Notable Events In Week Fortysix

Ian Curley

Hertfordshire Police Historical Society

This Week In History


In general orders on 12 November 1884 the following appeared-the Chief Constable has information which leads him to believe that many of the breweries in the county are practically open houses to the police and of those breweries, members of the force can obtain refreshment such as beer or stout free of charge. The Chief Constable desires it to be distinctly understood that this custom must cease at once, the fact of accepting liquor without payment from the brewery tends to place the members of the Constabulary in the power of the breweries, gives the police a deservedly bad name and most materially injures the efficiency of the force.


From 13 November 1977 to 17 January 1978, during the national withdrawal of labour by some members of the Fire Brigades union, 11 “green goddesses” emergency fire appliances and 133 servicemen were deployed in the Hertfordshire police district for firefighting duties. 25 Hertfordshire police officers per day were employed as liaison officers to the service units and attended just under 500 calls with these units. Although picket lines were formed at various fire stations throughout the county, the reasonable attitude of the pickets caused no police difficulties. There was one visitation by “flying pickets” from Essex and London to some of the stations but this was contained by police.


Crime continues to rise and Hertfordshire saw a rise in crime last year of two per cent, although it still remains one of the safest counties in England. Home Office figures for 1995 show that in Hertfordshire 55,891 offences were recorded last year, compared with 54,887 offences in 1994. The 1995 figures also show that Hertfordshire is one of only 16 counties in England and Wales with less than 8,000 offences per 100,000 people.

Saturday 13 October 1900 Herts Advertiser

NAVAL DESERTERS. Harry Churchill and Charles Balshall both pleaded guilty to being deserters from H.M.S. Minerva, now lying Chatham. Pc Housden said that the morning of 11th Oct., about three o’clock, was duty at the top of Victoria Street, when saw the two defendants come up that street. Witness stopped them. He noticed that Churchill was wearing naval boots, and also that some of his clothing was marked with very big letters. He then charged both of them with being deserters —either military naval. The Mayor (interrupting) : You mean from the Army or the Navy? Witness: Yes, sir. The Mayor: I should say the Navy or the Army if I were you (laughter). Witness continuing, said both of the defendants denied the charge, and said they were dock labourers and belonged to Manchester. As they seemed to know nothing of that place witness took them to the Police Station on suspicion of being deserters. On being detained and further questioned, they admitted their guilt.
Defendants were then remanded for a week in order that the authorities might be communicated with, the Mayor remarking that he could not understand why they should desert from the Navy.

Saturday 20 October 1866 Watford Observer

CHARGE OF EMBEZZLEMENT AT ST. ALBANS. James Jenner (27), draper, of Birmingham, was charged with embezzling the sum of three pence, the property of Messrs. William Fisk and James Fisk, his masters. Mr. Ludlow appeared for the prosecution; and Mr. H. T. Boult, instructed Mr. Annestley, for the defence. Mr. Ludlow stated the facts. He said the amount of the sum embezzled might seem small; but the amount was of no importance in judging of the gravity of the offence, which consisted of an abuse of trust placed on a servant by his masters. James Fisk: I carry on a drapery business in partnership with my father at St. Alban’s. The prisoner was in our service. He came about the 18th of July. On the 31st of August I marked some money in the presence of Mr. Superintendent Pike and the witness Howell. It was three penny pieces. I did this between six and a quarter past. The money so marked I gave into the hands of Mr. Superintendent Pike. I saw the prisoner about half-an-hour afterwards in my shop. I called him into the back parlour. When I first saw him he had nothing in his hands no coin in his hands. He followed me into the back parlour and I charged him with robbing us. He said I was quite mistaken. What reason can I have for robbing you. I have not finished with my customer; she is gone outside to fetch the money for a toilet cover. Here is three-pence halfpenny she paid me for some silk; she paid me a halfpenny too much. This is the money she gave me. I had the money on the table by my side. It was two penny pieces and three halfpence.

Shortly after, Mr. Superintendent Pike arrived. The prisoner had protested I was mistaken. When Mr. Pike came in, I again stated the charge to him, and after that Mrs. Howell came in. Mr. Pike asked Mrs. Howell what she had bought in the shop, what she had paid, and to whom. She said that that was not the money she had given to the prisoner. She looked at the coins before she said so. Mr. Pike asked the prisoner if he had any more coppers, and he pulled out a handful of coppers from his side coat pocket, and laid them the table. Mrs. Howell then picked out the three penny pieces she had given to the prisoner. These are the penny pieces. They are marked with a small mark which I myself put on them on the 31st of August at the Police Station. After that I gave the prisoner into custody. It is the duty of my assistants to put the small cash into a petty cash till and never into their own pockets. All sums under fourpence are put into the till. The prisoner knew well of the rule. It was an understood thing.

In cross examination he deposed that in consequence of his suspicions he induced Mrs. Howell, a female searcher, to come to the shop and purchase the silk with the marked coin. Mrs. Jane Howell and Mr. Superintendent Pike gave corroborative evidence. William Clark, an assistant at Messrs. Fisk’s corroborated the statement of the prosecutor as to the custom of putting sums under fourpence into the petty cash till. He deposed to seeing the prisoner receive the money from Mrs. Howell, and then turn round and place it in his right hand side pocket. Mr. Ludlow then summed the evidence, and, in doing so, contended that the prisoner must have known he was doing wrong. Was it ever the course of business that an assistant should put the money he takes in his own pocket? The custom had been shown to be a regular custom, and there was a reasonable way for believing that the prisoner had knowledge of that custom.

Mr. Boult said he hardly ever heard of a more trumpery case. There was no satisfactory evidence that the prisoner embezzled the paltry sum of three pence, which was the sole charge against him. Mrs. Howell having ordered something else the prisoner put the money in his pocket till he knew the amount of her purchases. It was natural under the sharp practice to which the prisoner was subjected that he was somewhat confused. Because he did not produce the identical money it was absurd to suppose that he had any intention to embezzle. There was no evidence against the prisoner of any other charge against his character; and under the circumstances he was astonished at the harsh and unfeeling conduct of the prosecutor in making so paltry a charge. He contended there was no evidence that the prisoner intended to appropriate the three pence to his own use, as he handed three pence back to the prosecutor. Even supposing him to be guilty, he had been in prison nearly two months, and that was surely a sufficient punishment.

A juryman asked if anything was known against the prisoner. The Chairman said that question had nothing to with the present enquiry, and an answer to it was precluded by the laws of evidence. The Chairman, in summing up, said the question was whether the prisoner intended to appropriate the money to his own use or to give it up to his master. The evidence of the facts appeared to be uncontradicted, and the only question was the prisoner’s intent. There could be no doubt that a plan was made to test the honesty of the prisoner. The chairman then read the evidence, and after some further remarks the jury retired to consider their verdict. After a long deliberation they returned verdict of Guilty, with a recommendation to mercy. Mr. Ludlow said that Mr. Pike had made some enquiries in reference to the prisoner, and perhaps the court might like to hear the result of them. The magistrates then consulted together.

The chairman said after a very careful enquiry you have been found guilty of a very serious offence. The jury have recommended you to mercy, and you have been in goal about six weeks. The magistrates have taken these facts into their consideration and we think that further imprisonment of six weeks with hard labour will meet the justice of the case. The court was crowded to excess during the hearing of the case and there were frequent manifestations of popular sympathy with the prisoner.

This page was added on 10/11/2020.

Add your comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!