600 Specials, 200 Scouts in policing roles

The work of 600 unpaid special constables sworn in in Bedfordshire was proving extremely valuable both to the police and the military authorities, Major Stevens, the county's Chief Constable, reported to the Standing Joint Committee on Saturday.

Under Mr Harold Allen a motor patrol had been organised which covered the whole county and Mr Charles Lindsell had taken charge of men watching a certain section of the Midland Railway. The military authorities had expressed their appreciation, even though on several occasions while patrolling the roads the special police had held up generals and other officers.

The protection of water works was something on which the Chief Constable wanted a ruling, however. The Inspector of Constabulary had advised that it was only the duty of the police to give the water works the protection they gave in normal times, but the Water Works Committee wanted the police to take the whole responsibility.

At Luton the military were undertaking the guarding of water works, while at Bedford the Corporation were paying for guards, and the responsible officers did not consider that the protection of water works came within the scope of their duties. At least the National Reserve were taking over railway protection.

Eventually the matter was left to Lord Ampthill and the Chief Constable to make the best arrangements for the next three months.

Meanwhile, with 19 members of Bedfordshire County Constabulary serving with the colours, about 200 Boy Scouts had come to the assistance of the county police by guarding the railways, acting as messengers at the various police stations and rendering other very valuable assistance.

And crime was also going down. The Chief Constable said 179 offences were reported to the police during the past quarter, for which 168 persons were summoned or apprehended. This was a decrease of 60 offences and a decrease of 59 persons compared with the same quarter of 1913.

There were eight cases of undetected crime, however, including three cases of fowl stealing at Gravenhurst and Luton Hoo.

[The Luton News, October 29th, 1914]