Into the 20th Century


John Ord is appointed first Chief Inspector of Detectives, and the first Detective Constables are appointed.
Police Committee agree to build a new ‘Central’ Police Headquarters at a cost of £36,000.


Kinning Park Burgh Police annexed by the City of Glasgow and become part of ‘G’ or Queen’s Park Division, City of Glasgow Police.


The Old Central Police Office in South Albion Street (1825) closes after 79 years.

Central Police Office in 1825

Central Police Office (1825)

The New Central Police Office in Low Green Street (now Turnbull Street) opens as Headquarters of the Glasgow Police on 23rd March 1906.

Central Police Office in 1906

Central Police Office (1906)


On 21 December, Glasgow Police begin to investigate the murder of Marion Gilchrist. On 26 December, Detective Inspector Pyper, accompanied by two witnesses, set sail for New York in pursuit of the suspect Oscar Slater and his girlfriend. They are arrested and brought back to Glasgow.


The Scottish Cup Final, between Rangers and Celtic, takes place in Hampden Park. The match ends in a 1-1 draw and the referee refuses to play extra time. The crowds riot and police charge them with batons drawn, assisted by mounted officers. S.F.A. withhold Scottish Cup and medals that year.

Oscar Slater tried at Edinburgh High Court and found guilty of Murder. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but two days before the execution, he was reprieved and received life imprisonment. There began serious doubts as to Slater’s guilt but he remained in prison.


Glasgow Police buy a motor-van, to replace the horse drawn van (bought in 1878), to transport prisoners.


On 5 November, by Act of Parliament, the boundaries of the City were again extended:
Govan Burgh Police (122) and the District of Shieldhall merged with the Glasgow Police to form ‘K’ or Govan Division. Partick Burgh Police forms ‘L’ or Partick Division on the west side of the City.
Due to these changes, the Govan Police Pipe Band now took the title ‘The City of Glasgow Police Pipe Band.’

Govan Police Pipe Band

Govan Police Pipe Band


The First World War commences and 300 Glasgow police officers enlist in the Armed Forces. As a result, Chief Constable Stevenson employs 400 temporary Constables and increases the Special Constabulary to 3000 to guard strategic buildings and factories within the City.

Lieutenant John Trench dismissed from Glasgow Police for breaching Police regulations, by communicating undisclosed evidence to a solicitor which brought into doubt the guilt of Oscar Slater. Slater remained in prison until 1928.


The Chief Constable issues an order to deter policemen from enlisting in the Armed Forces due to the depletion of the force.

Police Committee discusses the appointment of Policewomen. It is agreed that one female be appointed and on 6 September, Miss Emily Miller was appointed Glasgow’s first policewoman.  Click Here to Read More…….

By the end of 1915, 692 Glasgow policemen had joined the Army or Navy….40 had been killed and a further 26 reported missing.


The Chief Constable announces that John McAulay, a Constable in the Northern Division, at that time serving as a Sergeant in the Scots Guards, had been awarded the Victoria Cross. The only Scottish Police officer to win the V.C., and one of only seven from UK Police forces to receive the honour.

First World War ends and it is announced that of the 748 Glasgow policemen who had enlisted for the War, 112 were killed and a further 33 were reported missing presumed killed.


On 18 January, Constable James Campbell of the Eastern Division was shot at 637 Great Eastern Road (now Tollcross Road), Glasgow. Detective Chief Inspector McGimpsey and Detective Inspector Lydon investigated the case. Constable Campbell died three days later, but the murderer was never found.

Ten additional Policewoman appointed.

On 29 January, thousands of striking shipyard and engineering workers marched on the Corporation Power Station in Eddington Street, Port Dundas. In furtherance of their strike, they gathered in George Square on 31 January and a riot ensued. The Riot Act was read but it had little effect. A night of further rioting followed which resulted in the Army being called to assist the Police. By the following morning, tanks were deployed in George Square and machine gun crews occupied the roofs of the buildings overlooking it. There was no further trouble.

Chief Constable Mennie

Chief Constable Mennie

Assistant Chief Constable Mennie investigates the murder of Henry Senior in Queen’s Park Recreation Ground, Mount Florida. Two men arrested in a cave near Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland, by Detective Chief Inspector Keith and Detective Inspector Noble. James Rollins and Albert Fraser were tried, and hanged for the crime in Duke Street Prison.


A Police motor-van, conveying a senior Irish Republican Army officer, from the Central Police Court to Duke Street Prison, was attacked by 30 armed men in Cathedral Square. In the first volley of shots, Inspector Robert Johnston was killed and Detective Sergeant George Stirton was wounded as he and another detective returned fire. The attempt to release the prisoner failed. Thirteen men were later arrested and tried for the crimes, but they were found not guilty.

Uniform introduced in 1920

Uniform Introduced in 1920

Uniforms of the lower ranks changed to a more practical design. Two breast pockets were introduced and the belt dispensed with. Service stripes were also introduced for the lower ranks. Senior officers also had changes to their uniforms at this time. The photograph (right) shows the new, more practical, uniforms of the Inspector, Sergeant and two Constables on parade.

The strength of Glasgow Police was given as 2,248 made up of the following:

  • Headquarters – 31
  • Criminal Investigation Dept. – 116
  • Uniform Branch – 2101 (incl. 10 Policewomen)

Glasgow Police cope with the many disturbances and riots that were part of the General Strike from 30 April until 12 May.


Cuts in Government benefits in August lead to marches by the unemployed and riots in Glasgow Green, Saltmarket and Jail Square. Fifty-one men arrested.

On 1 December, the new Chief Constable Percy J. Sillitoe is appointed and immediately set about re-organising the force. Detective Sergeant Bertie Hammond a fingerprint expert from Sheffield City Police transfers to Glasgow Police and establishes a Fingerprint and Photographic Department.


In August the Chief Constable declares the testing of black and white chequered cap bands by the Mounted Branch a success and authorises the issue of the cap bands, which will become popularly known as ‘The Sillitoe Tartan‘, to all other members of the force who wear caps.

Chief Constable Sillitoe’s new reoraganisational measures were sanctioned by Glasgow Corporation and by 1st November they came into effect. Four divisions; namely, Partick, Queen’s Park, St. Rollox and Western would merge with other divisions. There would be seven divisions:

  • ‘A’ or Central – Central Police Office, Turnbull Street.
  • ‘B’ or Marine – Marine Police Office, Anderston Street.
  • ‘C’ or Eastern – Eastern Police Office, Tobago Street.
  • ‘D’ or Southern – Southern Police Office, Craigie Street.
  • ‘E’ or Northern – Northern Police Office, Maitland Street.
  • ‘F’ or Maryhill – Maryhill Police Office, Gairbraid Avenue.
  • ‘G’ or Govan – Govan Police Office, Orkney Street.

Glasgow’s first radio patrol car tested by Chief Constable Sillitoe but it would be December 1933 before the radio system was installed and a further 3 years of exhaustive tests before the system was put into operation in May, 1936.

Radio Patrol Car

Radio Patrol Car


The Glasgow Police Identification Bureau assist Dumfriesshire Constabulary in identifying two dismembered bodies found near the town of Moffat. Detective Lieutenant Hammond and Detective Sergeant Duncan use new fingerprint techniques to identify bodies, as the fingers had been mutilated. Dr. Buck Ruxton of Lancaster, England, was arrested, found guilty and executed for the murders of his wife and her maid.


Outbreak of Second World War and Glasgow Police prepare for blackout and establishes the Air Raid Precautions Service (A.R.P) under the command of Superintendent James A. Robertson.

Many serving police officers join the Armed Forces and the Chief Constable recruits fit ex-policemen as the First War Reserve (350 men). The Police War Reserve (773 men), a second reserve force, was also recruited along with the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps (220 women), who would assist as car drivers, communications operators and canteen staff.

The Special Constabulary (1,900 men), was recruited from the working population and reported for duty two evenings per week for patrol duties.


German bombers attack Glasgow and cause extensive damage to Clydebank. Air Raids caused the deaths of hundreds of citizens including 3 regular police officers, 1 War Reserve Constable and 5 Special Constables.


Chief Constable Sillitoe receives a Knighthood and resigns in February 1943 to take command of the Kent Constabulary.

Chief Constable Sillitoe

Chief Constable Sillitoe


VE-Day in May, bonfires and celebrations extend throughout the City.

Glasgow Police officers serving in the Armed forces numbered 339, of whom 30 were killed. Ten officers serving in the Armed Forces received bravery decorations.

10 December:   A Railway Clerkess and two Railway porters shot during a robbery at Pollokshields East Railway Station.   Two die and one wounded.   Ten months later Charles Templeman Brown arrested and receives a life sentence.    Read  More………

Continue onto The Last Thirty Years