Notable Events In Week Fortythree

Ian Curley

Chief Constable Daniell

Hertfordshire Police Historical Society

This Week In History


Captain (later Lt-Col) Henry Smith Daniell was appointed the 2nd Chief Constable of Hertfordshire. He had a distinguished career in the army in India, and beat of 66 other applicants for the position. It was an inspired choice as Daniell would go on to transform Hertfordshire which had stagnated at the end of Robertsons tenure. Daniell brought in many reforms starting with the Administration system and employing Sergeant Clerks together with a Superintendent Clerk and putting the Force’s accounts on a proper footing straightaway. He was scathing of the Supervision particularly by Sergeants. He did however increase pay by 25% but then added a further increase based on Merit rather than length of service. His orders sometimes contained pertinent words of advice “Every man has two ears and one mouth. If he will listen just twice as much as he speaks he is likely to perform his duties in a more efficient manner”. Between 1841 and 1962 – 32 Police Stations were built for the Hertfordshire Constabulary – 16 of which were during Daniell’s time.


On the morning of 22nd October 1977, a report was received of a spillage of a cyanide solution in Rembrandt House in Whippendell Rd, Watford. It was necessary to evacuate the whole of the premises and a large number of houses downwind from the scene. The Fire Brigade with breathing apparatus were able to enter the premises and deal with the incident and the incident was declared closed within an hour.


It was alleged that PC 59 Fordham “did make a certain noise with his mouth with intent to insult on Thomas Walker of Watford in the high Street Watford”. The case was not substantiated as the said Thomas Walker was apparently the worse for drink and believe to be very hostile to police.

26/10/1968 Times

Cars in M1 crashes. There were 11 separate accidents involving 42 vehicles on a section of the M1 in Hertfordshire last night. The southbound carriageway was closed for hours and three people were taken to hospital. The motorway was blocked near Markyate and Aldenham near Watford. Wrecked cars littered the motorway for 7 miles and as police worked they lit flares to try to slow down traffic. Eight accidents occurred in the southbound lane and three in the northbound. Police said they had no idea what caused the pileup. Many of those involved in the accidents were students on the way to London from the Midlands and the North. Some of them were in their own cars, others were hitchhikers. A garage breakdown manager said “I saw one coachload of students tear through very fast and miss serious accident by inches, in front of it, a car was spinning across the road after hitting the back of another car which had ripped the roof off a third car.

October 26, 1990 Watford Observer

Shotgun terror in village bank. Armed raiders threatened to kill bank cashiers and a customer before snatching up to £300,000 on Wednesday. The raid at Barclays Bank in Kings Langley High Street took place at 3.15pm, just before closing time. Two masked men with sawn-off shotguns held a customer at gunpoint and demanded money from two terrified cashiers. The robbers forced them to open the safe in the secure part of the building and threatened to shoot all three if anyone pressed the alarm button.


The Chief Constable was taken seriously ill on Monday 18 October. He was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City where he has undergone a week of extensive tests. The early diagnosis was that he had suffered a stroke but subsequent tests during the week now indicate that this was not the case. A swelling has been found at the base of his brain, and he is to be transferred to the Royal Free Hospital, for further examination. (This news follows on from General Order 39 of 1999, outlining the sudden illness of the ACC) The Assistant Chief Constable was taken seriously ill on the night of 12 September. He was taken to a London hospital and following 36 hours of tests, underwent surgery to relieve a build up of blood at the base of his head. He was then on a high dependency unit for a week, but due to his excellent progress was able to be moved to a side ward earlier than anticipated. Whilst his condition is still critical, he continues to do well and hopes to be moved to a Hertfordshire hospital in the near future. The Constabulary’s best wishes go to him and his family. He continues to make a good recovery from his illness and is responding well to treatment. He and his family have asked that their thanks be expressed for all the messages of good will and continuing support received from colleagues. With the agreement of the Chairman of the Police Authority, in the absence of The Chief Constable, Mr Hughes , the Deputy Chief Constable, will be taking on the role and responsibility of Acting Chief Constable. It is recognised that the absence of both the Chief Constable and the Assistant Chief Constable has placed an additional burden on staff throughout the organisation and the Executive team are grateful for the way that everybody has responded to this difficult situation.
General Order 43 of 1999)

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