Thames Police Museum
Members and guests visited the Museum in November 2014.
The group met in the lecture hall where Keith Bryant told us about the history of the Museum and of the many exhibits on display. The site was once a carpenterís workshop at Wapping Police Station and is situated within the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Maritime Unit based on the river Thames. The exhibits include uniforms and documents which trace the history of the Thames River Police from its inception in 1798 to the present day.
It was created in response to the growing criminal underworld whose pilfering of ships cargoes was costing the City of London a fortune. Officially recognised by Parliament in1800 and by 1829 the unit operated from three stations; the HQ at Wapping and from two old naval vessels moored at Waterloo and Blackwall.
The Forceís first power launch was acquired in the 1880ís and by 1910 all patrol boats were power driven and two new stations were opened at Erith and Barnes. Policing was further extended in 1964 with two new stations above the tidal limit at Hampton and Shepperton Lock.
Suitable basic training and on the job training ensures the highest level of professionalism by its officers who encounter vandals and thieves and are always ready to answer emergency calls 24 hours a day. These might include accident, fire on board, and people falling overboard or those with suicidal tendencies jumping from one of the 30 or so bridges which span the 54 miles of Londonís river.
There are special dangers inherent in the work of the Thames Police because of the fast flowing tides and the treacherous currents and the Police are equipped to operate under the most severe of conditions. These might include being fast enough for any form of emergency response and on boats with sufficient power to act as tugs for boats drifting helplessly or in danger.
The group thoroughly enjoyed the tour and after donating £84.00 to the Museum retired to the Captain Kidd for lunch.
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