County and Borough Police Act 1856

The County and Borough Police Act 1856[1] or the Police Act 1856[2] (19 & 20 Vict c 69) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was one of the Police Acts 1839 to 1893.[3] The Act made it compulsory for a police force to be established in any county which had not previously formed a constabulary.

The Act required that in any county where a constabulary had not already been established for all or part of the county, then the Justices of the Peace for the county should at the next General or Quarter Sessions held after December 1, 1856, proceed to establish a sufficient police force.

Where the Secretary of State received certified notice that an efficient police force had been established in any county or borough, then one quarter of the costs of pay and clothing for constables would be met by the Treasury.

However, boroughs maintaining a separate police force and having a population of 5,000 or less were to receive no financial support, thereby encouraging smaller forces to consolidate with the county police.

Finally the Act provided that the Cheshire Constabulary, which had been established by a private Act of Parliament in 1829 (10 Geo. 4, c.97) and amended by an Act of 1852 (15 & 16 Vict c xxxi), would be replaced by a force under the terms of the new Act.


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by the Short Titles Act 1896, section 1 and the first schedule.  Due to the repeal of those provisions it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
  2. ^ Section 2 of the Police Superannuation Act 1865 (28 & 29 Vict c 35) provides that, throughout that Act, this Act shall be distinguished by this short title.
  3. ^ The Short Titles Act 1896, section 2(1) and Schedule 2