BSAP – Police Reserve
Extracts from The History of the BSA Police, 1889-1980, Volume Three on the subject of the Police Reserve:
Inception of the Police Reserve – (Page 219):
The Police Reserve was formed at the beginning of August 1939 with a strength of 376 men and with Major H Rochester in command as a Chief Superintendent. The, First Reserve, as it was called, consisted mainly of men who had previous military or police experience but by reason of age, health or job, were unable to take a more active part in the war, yet were prepared for continuous duty in this new role. They were there, if necessary to replace, but certainly to assist the regular force, many of whom would eventually be released for service with the military forces. So it was that the Reserve were called upon to perform traffic control work, (stop signs were about to be introduced on Bulawayo’s streets), town and suburban patrols, and generally to afford some security to the public in the prevention and detection of crime.
The Reserve develops- (Page 222):
Gradually, as the year progressed the numbers of the Regular Force slowly diminished as men were seconded (or successfully deserted) for mainly military but sometimes training duties outside and within the Colony. The need to maintain law and order could not, of course, be allowed to lapse and it was now that the Police Reserve, originally formed in mid-1939, came into its own.
The whole idea of the Reserve was to maintain a policing presence as the onset and progress of the war resulted in more and more additional duties falling upon less and less Regular members. Training was geared to this end and so it was that men who were a little ‘over the hill’ for full-time military duties, or occupying ‘key’ positions, or just not medically quite ‘up to scratch’, found themselves being lectured on law and police duties, on First Aid, and undergoing foot drill and musketry training. Soon these men were manning charge offices, attending to traffic problems and patrolling the larger towns and suburbs. They became an essential and valuable adjunct to the ‘Arm of the Law’.
Police Reserve Stand-Down- (Page 235):
Mention has been made above of the stand-down of the Police Reserve, but much more needs to be said about these exceptional men who, at the end of a busy day or sacrificing a relaxing weekend, would don uniforms and assist their beleaguered regular colleagues in a wide variety of duties.
The Stand-Down Parades took place in May and June of the year and all were attended by the Commissioner, the Minister of Justice, the Hon. T H W Beadle, and other notables. Sadly the Governor of the Colony at that time, Admiral Tait, was stricken with an illness that was to prove fatal and was thus unable to attend in person. The Reservists had served with distinction since the 1939 call-up in jobs to which were attached no glamour, no heroics but a tremendous essentiality and need. Their service and spirit had formed bonds with the Regular Force that were to grow and prosper over the next 30 or more years.
At the Depot parade, Beadle, after describing the composition of the Reserve, continued: “The average strength of the First Reserve throughout the war has been about 300. They have performed active police duties in all the main centres throughout the Colony. Active police duties have been performed after ordinary work, between the hours of 6 pm and 2 am and during weekends and public holidays…The Police Reserve has at all times maintained the highest traditions of the BSAP and has done a great deal to increase the good feeling that undoubtedly exists in this Colony between the public and the police.”