Objects > British Colonial Police helmet


St Vincent (colonial) police helmet

Date: 1930s

Material: cotton & leather

Dimensions: 37 x 20 x 25 cm

Organisation: Royal Ulster Constabulary, St Vincent Police

Source: Police Museum

Photograph of colonial police officers at Phoenix Park Depot

Date: 1890s

Material: paper

Dimensions: 25 x 17 cm

Organisation: Royal Irish Constabulary

Source: Police Museum

A British colonial police helmet from St Vincent, an island in the Caribbean that was under British governance between 1763 and 1979. Colonial police helmets like this were often made of cork; a light material, well suited to warmer climates.

Between 1815 and 1914, the British Empire consisted of 400 million people located across 10 million square miles of land in colonies across the world. The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), with its civil and military policing experience, was an ideal model for the British colonial police services. Many colonial police officers were trained at the Phoenix Park Depot before being deployed in countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.

In 1907, the British Colonial Office decreed that all commissioned rank police officers for the colonial forces would be trained by the RIC at the Phoenix Park Depot. All officer cadets underwent an intensive eight month training course at the depot. Recruits were schooled in arithmetic, geography, orthography, geometry, algebra, bookkeeping, grammar and trained in drill, musketry, horse riding and police duties and procedures. A typical training day would consist of morning drill between 7.30 am and 8.30 am, followed by an hour at riding school, then breakfast, another hour of drills and parades followed by police duties. A final drill ended their day at 3 pm. Training for colonial officers was continued by the Royal Ulster Constabulary until the 1930s.