Airdrie Burgh Police, around 1900 Airdrie Burgh Police, around 1900

Policing North Lanarkshire: Airdrie Burgh Police

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Airdrie Burgh Police was established in 1822, making it the oldest of the North Lanarkshire Burgh Police forces. The jail on Anderson Street was converted to house the police station. It is believed the first Superintendent, James Gillies, was appointed in 1838. His full title was Superintendent of Airdrie Police and Keeper of Airdrie Jail.

The earliest available records show that there were still only 11 officers in 1859. This had doubled to 23 by 1900. In 1884, following the death of Superintendent Neilson, Airdrie Police were approached by Lanarkshire Constabulary. Their proposal that Airdrie should amalgamate was turned down and a new Superintendent was appointed.

At this time, the local emergency services were combined. The police force also served as firemen and ambulancemen. The fire engine and ambulance were kept in a building adjoining onto the Anderston Street police station, which had originally been the Governor’s house in Airdrie Jail. Chief Constable Christie of Airdrie Burgh Police was also Captain of the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association (Airdrie Centre).

Local amateur artist Andrew Muir served with Airdrie Burgh Police in the 1930s. He signed up as a Royal Marine during the Second World War but returned to the Police Force in the 1950s.

By the time Airdrie Burgh Police finally amalgamated with Lanarkshire Constabulary in 1967 there were 66 officers on record. None of these were women. Indeed, no female police offers were ever appointed in the history of Airdrie Burgh Police. If circumstances arose that the force regarded as needing “the female touch” it would call on neighbouring Coatbridge Burgh Police to provide policewomen.

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