History

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Joseph J. Vanderpool 1967 – 1969

Mr. H. H Bissett 1969 – 1972

Galton St. John 1972 – 1980

Thomas Richards, 1980 – 1989

Sydney A. Charles 1990 – 1991

David Hugh Crowther, 1991- 1995

Frank Hooper, 1995 – 1997

Barry Young, 1997

Christopher Burgess, 1998 – 2000

Alexander Elder, 2000-2002

John B. Douglas, 2002- 2007

The Police Force of Montserrat was a division of the Leeward Islands Police Force, which served Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands, with Headquarters in Antigua.

The Leeward Islands Colony was dissolved in 1959 and the Montserrat Police Force became a division of the Antigua, Montserrat, and British Virgin Islands Police Force.

The Royal Title was conferred on the Force in 1966, and The Royal Montserrat Police Force became autonomous on the 27 February 1967.

Between 1967 to 2007 there have been one Chief of Police and ten Commissioners of Police coming from the United Kingdom, Guyana, Montserrat, St Kitts / Nevis.

In previous times the Force worked with the Barracks system, where officers had to live in Barracks at the police stations. An officer had to seek permission from the Corporal or the Sergeant for four hours liberty before leaving the station.

A European Commissioner of Police Mr. Harry H Bissett said in the 1970s he did not understand the word “Liberty” and abolished that old regime.

One difficult time for the Force was the 12 to 14 April 1969, when the island was placed in a declared state of emergency because of the Peter Howson incident, which became known as the Red Pole Riot.

Another was the major disaster in 1989 when hurricane Hugo destroyed much of the island infrastructure and from which the island took many years to recover. Just as that recovery was nearing completion came the beginning of the Soufriere Hills Volcanic activity from 1995 to the present day.


Police Headquarters, Plymouth, Evacuated due to the volcanic crisis
Police Headquarters, Plymouth, Evacuated due to the volcanic crisis


Both these natural disasters placed additional pressure on the RMPF, from rescue work in the early stages and the recovery of bodies, to safeguarding devastated property and preventing further loss of life, but also having to work from damaged police stations or temporary accommodation.

Today the RMPS has a purpose built Force Headquarters in Brades and a fleet of vehicles to use in performing its duty. So like the island itself it is rebuilding and regaining its place as a modern police serving the public to the best of its ability.

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