London Transport Police

Date Established:
London Transport Police

The first railway police force in Britain was formed shortly after the first passenger railways opened in the 1830s. 'Special Constables' were given jurisdiction over the railway lines across the United Kingdom. Initially their role was limited to facilitating the movement of trains. However, they were soon involved in the investigation of crime.

At the start of the 20th century, many railway forces reorganised, and began to offer comprehensive training to constables. At this time, each of the Underground companies in London had its own police force. Each had jurisdiction on railway property and over offences that affected the railway such as criminal damage to trains.

Following the incorporation of the Underground Electric Railways Company (U.E.R.L.) in 1902, a unified police force was established for the London railways, although the Metropolitan Railway retained a separate force until it joined the London Transport network in 1933.

During the First World War, the railway forces employed female officers for the first time. Most of the women were replaced at the end of the war by returning servicemen. Many of the commanders were ex-army officers.

The increased professionalism of the force influenced the introduction standardised pay in 1919, which was also the year the Railway Police Federation was formed. In 1921, the Railways Act amalgamated over 100 separate companies across the United Kingdom into four groups, each of which had its own police force. These four forces adopted standard organisation similar to that of the civil police, although many non-police duties were retained.

In 1933, the London Passenger Transport Board was created as the main organisation for public transport in London excluding the mainline railways. In 1934, the London Transport Police force (L.T.P.) was formed, headed by a former Metropolitan Railway police superintendent. It expanded to police the buses, trams and trolleybuses.

During the Second World War, the number of L.T.P. constables doubled, and many female recruits joined. The force assisted with evacuations and in patrolling Underground shelters, as well as investigating cases of looting. For the time being, the Railway Executive Committee regulated the force.

Alternate Names

  • L.T. Police

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