Service Record G Bakewell

P.C.36 George Bakewell joined Birmingham Borough Police 30 June 1840 and was posted to the First Division (Deritend and Sparkbrook)George Bakewell remained a constable for just 15 months and soon acquired a lengthy disciplinary record!
Date Offence Action taken
13 August 1840 Being two hours absent from his beat Admonished & cautioned
23 August 1840 Neglecting to fold up his bedding Admonished & cautioned
26 August 1840 Loitering and gossiping on his beat Admonished & cautioned
27 August 1840 Absent from his beat 1 hour and found at the door
of a public house off the division and under the influence
of liquor and having a crowd around him and drawing
his staff and threatening his sergeant
Fined two days pay
5 September 1840 Loitering and talking at the end of his beat with
P.C. Copperthwaite
8 September 1840 Being drunk and incapable of doing his duty at 12am Fined 1/-
15 October 1840 Drunk when coming off duty at Fined 2 days pay
16 October 1840 Late for weekly inspection of clothing Admonished
6 November 1840 Absent from section house until 1.40am Admonished and cautioned
PC George Bakewell resigned from the Birmingham Borough Police on 23 October 1841.

The record of this particular officer is interesting because, in 1842, ex P.C. Bakewell wrote a book “The Observations on the Construction of the New Police Force” (he added an observation – “Late a Constable for the Borough of Birmingham, and for the counties of Warwick, Worcester, Salop and Stafford). It is interesting to note that policing began in 1835 and by 1842 George Bakewell had served in 5 different police forces and had resigned from 5 forces!

In his book, George Bakewell wrote:

“I feel that I cannot do better than furnish a brief narration of near eighteen months servitude in the Police Force at Birmingham and I doubt not it will then become apparent that persons of the most abandoned character have been admitted into the service in question, whilst others who`s characters have been good have only entered it to accommodate themselves for a season, and at a time when employment was scarce; and moreover that the regulations are such as wholly to preclude and efficient person from remaining permanently and finally (in the service) Many of the Inspectors and Sergeants who are supposed to teach the Constables their duty are grossly ignorant of it themselves.

On entering the force I found in the regulations to which I had to conform all the rigour of military discipline, the men being drilled several times every week, without the slightest possible public advantage arising, in so much as before a man had become perfect in drill he had left the service.

I was compelled to reside in the station, and had to pay two shillings a week out of my pay of seventeen shillings for lodgings, besides which every man was compelled to join a mess kept by one of the inspectors.

I had not been long in my situation before a most cruel robbery was committed by the Inspector who had been in charge of the mess as on day after receiving the whole sum of the mess about £15 he absconded with the money. He was never seen again. Enquiries were made and it was established that he was a returned transportee, and had entered the force under an assumed name.


The police officer of the day worked ten hours a night 9pm to 7 am. but the remaining time was not totally given to sleep. The officer was expected to get up at 1pm and perform cleaning duties,, making the beds and cleaning the kitchens and rooms. But Sundays were different. no they did not get a lie in, they had to get up and be ready to parade for Church, not only that they had to march to the church with a bible under their arm.

Bakewell observed that, “This exhibition frequently caused a considerable extent of merriment to the idlers and drunkards of the area.”