Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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Cambridgeshire Constabulary
MottoCreating a safer Cambridgeshire
Agency overview
Formed1836, 1965 (merger)
Preceding agencies
Annual budget£134 million (2018)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCambridgeshire & Peterborough, England, United Kingdom
Map of police area
Size1,311 square miles (3,400 km2)[1]
Population0.856 million[1]
Legal jurisdictionEngland and Wales
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by
HeadquartersHinchingbrooke, Huntingdon
Police officers1,383[2]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive
  • Nick Dean, Chief Constable
Area Commands
Website Edit this at Wikidata
Cambridgeshire Constabulary's HQ in Huntingdon

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is the local territorial police force that covers the county of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough unitary authority. It provides law enforcement and security for an area of 1,311 square miles (3,400 km2) and population of 856,000 people,[1] in a predominantly rural county. The force of Cambridgeshire includes the cities of Cambridge, Ely and Peterborough, the market towns of Chatteris, Huntingdon, March, Ramsey, St Ives, St Neots, Whittlesey, and town and Port of Wisbech. Its emblem is a crowned Brunswick star containing the heraldic badge of Cambridgeshire County Council.[3]

According to a government report in July 2018 on policing numbers,[4] the force consists of 1,383 police officers (giving the county a ratio of 163 officers per 100,000 people), 111 police community support officers and 778 members of staff. Together with 229 special constables and 84 police support volunteers. It had a budget in for the year of 2018 of £134 million,[5] of which £78.4 million (58.5%) came directly as an annual grant from the Home Office and the rest from local council taxes.

The chief constable is Nick Dean. The force is overseen by the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).[6]

History & background[edit]


The origins of Cambridgeshire Constabulary date back to 1836, when the first police force in what is now the current boundaries of the force area was set up in the city of Cambridge under the name Cambridge Borough Police. This was later followed in Ely in 1841 by the magistrate of the town, as the Isle of Ely Constabulary covering Ely, Chatteris and March.

The boroughs of Huntingdonshire and Wisbech and city of Peterborough did not start their own police forces until 1857, under the County and Borough Police Act 1856, which required each borough to have its own local police force. Wisbech Borough Police came under the authority of the Isle of Ely Constabulary in 1889. In 1949, the two forces that covered the city of Peterborough; the Liberty of Peterborough Constabulary and the Peterborough City Police merged to form Peterborough Combined Police. Cambridge Borough Police was renamed Cambridge City Police in 1951, when a local force called Cambridgeshire Constabulary was formed to provide policing to the rural area around the city that was not covered by the borough police.

Mid-Anglia Constabulary to Cambridgshire Constabulary[edit]

In 1965, all five forces that exist in the Cambridgeshire area (Cambridge City Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Isle of Ely Constabulary, Huntingdonshire Constabulary, and Peterborough Combined Police) amalgamated to form the new Mid-Anglia Constabulary. The force was renamed Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1974, when the new non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire was created by the Local Government Act 1972 with identical boundaries to the Mid-Anglia Constabulary area.

In 2001 the constabulary conducted one of Peterborough's biggest police enquiries following the racist murder of teenager Ross Parker.[7]

2002 saw the Soham murders, an event that led to the biggest investigation in the history of Cambridgeshire police and one of the most expensive in the country, costing £3.5million.[8]

Past and current collaboration[edit]

In March 2006, as part review on policing nationally the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke proposed the creation of an East Anglian force merging Cambridgeshire with Norfolk and Suffolk. While Norfolk and Cambridgeshire supported it, Suffolk would have preferred to have Eastern Coastal force with Norfolk and Essex. Essex on the other hand wanted to stay alone. However, these proposes were scrapped after a cabinet reshuffle with John Reid as the new Home Secretary.

Since 2010, the force has been collaborating with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary to form a mid-Anglia "triforce" with various departments collaborating to make local efficiencies with resources. Areas that have been collaborated include Human Resources, Information Technology, Major Crime Unit, Dog Unit, Tactical Firearms Unit, Information Management Unit, Tickets and Collisions Office, Road Policing Unit, Scenes of Crime and Procurement.

There is also collaboration on a seven-force function with the adjacent forces of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent with serious incident, counter terrorism and intelligence under the regional organised crime unit, the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU). Vehicle procurement is done in association with Thames Valley Police, British Transport Police and Civil Nuclear Constabulary as well as Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire under the Chiltern Transport Consortium.[9]


Chief constables[edit]

Cambridgeshire Constabulary (1851)
  • 1851–1876 : Captain George Davies[10]
  • 1877–1888 : Captain Reginald Calvert[11]
  • 1888–1915 : Charles J D Stretten[11]
  • 1915–1919 : Lt-Col Alan G Chichester[11]
  • 1919–1935 : William V Webb[11]
  • 1935–1941 : W Winter[11]
  • 1941–1945 : W H Edwards[11]
  • 1948–1963 : Donald C J Arnold*[11]
  • 1963–1965 : Fredrick Drayton Porter[11]

*Arnold had been acting chief constable since 1946

Mid-Anglia Constabulary (1965)
  • 1965–1974 : Frederick Drayton Porter
Cambridgeshire Constabulary (1974)
  • 1974–1977 : Frederick Drayton Porter
  • 1977-1981: Victor Gilbert
  • 1981-1993: Ian Kane
  • 1994–2002 : Dennis George "Ben" Gunn
  • 2002–2005 : Thomas Lloyd[12]
  • 2005–2010 : Julie Spence
  • 2010–2015 : Simon Parr
  • 2015–2018: Alec Wood
  • 2018–present: Nick Dean

Officers killed in the line of duty[edit]

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.

The following officers of Cambridgeshire Constabulary were killed while they were on duty, or returning to / from duty:[13]

Name Rank Age Date of Death Circumstances
Thomas Saunders Lamb Constable 28 23 December 1841 Found drowned in the River Ouse on 16 February 1842, after going missing from his beat in the early hours of 23 December 1841, when it was suspected he was assaulted by several persons and thrown off a bridge into the river.
Richard Peak Constable 24 18 August 1855 Went missing from his beat at Wicken in the early hours in suspicious circumstances, he had earlier been involved in a disturbance and it was suspected he was murdered by a local gang but his body was never found.
Francis James Willis Detective sergeant 35 4 June 1930 While questioning a student at King's College, Cambridge, about his possession of a firearm, the suspect produced a pistol and shot his tutor, the officer attempted to arrest him but was shot twice and died the next day.
Reginald Nicholson Special commandant 68 15 November 1945 Died as a result of injuries sustained when the police car in which he was travelling to a special constabulary conference was in a head-on collision with an armoured car at Melbourn.
William H. Edwards Chief constable 44 25 November 1945 Died as a result of injuries received on 15 November when the police car in which he was travelling to a special constabulary conference was in a head-on collision with an armoured car at Melbourn.
Raymond George Bowland Sergeant 34 9 April 1957 Died from an infectious disease contracted while performing search duty.
Anthony Allder Constable 39 19 January 1966 Died from severe head injuries received on the night of 17 January when he was in collision with a car while on bicycle patrol on his beat at Gamlingay.
Dennis John Spackman Constable 34 21 February 1967 While on motorcycle patrol at Meldreth, he lost control of his machine, which left the road and crashed through a fence and he was thrown into a concrete post and fatally injured.
Kenneth Hunt Detective chief inspector 48 23 October 1981 Killed while returning to police headquarters after an investigation, when he lost control of his unmarked police car while overtaking a lorry and a car and his vehicle ran off the road into a Fenland waterway near Ramsey.
Edward Charles Reynolds Constable 47 28 November 1984 Whilst engaged on an extended tour of duty with a Police Support Unit, during the national miners' strike, at Tilmastone Colliery in Kent, he was on standby in a police van when he collapsed and died of heart failure.
Alan John Lee Constable 37 10 September 2002 Killed in a road traffic accident whilst reporting for duty at Thorpe Wood, when his motor scooter was in collision with a bus outside the police station.[14]
Andreas Giovanni Newbury Constable 34 5 February 2003 The officer was at the rear of his marked police car on the hard shoulder of the A1 motorway near Alconbury, preparing to protect the scene of a vehicle collision, when a passing car spun out of control in the icy road conditions and struck the officer, causing multiple injuries from which he died at the scene.[15]
Karen Paterson Constable 44 6 January 2012 Died when her car was in collision with another vehicle in the early morning at Langtoft, Lincolnshire, whilst returning home from night duty at Peterborough.[16]
Sharon Garrett Constable 48 6 June 2014 Whilst driving home from duty her car was involved in a collision with two other cars and a lorry. She sustained fatal injuries during the collision. DC Garrett joined Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1991 and served in a number of roles, most recently investigating complex fraud offences in the economic crime unit[17]


The head of the constabulary is Chief Constable Nick Dean, a former assistant chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary who came into the role as chief constable in October 2018. His deputies are head of investigations Deputy Chief Constable Jane Gyford, formerly a commander of the City of London Police and head of operations Assistant Chief Constable Vicki Evans, previously the Assistant Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police.[18] One notable former chief constable is the current Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence OBE QPM, who was chief constable from 2005 to 2010.

The constabulary headquarters is based in the Huntingdon suburb of Hinchingbrooke, which is home to the force executive board, information management and the force control room. The constabulary also works together with eleven police stations throughout the local policing area. They are: Cambridge (known simply as Parkside, after the street it is based on), Histon, Sawston, Ely, Cambourne, St Ives, Huntingdon town, St Neots, March, Wisbech, Hampton and Peterborough (known as Thorpe Wood, after the local nature park). It has a local police training facility in the parish of Abbots Ripton, near Alconbury (known as Monks Wood, after the local national nature reserve).[19]

In local policing management, the force area is subdivided into two areas (also called divisions) and are known simply as North and South. Northern local policing headquartered at Thorpe Wood, covers the city of Peterborough and the district of Fenland.[20] Southern local policing is headquartered at Parkside, and it covers the districts of Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire, East Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.[21]


Prior to 2012, Cambridgeshire Constabulary was overseen by a police authority that comprised 17 members. This was made up of nine district councillors, of which seven were nominated by Cambridgeshire County Council and two by Peterborough City Council, three magistrates, nominated by the county's magistrates' courts committee; and five independent members, chosen from the community.[22] However, In 2011 the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 was passed by Parliament which abolished Police Authorities in favour of an elected police and crime commissioner (PCC). On 15 November 2012, elections took place in England and Wales to elect a PCC for each Police Area. In Cambridgeshire, the winning candidate was Conservative Sir Graham Bright, former MP for Luton. The Cambridgeshire PCC is scrutinised by the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Panel, made up of elected councillors from the local authorities in the police area.

PEEL inspection[edit]

His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) conducts a periodic police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) inspection of each police service's performance. In its latest PEEL inspection, Cambridgeshire Constabulary was rated as follows:[23]

  Outstanding Good Adequate Requires Improvement Inadequate
2021/22 rating
  • Recording data about crime
  • Protecting vulnerable people
  • Developing a positive workplace
  • Good use of resources
  • Preventing crime
  • Treatment of the public
  • Managing offenders
  • Investigating crime
  • Responding to the public

In popular culture[edit]

In 2019, the constabulary was involved in the Channel 4 reality programme Famous and Fighting Crime[24] where five personalities Penny Lancaster, Jamie Laing, Katie Piper, Sandi Bogle and Marcus Brigstocke acted as special constables for the force.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Overview: Cambridgeshire Constabulary". HMICFRS. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2018". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  3. ^ East of England Region Civic Heraldry of England and Wales (retrieved 7 December 2021)
  4. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2018". Home Office. 16 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Finance". Cambridgeshire Constabulary. 16 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Contact Us". Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner. 16 July 2019.
  7. ^ ROSS PARKER TRIAL: Cold-blooded, racist murder – Peterborough Telegraph
  8. ^ Police get extra £3.5 million for Soham inquiry – Telegraph
  9. ^ "S22A Agreement under the Police Act 1996 (as amended) for the amended collaboration agreement for the Chiltern Transport Consortium between the nine corporations sole (the Chief Constables of Bedfordshire Police, British Transport Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Hertfordshire Constabulary, Thames Valley Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Hertfordshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police". Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner. 17 May 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  10. ^ Emsley, Clive. The English Police: A Political and Social History. p. 76.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Stallion, Martin (1999). The British police : police forces and chief officers, 1829-2000. David Wall, Police History Society. Bramshill: Police History Society. ISBN 0-9512538-4-0. OCLC 42407304.
  12. ^ "Police chief quits after admitting a 'moment of foolishness'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Police Roll of Honour Trust". Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  14. ^ "ACCIDENT: Policeman died in scooter crash". Peterborough Today. 12 September 2002. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  15. ^ "INQUEST: Ice patch blamed for A1 horror". Peterborough Telegraph. 17 October 2003. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  16. ^ MCERLAIN, Ken (12 January 2012). "Tributes as Peterborough police officer killed in Langtoft collision". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Wyton lorry death crash woman was Cambridgeshire police officer". BBC News. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Senior management". Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  19. ^ Sansom, Kath (28 June 2018). "Volunteer police cadets from Meadowgate School in Wisbech enjoy a trip to police training centre". Wisbech Standard. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  20. ^ "City to get new police chief". Peterborough Telegraph. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  21. ^ Ryder, Alastair (29 January 2020). "All the ways Cambridgeshire's new top cop will be tackling crime across the county". Cambridgeshire Live. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  22. ^ About the Authority Archived 2 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine Cambridgeshire Police Authority (retrieved 9 December 2007)
  23. ^ "PEEL 2021/22 Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy: An inspection of Cambridgeshire Constabulary" (PDF). His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. 21 June 2022. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  24. ^ Famous and Fighting Crime, retrieved 18 June 2020
  25. ^ Pengelly, Ella (8 February 2019). "When is Famous and Fighting Crime on Channel 4?". Cambridgeshire Live. Retrieved 18 June 2020.

External links[edit]