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War Reserve Constable - Metropolitan Police, 1942

During the Second World War, 1939-45, police manpower was again stretched to the limit. Many Metropolitan policemen had joined the armed forces, which led to the introduction of auxiliary police composed of re-engaged police pensioners; special constables sewing on a full-time basis; and men recruited for war service only known as War Reserve Police.

 

Apart from normal police duties the force was called upon to enforce the "blackout"; combat the black market in goods, and help in the after-math of bombing raids. An added responsibility was

keeping the peace among the many thousands of allied soldiers that flocked to London in search of a respite from the rigours of military training.

 

1938 - Civil Defence starts with the formation of two Reserves in the event of war. The first are retired officers, the second Special Constables.

 

1939 - I.R.A. activity results in 59 explosions in the Metropolitan Police District. 55 people are convicted for these offences.

 

1940 - 98 Metropolitan Police officers killed during air raids.

 

1941 - Air raid bombings continue, and Holloway police station is destroyed. Somers Town, Sydenham and Brixton stations are too badly damaged to be used.

 

1942 - Police officers allowed to volunteer for the Armed Forces.

 

1943 - In an attempt to curb housebreaking, the Commissioner Sir Philip Game asks people not to keep furs, saying "they are no doubt warmer, and look nicer than a tweed coat, but a live dog is better than a dead lion."

 

1944 - Looting reaches an all time record.

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Taken on November 10, 2012