Until the late 1960's, Bletchley's police officers were stationed in Simpson road, Fenny Stratford - close to the Bletchley to Bedford railway line. The station was dark and dingy compared to modern buildings and suffered from plagues of flies during the summer due to its proximity to the sewage works. The station also housed Fenny Stratford Magistrates court. In the 1950's court day was every other Thursday, but gradually it became every Thursday, eventually increasing to every day. The police officers' clubroom was made into a second court.
The original Police Station and Magistrates Court as it is today.
Bletchley's new station, opened in 1969 in Sherwood Drive, provided better facilities for the officers working in the still-expanding town. Initially, the building's foundations were constructed in the wrong place and had to be dug up and moved into the correct position. Nevertheless, once completed, the station was very modern with what retired police officer Pat Kenny remembers as 'a very clean look'. A clubroom for staff was incorporated into the building. Garages were also built, but originally they only housed two vehicles - one from Simpson Road that was for the use of supervisory officers and a 'traffic' car. Over the years, 'panda' cars came into being and the number of police vehicles increased.
Bletchley Police Station today.
Police were more likely to be out on foot in those days. There were never, however, many officers out on the beat at any one time. With perhaps four on each shift, plus a sergeant, taking into account factors such as training courses, staff sickness, etc., there might only be two 'bobbies on the beat'. As staffing levels increased, more policemen went out on patrol. In 1968, five police forces - including Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire - amalgamated to create Thames Valley Police. Some of the officers moving to Bletchley's new station were from the London Metropolitan Police. All Bletchley's Police officers relaxed together off-duty in their new clubroom, organising and enjoying their own social events.
The residents of Bletchley were also participating in new social events at this time. Concerts were taking place regularly at Wilton Hall, a large public hall close to Bletchley Park. Although the police were not generally needed at many of these, they did keep an eye on things when the pop groups of the time drew large crowds to the hall. This was the case when the Rolling Stones came and between 700 - 900 people filled a 450 - 500 capacity venue. The police were obviously also on duty for the Queen's visit in April 1966.
The station used to have 'Open Days' in much the same way as Bletchley's fire station still does. Security concerns, however, brought these to an end.
Wilton Hall.
Nowadays, the main Police Station is based at Central Milton Keynes. Bletchley Police Station is still in use, but not to the extent that it was prior to the development of Milton Keynes.
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