Police force name changed to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary

CI Alex Charge, Deputy PCC Terry Norton, HM Lord-Lieutenant Susie Sheldon, PCC Donna Jones Credit: Hampshire and IOW Police and Crime Commissioner

The name of Hampshire's police force has changed to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, to reflect the island as a county area.

The request to legally change the name was put forward by Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones.

The official name change was marked on Wednesday (16/11) at an unveiling event at Newport Police Station, where the new logo, including with the new King’s cypher, was revealed.  

Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones said: “I’m absolutely delighted Isle of Wight residents have their county included in the name of the police force which serves them.

“I pledged to get this done after listening to the wishes of local residents.

“I was honoured to have HM Lord-Lieutenant Susie Sheldon unveil the new crest today, alongside Acting Chief Constable Ben Snuggs.

Speaking at the event today, and directly to island residents, Commissioner Jones said: “The Isle of Wight is England’s largest island and sits in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. It has its own history; its own identity; it is unique.

“There is so much about the IOW which makes it one of a kind: its coastline; its countryside; its English villages; its communities. 

“When I ran for election as your Police and Crime Commissioner I promised to do all I could to ensure the police force included your county in its name, and I’m pleased to have been able to deliver on that promise.

“This is the most significant change to your constabulary since 1947.

“Back in 1839, the IOW was policed by Hampshire County Constabulary, which also included Bournemouth, and was comprised of just 106 police officers.

“Thirty years later, in 1869, Newport Borough Police Service was formed and in 1889, Newport Borough Police became part of the Isle of Wight County Police Force.

“In 1943, the Isle of Wight County Police Force merged with the Hampshire and Winchester forces as part of the war effort.

“The merger was made permanent in 1947 following ‘The Police Act of 1946’ and so the force was renamed: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary.

“However in 1967, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary merged with the police forces in Portsmouth and Southampton and the constabulary started a new chapter, becoming ‘Hampshire Constabulary.’

“Today is a moment in history, 55 years later, in 2022, I’m delighted to have delivered on my promise to the people of the Isle of Wight and to announce that once again the Isle of Wight is included in the force’s legal name following an amendment to the legislation.”  

“I pledged to make this happen for the people of the Isle of Wight and for our police service to reflect the county it serves and protects.

“From this day forward, Hampshire Constabulary will be known as ‘Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Constabulary’ and so a new chapter begins.”

PCC Donna Jones and Acting Chief Constable Ben Snuggs at the unveiling event at Newport Police Station. Credit: Hampshire and IOW Police and Crime Commissioner

Commissioner Jones announced her bid to change the police force name after people on the Isle of Wight said they felt disconnected from their police force.

On her first visit to the Isle of Wight after she was elected into office in June 2021, she launched a consultation to give residents the opportunity to have their say.

The consultation received strong support to change the name of the force with the most popular reason being that it serves two counties and therefore both counties should be included in the name.

Reflecting on the journey, Commissioner Jones said: “To enact this change, I worked with the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister to be the voice of those who told me the change should happen to rightly reflect the whole force area.

“In June this year, the order was laid down in Parliament gaining support from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before a final vote.

“I hope this shows the people of the Isle of Wight that by delivering on this promise I am a Commissioner who gets things done.”

Addressing concerns regarding cost, Commissioner Jones concluded: “At a time when cost of living is ever increasing, I want to reassure people that costs are being kept to a minimum, with no rebranding exercise that would take vital funds away from policing.”

“You might not see the changes in branding everywhere straight away and that’s because the branding of police uniforms, cars and buildings will be phased in over time as equipment is changed and updated. 

“I have always been clear that money should be going on recruiting new officers and buying equipment and I have been able to achieve both with a clear financial plan.”       

Acting Chief Constable Ben Snuggs said “Our force name change to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary is both symbolically and practically important for our communities and for us as a force.

“Neighbourhood or community policing is right at the heart of our policing model and this name change serves to emphasise the role that your local force has in policing all of our communities across our force area.

“Through the direct and proactive work of our PCC, it is a real privilege for us and our workforce to return our force name to include the Isle of Wight.”