Major Alfred Herbert Richardson

Major Alfred Herbert Richardson was Chief Constable of Halifax.

His father Frank Richardson was Chief Constable of Hereford [for 38 years] and the Senior Chief Constable of England [1918].

His eldest brother Ernest Frank Richardson was Chief Constable of Salisbury, Wiltshire [1903-1929]. Another brother served in the South African War and remained in Cape Town where he became a member of the CID. Another brother was a member of the Cape Town Mounted Police and was killed on duty.

He was born in Birmingham and joined the Birmingham Police Force [October 1890]. He was a constable, a detective [1894], a detective sergeant [1898], a detective inspector [March 1900], chief constable of Newcastle-under-Lyme [1901], and retired chief constable [1947] before becoming Chief Constable at Halifax [1903-1944].

He would not have women in the Halifax Police Force.

In 1908, he met with Lavena Saltonstall to reduce the tension between the suffragettes and the local people.

In 1910, against much opposition, he succeeded in getting the Halifax Watch Committee to approve 1 day's leave in 7 for the Halifax police. A brass plaque was installed at Halifax Police Station by his men.

In 1914, he served with the 4th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment and was a Major as Halifax Recruiting Officer with the Regiment.

During World War I, he introduced the police identity parade for Halifax, he made the Keep Left convention mandatory for motor  vehicles during the black-outs, and he introduced coloured police signals (instead of semaphore signals).

He was President of the Chief Constables' Association [1918], a post which his father had previously held.

In 1920, he invented a pillar telephone system and the Police Call Box. Where would Dr Who be without it?

Most of these innovations were subsequently adopted nationally.

In 1922, following a fatal fire in a London cinema, he wrote a booklet for Halifax County Borough on the policing of queues and insisted all cinemas and theatres in Halifax (there were over 20 at the time) immediately had outward acting doors fitted for emergency evacuation.

In 1925, he wrote a book entitled Evolution in the Police Force.

In October 1926, he, the Prince of Wales, and the Mayor of Halifax planted a tree at Shibden Hall Park Halifax. A photograph of the event appeared in a brochure to mark the occasion.

He gained a reputation for his Police planning. For the tree-planting ceremony, he produced a Police Arrangement booklet, which allocated officers to sections of the streets, with streets specified  down to lengths in yards, gave precise timings, and laid down Mounted Police duties.

Again, most of these innovations were subsequently adopted nationally.

In 1935, he was awarded the King's Silver Medal which was presented at Buckingham Palace.

In 1935, there is recorded

1 statement of offence for AHR, Chief Constable, Halifax, Yorkshire, dated July 1935, a case to be heard in the Petty Sessional Division of Everley and Pewsey Magistrates Court held at Ludgershall on Friday 26th July 1935.

[The report is] printed in black on blue paper with individual details type-written, signed in ink by John Joseph Meaney, Superintendent of Police and A J May JP, annotated in pencil 26/7/35, TRIAL/£50 or 4 months/may suspend/must endorse/Test

He intended to retire in 1938, but, with World War II approaching, he was persuaded to stay in office.

He continued to serve until 1944.

In 1943, he was appointed Assistant Provost Marshal in Halifax.

In 1898, he married Emily Ethel Marden [1877-19??] in Aston, Birmingham.

Emily Ethel was the daughter of Detective Sergeant Marden


  1. Frank Herbert
  2. Alfred Eric

The family lived at

throughout his service in Halifax and into retirement.

He died at the home of son Frank Herbert, 42 Wakefield Road, Lightcliffe [29th June 1951]

See Harrow Dog Kennels, Halifax

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:24 / 24th May 2021 / 6788

Page Ref: X2094

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