Early policing in Rickmansworth 1841-1865
The town cage.
By ANDY WISEMAN
So keen was the town of Rickmansworth to see the formation of a county police force, that it petitioned parliament in 1840. Its eagerness to have men of a centrally controlled constabulary, pounding its streets, certainly wasn’t attributable to a lack of an existing policing presence. The minutes for the meeting of the Court Leet, held on 14th April 1841, recorded that fourteen parish constables were already in office. Of these, three policed the town itself with a further three allocated to West Hyde. The remaining eight were distributed in pairs across Chorleywood, Batchworth, Mill End and Croxley. The renewed appointment of such men on this date, was all the more significant as the Hertfordshire Constabulary had been formed two days previously. Perhaps the Court Leet knew that it would be some time before officers of the fledgling county force, arrived in sufficient number to make the parish constable system redundant. In fact it would be several years before any official record made mention of a Constabulary officer in the town. By 1846 at least, two constables of the Hertfordshire Constabulary were policing the town. It is likely that they worked from their lodgings, whilst permanent premises were sought. In the same year, Chief Constable Robertson and Inspector Evans from Watford travelled to the town to speak with the Vestry. The reason for their visit was to negotiate the use of the town’s cage, as a place where their men could detain those placed under arrest. The cage itself had been built in 1757 and was located behind four alms-houses on the western end of the High street. The Vestry agreed and the cage was leased to the Constabulary for an initial period of ten years.