Scottish Archive Network Family History

Back to Family History
An Emigrant
A Ship Passenger
A passport Holder
A School Pupil
A University Student
A Schoolteacher
An Islander
A Burgess
A Ratepayer
A Houseowner
A Landowner
A Policeman
A Pauper
A Prisoner
  My ancestor was a policeman or policewoman

Scottish police forces
Police forces, in the modern sense, came into existence in Scotland from 1800 onwards in burghs and counties. Throughout the later 19th century and the 20th century many burgh constabularies were absorbed by county or city constabularies, and several constabularies amalgamated. In 1975 all county, burgh and amalgamated constabularies were replaced by eight police forces (Strathclyde, Lothian & Borders, Grampian, Tayside, Fife, Central, Northern, and Dumfries and Galloway), supervised by regional council police committees. These eight forces continue today.

Historical records
Historical records relating to policing come in various categories. Local authority archives hold some and some are retained by police forces themselves. In general a wider variety of records survive for the larger forces, especially the city constabularies, while, for some smaller constabularies, particularly those absorbed by larger forces, little survives.

What to do now
The text above is a summary of several articles on policing and police records in the SCAN Knowledge Base. You can read these by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I find the service record of an individual policeman or policewoman?

2. Why might I be unable to trace a service record of an ancestor who was in the police?

3. What was a special constable?

The Knowledge Base also contains answers to Frequently Asked Questions. To enter the Knowledge Base click here.