Royal Falkland Islands Police

Royal Falkland Islands Police
Agency overview
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionFalkland Islands, UK
Map of Royal Falkland Islands Police's jurisdiction.
Size12,173 km2 (4,700 sq mi)
Population3,150 residents (approx), plus military garrison
Sworn members18

The Royal Falkland Islands Police is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement within the Falkland Islands. The force was established on 1 November 1846 with the appointment of Francis Parry as Chief Constable. The Constables Ordinance 1846, which had been enacted by the colony's Legislative Council on 27 October of that year, created an organisation that has remained at the service of the public ever since. The current Chief Police Officer is Superintendent Jeff McMahon.


In the early days of the Falkland Islands law was enforced with the assistance of the Royal Navy. During the construction of Stanley a small wooden bridewell was attached to the barrack building, which also housed the court room and the magistrate’s office. The first stipendiary magistrate was appointed in 1845 and soon recommended that a body of 12 constable be enrolled.

In October 1846 the Constables Ordinance was enacted and on 1 November Francis Parry was appointed the first Chief Constable of the Falkland Islands Police.

The new force consisted of three officers; the Chief Constable, the Gaoler and the Night Constable. The officers were supported, when necessary, by Special Constables and the Royal Sappers and Miners.

The police force succeeded in maintaining law and order until the mid 1850s, when concerns increased about the number of visiting ships and the behaviour of the crews. At this time the night constable was replaced by a military guard.

The Falkland Islands Police continued to operate, in a somewhat haphazard manner, for another 20 years but struggled with recruitment. In 1878 four trained officers arrived from the Metropolitan Police, complete with uniforms and equipment to train local recruits. By 1900 the force had grown to seven officers and now included a constable posted to Fox Bay.

In the 1920s, with the rise of the whaling industry in South Georgia, one constable was posted to Grytviken and another to the Jason Islands, to keep watch for Canadian seal poachers. From the 1920s through to the 1960s, records show a stable manning situation with many of the officers serving for significant periods. During the 1970s it became usual for younger constables to work in Stanley during the winter months before returning to camp for farm work in the summer. The first female officer, Rose Livermore, was appointed in 1976.

The invasion by Argentine military forces in 1982 interrupted normal police operations. The Chief Officer, Supt Lamb, was removed from office and returned to Britain alongside Governor Hunt. A few days after his departure a radio message from him was broadcast. In the rush and confusion he had forgotten that there was a prisoner in the cells and he asked if someone would kindly let him out.[citation needed]

The rest of the police force was dispersed and only PC Anton Livermore remained in post during the occupation. His activities were severely curtailed by the Argentine authorities, he was how ever able to ensure that Falkland Islanders arrested were released as quickly as possible, he was later awarded the Colonial Police Medal.

The police station was occupied by Argentine military police, all police records were either destroyed or taken and on 11 June 1982 the building was hit by a missile launched from a British helicopter. The station was severely damaged, most of the front of the building and half of the roof was destroyed.

Following the liberation a small team of Metropolitan Police officers were seconded to the islands. At the end of their tour of duty they were relieved by teams drawn from a variety of English and Welsh forces, each serving six month secondments, until the end of 1985. In 1987, following a period of local and international recruitment, the force was increased to 12 officers. By 1994 the force included 17 police officers, 3 civilian support staff and 10 part time reserve constables.

In 1992, following an inspection by the Deputy Inspector General of Dependent Territories Police, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II graciously granted the force the “Royal” prefix in recognition of 146 years of loyal service to the Crown and of the professional standards achieved by the force in the 10 years since its virtual destruction by the Argentine occupation. [1]


The Royal Falkland Islands Police uphold Falklands Islands law (a combination of local ordinances and adopted English Statute Law) and are governed by the Police Ordinance 2000. Codes of practice are published originating from the Criminal Justice Ordinance 1989. All equipment issued to officers and practices used comply with Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers guidelines. The force is going through a modernisation programme and is making progress towards providing the islands with a police force fit for the challenges a developing economy and community brings. The force is proud to be a community focused police service; officers regularly take part in community events and support local charities.


In 1855 the Stanley Gaol was built. The police station, which has remained the headquarters building since it was completed in 1873, is situated centrally in Stanley. The building, which has had several wooden extensions added over the years, was built of stone by the detachment of Royal Marines that were stationed in the colony at that time.

The station took a direct hit from a British missile during the Falklands Conflict on 11 June 1982 and was severely damaged. The fabric of the building was repaired but after 135 years of continual service it was totally refurbished in 2008. This was completed in 2009 with the new jail being opened by the Princess Royal on 24 March 2009.[2]

Royal Falkland Islands Police Headquarters
View from Stanley Police Station
Royal Falkland Islands Police, patrol vehicle
Royal Falkland Islands Police, patrol vehicle

Forces and coverage[edit]

The Royal Falkland Islands Police currently has an establishment of 14 police constables, 4 detective constables, 12 Reserve Police Constables (similar to UK special constables but paid), 2 uniform sergeants, a detective sergeant, an inspector and a superintendent who is the Chief Police Officer. Five police support staff are employed including the Senior Clerk, a Licensing Officer, a full time Station Enquiry Officer and two part-time station enquiry officers.

The islands' prison is contained within the police building, up to November 2014 this was staffed by police officers. However the service has evolved, and now has a dedicated prison manager and three prison officers, but is still governed by the Chief Police Officer.

All military police serving with the Joint Service Police & Security Unit (JSPSU) of British Forces Falkland Islands are sworn in as Royal Falkland Islands Police reserve constables and thus have civil as well as military policing powers on the islands.[3]

An islands-wide service is provided with 24-hour cover. The control desk maintains a listening watch on marine and civilian emergency radio frequencies and is where "999" emergency calls are answered.

Police equipment is purchased directly from a variety of overseas suppliers. Officers do not ordinarily carry firearms however they are issued with, and trained in the use of Speedcuffs, CapTor 2 spray[4] and an extendable "ASP" baton, and Taser X26. The force has two Mitsubishi Shogun liveried MPV’s and two unmarked Land Rover 110’s, which are used by the CID. Equipment issued to officers and practices employed by the force try where possible to meet or exceed Home Office and Chief Police Officers Council guidelines.

Communication is based on VHF FM radio and is encrypted. The use of a repeater greatly extends the range of coverage.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands[edit]

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is a British Overseas Territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The Falkland Islands are about 1,300 km (810 mi) north-west from its nearest point. The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over South Georgia in 1775 and the South Sandwich Islands in 1908. The territory of "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands" was formed in 1985; previously, it had been governed as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies. The Royal Falkland Islands Police continue to have jurisdiction in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, although the last civil police officer was withdrawn in 1969 (following the decline of the whaling industry). Since 1985 the civil police function has been performed by two non-commissioned officers, who have been sworn in as members of the Falkland Islands Police Reserve.

British Antarctic Territory[edit]

The Falkland Islands Courts have jurisdiction to try matters arising in the British Antarctic Territory and the Royal Falkland Islands Police stand ready to assist the residents of the British Antarctic Survey bases should the need arise. In November 1994 an officer was sent to investigate the circumstances surrounding an air crash near Rothera.

Chief Officers[edit]

1846-1879 F Parry

1879-1887 J McNeice

1887-1895 G Hurst

1895-1898 C Carey

1898-1902 W Adams

1902-1919 W Atkins

1919-1930 D Sullivan

1930-1940 S Hooley

1940-1945 E Swain

1945-1947 C Sheppard

1947-1951 A Jenkins

1951-1958 D Ikkint

1958-1961 W Walton

1961-1962 A Baker

1962-1966 K Gray

1966-1980 T Peck

1980-1981 D McMillan

1981-1982 R Lamb

1982-1985 W Richards

1985-1997 K Greenland

1997-2007 D Morris

2007-2009 P Elliott

2009-2011 G Finchett

2011-2014 B Marsden

2014- 2018 L McGill

2018 - current J McMahon


  1. ^ Royal Falkland Islands Police, 150 Years of Service, 1 November 1996
  2. ^
  3. ^ "A Concise History of the Royal Air Force Police". Joint Service Police Unit (JSPSU) under the command of an RAF Provost Sqn Ldr. All personnel sworn in as Royal Falkland Islands Police Reserve Constables.
  4. ^ "FITV – Police issued with CapTor2 spray".

See also[edit]

External links[edit]