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Chief Constable J V Stevenson

Mitchell Library, The Bailie

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Chief Constable J V Stevenson

James Stevenson (1858-1933), Chief Constable of Glasgow from 1902 until 1922.

A native of Athlone, Stevenson joined the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1884 and rose to the rank of District Inspector in Belfast, at a time of considerable unrest in the city. When the post of Chief Constable of Glasgow became vacant in 1902, Stevenson was the successful applicant from a field of ninety-four.

The police force rose from 1,300 to 2,250 during Stevenson's time in office. This was partially due to the absorption of existing police forces in Kinning Park, Govan and Partick, when these areas were taken over by the city. However, the First World War caused a staffing crisis when many policemen volunteered for the armed forces. Four hundred temporary constables were employed, and in 1915 Glasgow's first policewoman, Emily Miller, was appointed.

Stevenson was heavily involved in the "Bloody Friday" riot in George Square on 31 January 1919. Many critics blamed him for starting the trouble when he ordered his men to clear the streets. Leading from the front, Stevenson was injured in the fighting that followed.

Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 052 BAI

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Bloody Friday, chief constables, demonstrations, First World War, George Square, police officers, policemen, policewomen, riots, Royal Irish Constabulary, strikers

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