On 1st June 1967, Devon and Exeter Constabulary, Cornwall County Constabulary and Plymouth City Police amalgamated to become Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. Last year was the combined force’s 50th birthday.
To celebrate the event, last summer we challenged ourselves to find an image from each of the 50 years of Devon and Cornwall Police to share on Twitter every day for 50 days. Quite a large challenge for a collection where it is estimated only one-fifth is catalogued (meaning: there’s a lot of ‘stuff’ – we know at least most of it is wonderful and important ‘stuff’, we’re just not quite sure what it is or where it is or how it got here). This ups the stakes on a challenge with a need to find something in the Collections Management System (our database of what/where/who) for every year, and one consequence of this was the realisation that 1974 and a couple of years in the 2000s would just have to be missed. Nothing that was Data Protection/legally/ethically OK to share could be found catalogued in the collection from these years (without considerable research time being spent). Luckily in the first instance 1973 was a big one for the force, with a new Chief Constable and a brand-new Training College, so it got a double outing.
One of the outcomes of the challenge for the South West Police Heritage Trust was an understanding of the need to collect contemporary police objects and archives, as the collection. This is being acted on by Curator Hilary Bracegirdle with a ‘wish list’ of current and recent objects associated with policing and crime in Devon and Cornwall.
Below we’ve collected up all of the posts from last year for a whistle-stop image tour of the last 50 years.