Originally Posted by Bridewell
I can't vouch for the 19th century but, for many years, the police did work the sort of rota system you describe (four shifts working a four week cycle with one shift on Rest Day - basically a week of mornings, a week of afternoons and a week of nights, separated by two days off)- it was still in force (just) when I started in Nottinghamshire in 1974. This created a difficulty, in that every officer was entitled to two days off every week - not possible when a total of 21 days had to be worked in every 28 days to provide the cover. Therefore one paid rest day was worked in every four weeks. The hours, when I started were 6am-2pm, 2pm-10pm & 10pm-6am.
Thanks Bridewell, I imagine that they would have worked a similar shift pattern "back in the day". 3 rota's with one Sgt and perhaps as many as 8 bobbies (I assume). I also believe that they didn't
have rest days then.
It's difficult to gauge how many bobbies would be on each rota (I'm basing my research on Bethnal Green station). On the 1891 census there is one Sgt and 12 bobbies living in the station (14 and two wives on the 1881 census). My research has confirmed at least another 5 possibly 6 constables living in married quarters and at least one other Sgt. But I suspect there must have been a few more.
There appears to have been 5 beats and one fixed point, there'd have been reserve bobbies as well, lets say 2. So there's our 8 bobbies and one Sgt. So there must have been at least 24 bobbies, 5 Sgt and at least one Insp. Permanently attached to this station (would be interesting to know whether any reinforcements were sent there during the Ripper's reign- I have not been able to identify any).