Agricultural labourers

A different role for police officers

Paul Watts

Manpower shortage in Hertfordshire Constabulary

I suspect that the following is a little known fact but nevertheless a very interesting insight into life in 1917. At the height of World War One Hertfordshire Constabulary was already suffering due to a manpower shortage. The Force Standing Joint Committee had established a minimum strength and no more officers were permitted to join the Armed Forces unless they were replaced by an officer who was released by the Military. Meanwhile officers due to retire and some who had already recently retired were compulsorily retained or recalled to the Force. However, as the following General Order makes clear the Police were not alone in suffering a shortage of men. Farmers were obviously struggling to run their farms and the shortage of Agricultural Labourers was deemed to be so serious that 15 Constables who had an agricultural working background were made available to local Hertfordshire farmers for up to 6 weeks. The Order stipulates who they were and under what circumstances their services could be called upon. There is no record of how many in fact were used by local farmers but the fact that the Constabulary went to the trouble of identifying suitable officers means that in all probability they were.

This page was added on 20/04/2016.

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