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British Transport Police (Hardback)

A definitive history of the early years and subsequent development

P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Social History Transport > Trains & Railways

By Malcolm Clegg
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 90 mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399095471
Published: 4th October 2022



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This book traces the history of the British Transport Police, the National Police Force responsible for policing the railways of England, Scotland and Wales. The roots of the Force go back almost 200 years, starting with the development of the railways during the Nineteenth Century. Hundreds of railway companies were founded and although mergers and amalgamations took place, by the end of the century, well over 100 railway companies were operating, most of which employed railway policemen.

The first railway policemen were recruited to work on the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1826. Other railway companies quickly followed and by the 1850s, railway policemen with their smart uniforms and top hats were a common sight on Britain’s railways.

During the Twentieth Century, railway companies continued to merge before being nationalised in 1948. The following year, the British Transport Commission (BTC) was created to oversee not only the newly nationalised railway network, but also the nation’s docks, shipping, inland waterways, road transport, road haulage and other companies.

Also in 1949, the British Transport Commission Police (BTC Police) was created to take over the policing of these newly nationalised institutions. All the former railway, dock and canal police forces were then absorbed into the new BTC Police Force.

The BTC was abolished in 1962, having incurred serious financial losses. The BTC Police was renamed the British Transport Police in 1963 and has continued to operate ever since. It no longer polices the docks, harbours and canals for reasons outlined in this book.

"The author is a retired member of the British Transport Police so well placed to explore its background and to bring it to a wider audience."

Railway and Canal Historical Society

"...provides an overview of the subject of railway policing and we learn some of its quirkier details."

The Journal of the Friends of the National Railway Museum

This volume is without doubt a labour of love by author Malcolm Clegg, former Constable and Detective Sergeant in the British Transport Police (BTP), serving 30 years in London and South Wales before retirement. It is evident that has left no stone unturned in his research and as a consequence some of the uncovered material (confirmed by the cover notes) is receiving its first ever publishing.

The book is a worthy addition to the bookshelf. For the history and attention to detail contained in the book and its appendices I would recommend this book to all.

Backtrack Magazine - May 2023

"Malcolm Clegg, a serving BTP officer for 30 years, has crammed the book with many fascinating human stories....... Serving BTP staff will really enjoy this book, and so will you."

Steam World - April 2023

The 200th anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025 is also that of the first railway police (a superintendent and four constables). Aimed at a wider audience than just railway enthusiasts, much of the book covers the development of railways, their police forces and their work (mainly in the 19th century) such as crimes brought to trial.

Trackside magazine

Review as featured in

Railways Illustrated

This has been a brilliant book to read and would happily recommend it to anyone, especially if you were considering joining the police force.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

About Malcolm Clegg

Malcolm Clegg had a thirty year career as a Constable and Sergeant in the British Transport Police. The majority of his service was spent both in Uniformed and CID policing of the railways and docks at Newport, Cardiff and Swansea. He spent ten years in London, stationed at Paddington, Liverpool Street, Stratford and the London Underground Network. His final years were spent working as a Detective Sergeant in Swansea, investigating crimes in South and West Wales. After his retirement, he became an active member of the British Transport Police History Group (www.btphg.org.uk). He has carried out extensive research on behalf of the group and has written a number of articles. He has written four other books entitled; British Steam Locomotives before Preservation, The Last Days of British Steam, LMS and LNER Steam Locomotives, British Transport Police (A definitive history of the early years and subsequent development), each published by Pen & Sword.

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