MY recent article about the 40th anniversary of the official opening of Greenock police station in Rue End Street mentioned it took place just weeks before the formation of the new Strathclyde force.

This meant that Renfrew and Bute Constabulary would no longer exist.

It came into being on 16 August 1967, bringing an end to Greenock having its own burgh police force for nearly 170 years.

Greenock’s first Master of Police, Nathaniel Wilson, was appointed in 1800.

Prior to this crime had been tackled by a few special constables and town officers.

Mr Wilson’s appointment was an experiment.

It is not documented how Greenock’s first police chief kept a roof above his head and food on his table, as he occupied the post for two years without payment. He was then given a lump sum of £100 and an annual salary of £50.

Mr Wilson resigned in 1815 and was replaced by John Lennox, who held the position for just two years. His successor was John McIlwraith.

Robert Lyle was appointed Superintendent in 1832. At that time the whole force comprised a Superintendent of Police, two sergeants, five constables, three messengers-at-arms and 12 night watchmen.

Alexander Mann succeeded Mr Lyle in 1838.

Mr Mann is credited with producing the first instruction booklet for officers of the Greenock force.

Issued in 1839, it stated: “He must be extremely sober and temperate — punctual, active and diligent in the discharge of his duty; and shall on all occasions maintain a prudent and obliging behaviour.

“He must be firm, yet kind and conciliatory. He must be cautious not to interfere in street and other affrays unnecessarily; but when circumstances require him act with boldness and decision and, at the same time, with coolness and perfect command of temper.” It is has been recorded that Greenock’s first Chief Constable was William Newham, who succeeded Mr Mann in 1858.

The same source states that in 1863 his successor, David Dewar, became the first Chief Constable to be given the honorary title of Captain. This title was dropped in 1945 when William McKechnie took over from Captain James Christie.

In the early 1950s David Gray became the next Chief Constable.

Greenock’s last Chief Constable was David Williamson, who was appointed in 1958.

Mr Williamson became the first and only Chief Constable of Renfrew and Bute Constabulary when it was created in August 1967.

Today’s main picture shows members of Greenock police force in 1902.

The gentleman with the cocked hat on the horse is Chief Constable Captain John Angus (1886-1913), whose predecessor, Captain James Orr, succeeded Captain Dewar in 1876. Standing in front of Captain Angus is Superintendent James Christie, who took over from Captain Angus as Chief Constable. The force’s other senior uniformed officers are seated on the left.

The five men seated on the right are CID officers, but it is not known if the dog shown was also a member of the department.

The other picture dates to 1935 and is of Inspector William Reid making the first call from a police pillar telephone in Port Glasgow.

These phones were introduced throughout the area to enable members of the public to contact the emergency services.