Avon and Somerset Police as we know it today formed in 1974 from the merger of the former Somerset and Bath Constabulary with the Bristol police force and the Staple Hill division of Gloucestershire Constabulary.
However policing in the Avon and Somerset force area dates back more than 175 years, when Bath and Bristol were among the first cities in the country to form their own police forces.
In 1835 the Municipal Corporation Act gave towns and cities the power to create their own professional police forces.
Bath Constabulary was the first to form in 1836, followed later the same year by Bristol. Bridgwater and Chard were created in 1839 and by 1940 had become part of the Somerset Constabulary.
The original Bristol police officer wore a uniform of top hat, blue swallow-tailed coat, white dress trousers, cape and great coat as he patrolled the streets on foot. He was equipped with a rattle and wooden truncheon – with cutlasses and handcuffs available in case of serious trouble.
To obtain publications about the history of the force or to enquire about our collection, please contact: Historyandheritage@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk