Meet the people looking after the police archives
PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:30 05 March 2019
Kept under lock and key in the basement of Norfolk Constabulary's HQ, among the old case files and forgotten stationary is also a treasure trove of archived material giving a fascinating insight into the force's history.
Set up in 1989 to mark Norfolk Constabulary’s 150th anniversary, the archive was created when material was bought to the force’s HQ from across the county.
The archives then fell into the care John Mason, a retired police officer who spent hours curating material and sourcing items from individual police stations all over Norfolk.
Today, the archives -which contain material dating back to 1836- are run by retired police officers who volunteer their time to maintain the archive, document its content and help members of the public to research history on family members who once served in the force.
On such occasions historians have unearthed numerous untold stories from the force’s history, from heroic officers who plucked bodies from rubble during the Second World War to officers who travelled abroad to catch criminals.
One such discovery found the first international arrest involving telegraphy was made by Great Yarmouth Borough Police in 1882, when officers from the force travelled to Cape Town, South Africa to collect wanted man John Robert Durrant.
The archives are also home to numerous artefacts which have been sourced by historians or donated by the public. Such items include decorative truncheons owned by former Chief Constables, police helmets, bicycles, lanterns, swords and uniforms one of which dates back to 1880’s.
John Smith, a retired police press officer who now helps care for the archive said: “If the public have any interest in family trees or relations that were in the Norfolk Police then we would welcome them to contact us and we may be able to assist them in building up their family trees.
“Or if anybody has any photographs or memorabilia from the past 170 years, then please get in contact with us,” he said.
• To find out more about a former officer you can contact the historians at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting
(a) the officer’s name with the book and page reference number,
(b) your postal address and telephone number
(c) the nature of your interest in the officer e.g. relative.
Or by writing to
C/O Facilities Department
Jubilee House, Falconers Chase
Please bear in mind historians are volunteers and enquiries may take up to four weeks to respond to enquiries.