks were reminded to call on important members of the community when they changed station', while Poyntz himself 'would often appear unannounced when cases were being heard by local justices, and sometimes commented unfavourably on the way his officers gave their evidence' (see G.O. 314 above). 'Major Poyntz was constantly reminding the superintendents of their responsibilities, and their need to check everything from the renewal of pedlars' certificates to the health of their men. They were even ordered to inspect the drains'.