Extracts from the book ‘Rochford - A History’.
Reproduced by Kind permision of the Author - Mavis Sipple.
North Street Rochford 1910
The ‘Police’ sign can just be made out above the centre window of the building on the left (17 North Street)
Prisoners were kept in two tiny cells in the basement
The Building later became the post office
The ‘Old Ship’ is seen on the right (14 North Street)
There was no police force in the town until 1840 when the Essex County Constabulary was formed. There were 100 officers. Rochford was one of 14 divisions and had one superintendent, two constables at Rochford and two at Great Wakering.
The headquarters were at Rayleigh. Officers had to pay five shillings when they received their uniform jacket. Helmets were made with reinforced frames strong enough for the officer to stand on in order to look over walls and fences. They were also for keeping sandwiches in, as the jacket had no pockets. It did, however, have a leather collar to protect the wearer against strangulation.
The original police station was built in North Street in 1846. Prisoners were kept in two tiny cells in the basement. As the division was increased in size, the building, which was intended for one superintendent and two officers, was soon found to be too small. The Corn Exchange had to be hired for four shillings a day to allow the superintendent to hold pay-parades and drills.
The first superintendent at Rochford was 32-year-old Job Yardley, an ex-army man. His stay in Rochford was short-lived, and he absconded a few months after being appointed.
By 1884 Rochford had one superintendent, one sergeant and 22 constables.
By 1911 the Rochford division was made up of 28 parishes, whose population was nearly 94,000. There were 90 officers, 64 of whom were needed to police Southend. Southend then became a separate entity.
Rochford and the small Dengie division became the new Rochford division.
The police station in South Street was built in 1915 to accommodate one sergeant and three constables. It was opened in 1919. There were also two rented houses available for officers.
The Police Station in South Street closed its doors to the public on 28th November 2011 and the Police Station closed down completely on 31st March 2012. Essex Police Force was under pressure to make savings of £41 million per annum by 2014/15.
The Neighbourhood Policing Teams which worked out of the Police Station, namely Rochford, Ashingdon and Canewdon and Wakering, along with the Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) and a Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) Sergeant were relocated to Rayleigh Police Station but retained patrol responsiblities for their respective areas.
The "front counters" at 20 police stations in Essex have been closed as part of a £41m cost-cutting drive. In addition, busy Southend and Basildon police stations, which used to open 24 hours a day, have had their opening times scaled back to 8am to midnight seven days a week. Pitsea, Canvey and Billericay stations now only open from noon to 6pm, Monday to Saturday.