Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Hong Kong Police Recruitment in the 19th. century

Recruitment campaigns for the Hong Kong Police were held in the UK throughout the 19th. century.  Volunteers came from English Borough & City Constabularies, Scottish Constabularies, the Royal Irish Constabulary and London’s Metropolitan Police. 

For details of a recruit from the Metropolitan Police then you are likely to be in luck as many records have survived – although not in the form of individual service records.  Records are held in the MEPO class at The National Archives.  But the researcher must be prepared to spend many, many hours trawling through old registers in order to pick up the scantiest of details on joining and postings.

For details of recruits from the City of London Police a trip to London’s Metropolitan Archives will be in order.  Records are held in the CLA/048 series.

For details of a recruit from the Royal Irish Constabulary then again you are likely to be in luck due to Jim Herlihy who has spent many, many years indexing surviving records.  A copy of his index can be found at The National Archives – or perhaps might be able to consult his book in some other archive or library:

Jim Herlihy, The Royal Irish Constabulary: A Complete Alphabetical List of Officers and Men, 1816-1922 (Four Courts Press Ltd, 1999)

The records themselves are held at The National Archives in the HO 184 series.

Now to the crunch.  If the recruit you are looking for came from one of the English or Scottish Borough Constabularies then you may be disappointed.  Survival of records is sketchy to say the least.  First, research will need to be conducted to see which of the modern day constabularies covers the area you are interested in.  If the modern day constabulary has a Police Museum then they may well have taken over the old service registers.  If there is no museum then the County Record Office covering the appropriate area should be tried.  Do not get your hopes up as few service records have actually survived.