The British Transport Police has the most diverse history of any police force in the world. It can trace its origins back to 1826, and is made up from over 240 railway, dock and canal forces. Early railway companies maintained their own police forces, but following the First World War these smaller companies were amalgamated into four large companies. In 1948 following the nationalisation of the transport infrastructure the force took responsibility for policing the railways, ports and canals as the British Transport Commission Police, the first national police force in the United Kingdom. The BTC was dissolved in 1963 but the force remained as the British Transport Police.
From the beginning the force has been at the forefront of policing innovation such as being the first force to use dogs, employing women as uniformed officers, the introduction of a computerised crime reporting procedure and the first to use technology to arrest a murder suspect. Although diminished in size and areas of responsibility since privatisation of the UK transport infrastructure, the force has moved with the demands of modern policing. This book is an illustrated history of this unique force working to keep the travelling public safe.
Richard Stacpoole-Ryding served in the British Transport Police as a Sergeant before pursuing a career in H.M. Prison Service. He has been published in military and medal journals at home and abroad and had a book published in 2008. He lives in Kent with his partner and young son.