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The County Police Act of 1839 allowed Justices in the counties to establish police forces if they thought it necessary, but the population of Derbyshire was against the idea, mainly on the grounds of cost. The only policing was by the local petty constables, part time officers who took it in turn to serve and who were elected by the ratepayers of the parish (known as the Vestry Committee in Long Eaton). This state of affairs continued until 1856. Until 1855 it was usual to have just one constable, but after this date two, and later three were appointed. Tailor Cook, who lived in the Market Place, was a constable from at least 1855 until 1868. He was a well built man and over six feet tall, and he was well equipped to perform his duties. John Parker was another constable of the 19th century and Cook was originally his assistant.
Although the Derbyshire County Police was founded in 1856, no member of the force was stationed in Long Eaton for many years afterwards, the parish constable being re-appointed annually until at least the 1870s. In 1871 three police officers lived in the town: Inspector Stendal Cupit lived in Brook Street, Sergeant Carroll in Main Street and young constable Osmand Harper lodged with the watchman Edward Smith in West Gate (then only a short terrace). A sergeant was not always present in the town, and in 1883 the board asked for one to always be present. Another request was made in 1889 for a "First Class" sergeant to help the inspector, who usually doubled as the street inspector, a board appointment which was worth the annual sum of £2.10s in 1880.
In the mid 1840s lock-ups were being built across the county, including those at Alfreton, Ashbourne, Belper, Sawley and Wirksworth. A particularly fine example of a lock-up can be seen in the 'House Of Correction' which still stands at King Street, Alfreton.
The police station in Long Eaton was built on New Street in 1879 to plans by the county surveyor, and lasted nearly 100 years, only demolished after the new station was built in Midland Street in 1968. In 1895 the inspector had a staff of a sergeant and six constables and a force has been maintained in the town ever since.
Before 1879, those arrested were usually held overnight at the Sawley lock-up, from then up until 1889, they were kept at the police station, prior to appearance before magistrates in Derby. In 1889 a petty sessions court would be held every third Tuesday at the Zion Lecture Hall. The first person to be brought up was George Tomlinson, a blacksmith, charged with being drunk and disorderly. Because it was the first case he was let off, but he had to pay costs. Shortly after the magistrates court was instituted, and the local board sent a petition to the Lord Chancellor for a county court in the town. The magistrate's court lasted until 1973, when it was moved to a new courtroom in Ilkeston, but it had previously moved from Zion Hall to Trinity Hall in 1958. The county court was shorter lived, closing in 1959.
In 1957 the Derbyshire Constabulary was set up to cover the remainder of the county. Over the years these Forces amalgamated and in 1967 the present countywide Force was established. The Derbyshire Force is made up of approximately 1800 Police Officers, 300 Special Constables and 1000 support staff, and has the responsibility for policing the needs of nearly one million residents and the many millions of people who visit our beautiful county every year.
Information courtesy of "The Book Of Long Eaton" By Mr Keith Reedman and the Derbyshire Constabulary.