Gloucestershire Constabulary

Gloucestershire Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for policing the non-metropolitan county of Gloucestershire in England.

Gloucestershire Constabulary
Agency overview
Employees2,474 (March 2020)[1]
Volunteers358 Police Support Volunteers (August 2020)[2]
Annual budget£107.2m million (as of 2017-18)[3]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionGloucestershire, England, UK
England Police Forces (Gloucestershire).svg
Map of police area
Size1,024 square miles (2,650 km2)[4]
Legal jurisdictionEngland & Wales
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by
HeadquartersQuedgeley, Gloucester
Constables1,176, 113 special constables (August 2020)[2]
Police community support officers100[2]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive
Local Policing Areas
Website Edit this at Wikidata
Gloucestershire Constabulary vehicle pictured in 2016

The force formally covered the area of South Gloucestershire, however this was transformed to the newly formed Avon and Somerset Constabulary in 1974.[5]

The force serves 637,000 people over an area of 1,024 square miles (2,650 km2).[4] and covers a number of royal residences, as well as Cheltenham Racecourse and the headquarters of GCHQ.[6]

As of March 2020, the force consisted of 1,176 police officers, 100 police community support officers, 113 special constables and 358 police support volunteers.[2]


The force was founded in 1839, six hours after Wiltshire Constabulary, making it the second rural police force formed in Britain.[7] The force in its present form dates from 1 April 1974, when the southern part of Gloucestershire became part of the County of Avon and thus covered by the newly formed [[Avon and Somerset Police|Avon and Somerset Constabulary.[5]

In 1965, the force had an establishment of 1,010 and an actual strength of 867.[8]

Between 2010 and 2019, the force lost 238 officers due to Government budget cuts.[9]

From 2013 to 2019, specialist teams – roads, firearms and police dogs – operated in a "tri-force" collaboration with the Avon and Somerset, and Wiltshire forces.[10] In April 2019, this arrangement was ended by the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, following Avon and Somerset Police withdrawing from the alliance.[11]

In 2019, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services rated the force as 'inadequate' for crime reporting arrangements, after finding that over 7,900 incidents of crime in the county per year, and only 69.2% of violent crimes were recorded accurately.[12][13] The inspection also found 38% of victims were not informed when crime reports were cancelled.[14]

In 2020, the force opened a new £6.8 million police academy, the Sabrina Centre, on the grounds of the former Berkeley Nuclear Power Station.[9][15] This coincided with the force offering new Police Constable Degree Apprenticeships in partnership with the University of South Wales.[15]

Chief constablesEdit

  • 1839–1865 : Anthony Thomas Lefroy (first Chief Constable of Glos)[16]
  • 1865–1910 : Admiral Henry Christian[16]
  • 1910–1917 : Lieutenant Colonel Richard Chester-Master (killed in action 1917)
  • 1918–1937 : Major F.L. Stanley Clarke[17]
  • 1937–1959 : Colonel William Francis Henn[17]
  • 1959–1962 : John Gaskain[17]
  • 1963–1975 : Edwin White[17]
  • 1975–1979 : Brian Weigh[17]
  • 1979–1987 : Leonard Soper[17]
  • 1987–1993 : Albert Pacey[17]
  • 1993–2001 : Anthony J.P. Butler[17]
  • 2001–2010 : Timothy Brain[17]
  • 2010–2012 : Tony Melville[17]
  • 2012–2013 : Michael Matthews[17]
  • 2013–2017 : Suzette Davenport[17]
  • 2017–present : Rod Hansen

Officers killed in the line of dutyEdit

The Police Roll of Honour Trust and Police Memorial Trust list and commemorate all British police officers killed in the line of duty. Since its establishment in 1984, the Police Memorial Trust has erected 50 memorials nationally to some of those officers.

Since 1817 the following officers of Gloucestershire Constabulary were killed while attempting to prevent or stop a crime in progress:[18]

  • Parish constable Henry Thompson, 1817 (shot by men attempting to free a prisoner)
  • Police sergeant Samuel Beard, 1861 (died from injuries sustained attempting to arrest poachers)
  • Police sergeant William Morris, 1895 (fatally injured by men he warned about their conduct)


Day-to-day policing in the county is split into 55 local communities, organised by three Local Policing Areas each overseen by a superintendent: Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, Gloucester and the Forest of Dean, and Cotswolds and Stroud.[19] Each of these areas contains a Local Policing Team, providing an initial response to incidents, as well as a Neighbourhood Policing Team, which manage local concerns.[19][20]

Special ConstabularyEdit

As of March 2020, the force had 113 special constables,[2] who are mainly embedded in the Local Policing Teams and Neighbourhood Policing teams.[21] A number of officers have been upskilled in rural crime and the use of 4x4 off-road vehicles to enhance the forces capability in this area.[22]


In 2015, Gloucestershire police were able to show using biomechanical evidence that Robert Nowak was the driver of a car involved in a crash in 2013 in which his friend Michal Sobolak was killed. Nowak was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and seven years disqualification from driving, for Death by Dangerous Driving, Conspiring to Pervert the Course of Justice and Driving whilst Disqualified.[23][24][25]

Race and sex discrimination in recruitmentEdit

In November 2006, a tribunal ruled that the constabulary had illegally discriminated against 108 white male candidates it had rejected from its recruitment process solely because of their race and gender. Matt Powell, one of the "randomly deselected" candidates, took legal action and was awarded £2,500 compensation. The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the Equal Opportunities Commission who led the investigation stated that the Gloucestershire Police had unlawfully discriminated on the grounds of race and gender. The same illegal policy was also used by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.[26][27]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e "Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2020: data tables second edition". Home Office. 13 August 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c "Overview: Gloucestershire Constabulary". HMICFRS. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b "History of the force". Avon and Somerset Police. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Summary of policing". Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  7. ^ Johns, Adam. "Gloucestershire Constabulary the Second Oldest County Force in the United Kingdom". Gloucestershire Police Archives. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  8. ^ The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965
  9. ^ a b Boobyer, Leigh (30 July 2019). "How many police county should get from Boris's recruitment drive". GloucestershireLive. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Police dogs, firearms and road officers comes back in house after Tri Force disbanded". Wiltshire Times. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Tri-force alliance collapses after discussions 'ended without agreement'". 21 November 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Gloucestershire Constabulary fails to record almost 8,000 crimes a year, warns report". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  13. ^ Boobyer, Leigh (24 July 2019). "Gloucestershire police 'failing to record 8,000 crimes per year'". GloucestershireLive. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  14. ^ Mabe, Huw (27 October 2020). "'Concerns have been addressed' say police after crime reports wrongly cancelled". Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Gloucestershire police officers start degree apprenticeship". 30 April 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Early Policing in the Forest of Dean". Deanweb. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Chief Constables". Gloucestershire Police. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  18. ^ Police Roll of Honour Trust. "Police Roll of Honour Trust".
  19. ^ a b "Changes to policing in the county announced". 9 September 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  20. ^ "What we do". Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Special constables". Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Neighbourhood Policing officers and Special Constables receive training to drive off-road vehicles". 5 June 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  23. ^ "Latest Gloucestershire Cheltenham news - Gloucestershire Live". Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  24. ^ "Man and woman receive prison sentences for fatal road traffic collision in Cheltenham in 2013". Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  25. ^ Shammas, John (15 May 2015). "Police prove lying driver killed his friend - by using Virtual Reality". Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Force admits rejecting white men". BBC News. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  27. ^ "Police force admits discriminating against white recruits". Evening Standard. London. 21 September 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2020.

External linksEdit