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Cheshire Constabulary
Cheshire 2008 logo.png
Logo of the Cheshire Constabulary.
Agency overview
Formed 1974
Annual budget £173m (2009-10)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Police area of Cheshire in the country of England, UK
Map of Cheshire Constabulary's jurisdiction.
Size 946 Square Miles
Population 980,000
Legal jurisdiction England & Wales
Governing body Cheshire Police Authority
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Clemonds Hey, Winsford
Constables 2,207
Agency executive David Whatton, Chief Constable
Basic Command Units 3
Stations 24
Helicopters Britten-Norman Islander
* Police area agency: Prescribed geographic area in the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Cheshire Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for policing the English unitary authorities of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton (including Runcorn, and Widnes) and Warrington.

It was proposed by the Home Secretary on 6 February 2006 that Cheshire should merge with the Merseyside Police, to form a strategic police force,[1] but these proposals were later abandoned.

The Chief Constable of the Cheshire Constabulary as of 2009 is David Whatton. He was appointed on 23 October 2008, and was previously the Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. The Deputy Chief Constable is Graeme Gerrard. The two Assistant Chief Constables are Philip Thompson - Investigations and Ian Wiggett (temporary) - Neighbourhoods.



Formed in 1857 it is now responsible for policing an area of 946 square miles (2,450 km2) with a population of 980,000. The first Chief Constable was Captain Thomas Johnnes Smith, late of the Bedfordshire Militia. The first full Cheshire Police Committee met at the Crewe Arms Hotel, Crewe, on 3 February 1857 and the new Cheshire Constabulary was officially formed on 20 April 1857.

The first Headquarters was established at 4 Seller Street, Chester. In 1862 this office was removed to 1 Egerton Street, Chester and remained there until 1870, when it was removed to 113 Foregate Street. In 1893 the Court of Quarter Sessions approved the building of a new Headquarters which was erected at 142 Foregate Street and designed by John Douglas, at a cost not exceeding £2,000. This continued to be used, together with the adjoining buildings, until 1967. In 1967 a new purpose-built Headquarters was opened at Nuns Road, Chester. This building served the Constabulary until 2004 when the Headquarters building moved to a purpose-built complex at Clemonds Hey, Winsford.

In 1965, it had an establishment of 1,359 and an actual strength of 1,329.[2]

The Museum of Policing in Cheshire preserves and researches the heritage of policing in the county.



Force structure

Before 2004, six divisions existed based on the district/unitary council areas:

In late 2004 the structure was changed with three Areas, known as Basic Command Units (BCUs). Each BCU is headed by a Chief Superintendent.

  • Northern Area, covering Warrington and Halton Unitary Areas
    • Runcorn
    • Warrington Central
    • Warrington Town Centre
    • Warrington East (Risley Police Station)
    • Warrington South (Stockton Heath Police Station)
    • Warrington West (Great Sankey Police Station)
    • Widnes
  • Eastern Area, serving the unitary area of Cheshire East
    • Alsager
    • Congleton
    • Crewe
    • Knutsford
    • Macclesfield
    • Nantwich
    • Wilmslow
  • Western Area, serving the unitary area of Cheshire West & Chester
    • Chester Inner (Police Office, Town Hall)
    • Chester Outer (Chester Police Station)
    • Ellesmere Port and Neston
    • Northwich
    • Western Rural (Dragonhall, Mickle Trafford and Frodsham Police Stations)
    • Winsford

Basic command unit structure

Each area has several specialist teams, namely:

  • Neighbourhood Policing Units (NPUs), each with local Neighbourhood Policing Teams and investigation teams. The NPUs concentrate on preventing and detecting local crime and targeting offenders, building contacts in the local community, resolving problems by working with local organisations and individuals, and being visible and accessible.
  • Targeted Patrol Teams responding to emergency calls
  • Criminal Investigation Departments (CID) detect serious crime
  • Customer Service Desks ensure incidents are dealt with promptly and the public get a better service
  • Public Protection Units deal with Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment, Honour-based Violence, Elder Abuse and Child Protection.
  • Intelligence Units and Pro-active Policing Units target persistent criminals
  • Partnership Development Units
  • Custody Investigation Units

Headquarters-based teams

To support the BCUs, several centralised teams operate from the headquarters:

  • Central Roads Policing Unit
  • Centralised Crime Recording Bureau
  • Contingency Planning/Events Coordinators
  • Force Major Investigation Team
  • Specialised Support Units

Road policing

The Cheshire road system is made up of 3,417 miles (5,499 km) of highway. The constabulary is responsible for policing one of the longest stretches of motorway in Britain. The force patrols 214 miles (344 km) of the M6, M62, M53 and M56 motorways, which has 23 interchanges and 4 service areas. The M6 motorway across the Thelwall Viaduct carries 140,000 vehicles every 24 hours. Delays and incidents on the motorway can have a severe impact on the economic life of the entire North West Region[3].


Cheshire Constabulary is responsible for policing the annual Creamfields dance and music festival that takes place over the August bank holiday weekend every year at Daresbury, close to Warrington.

Air operations unit

Since December 2001 Cheshire Police have operated a Britten-Norman Islander fixed-wing aircraft, registration G-CHEZ. This model of aircraft is used worldwide in a variety of roles. It is particularly suited to police aviation as it is able to carry a wide range of equipment and stay airborne for long periods of time. This equipment allows it to operate during the day or night, in most weather conditions. It is cleared for flight in cloud and bad weather, but the majority of police operations require visual contact with the ground. If required, it can carry up to six persons.

The aircraft is operated by a team of civilian pilots, four police observers and one sergeant ensure the aircraft is available all year. The aircraft is used to conduct a wide range of policing work providing emergency responses to incidents involving threat to life, commission of crime and searching for missing persons. It also conducts deployments for non-crime searches, scene management at incidents and video evidence gathering.

On 27 February 2009, the Constabulary confirmed that the Home Office had agreed to jointly fund the purchase of a new £1 million Eurocopter EC135 aircraft, which will be operational 24 hours a day.[4]. The new helicopter will not be serviceable until 2010.

Crime statistics

Cheshire Constabulary's crime statistics for recorded crimes are[5]:

April 2005 - December 2006 April 2006 - December 2007 Percentage Change
Burglary (dwelling) 3657 3333 -9%
Burglary (other) 4960 4566 -8%
Theft from vehicle 6382 5472 -14%
Theft of vehicle 2645 2195 -17%
Violent offences 14942 14038 -6%
Other offences 40524 38575 -5%
Total crime 73110 68179 -7%

Cheshire Constabulary and the media

During 2005/06, the force was featured in the BBC TV series Traffic Cops[6].

Former Chief Constable Peter Fahy called for the legal age of buying alcohol to increase to the age of 21 as a result of the Garry Newlove murder in 2007.[7].

See also

External links


  1. ^ "Police mergers outlined by Clarke". BBC News website. 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2010-01-02.  
  2. ^ The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965
  3. ^ "Road policing". Cheshire Police website. Retrieved 2007-03-01.  
  4. ^ "Aircraft Purchase=Chester Chronicle". Retrieved 2009-03-19.  
  5. ^ "Crime statistics". Cheshire Police website. Retrieved 2007-03-01.  
  6. ^ "Traffic Cops". Cheshire Police website. Retrieved 2007-03-01.  
  7. ^ "Police chief urges alcohol action". BBC News website. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2008-07-23.  


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