History of the force
Learn about the history of policing in the Avon and Somerset area.
There has been a police force serving the Avon and Somerset area for more than 180 years.
In 1835, the Municipal Corporation Act gave towns and cities the power to create their own professional police forces.
Bath and Bristol were among the first cities in the country to form their own police forces.
Our first police officers would have worn a uniform of a top hat, blue swallow-tailed coat and white dress trousers, with a cape or greatcoat.
They were equipped with a rattle, a wooden truncheon and a wicker lunch basket with access to cutlasses and handcuffs in case they got into some serious trouble.
Bath Constabulary was the first to form in 1836, followed later the same year by Bristol. Bridgwater and Chard formed a constabulary in 1839 and in 1940 they become part of the Somerset Constabulary.
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.
View a selection of photographs from the force’s past on the Avon and Somerset Police Flickr group managed by our History and Heritage group.