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Liverpool City Police

Bruche

a history.... by brian starkey retd.

Bruche logo - click to enlarge

Bruche (Warrington, Cheshire) was the District Police Training Centre for the North West Region of the uk. It was originally built on a green field site during 1940/41 to provide temporary accommodation for workers at the nearby munitions factory at Risley.

It was never used as originally intended and was aquired by the United States Army Authority as a transit camp for US military personnel.

In January 1946 the Centre opened its doors to Police Recruit Training. Over the years many alterations and improvements were made making Bruche the largest of the six Foundation Training Centres in England and Wales. The other District Training Centres were, Ashford in Kent, Aykley Heads in Durham, Ryton-on-Dunsmore in Warwickshire and Cwmbran in South Wales.

The forces that sent officers to Bruche were mainly:

  •  
  • North Wales Police
  • South Yorkshire Police
  • West Yorkshire Police
  • Greater Manchester Police
  • Lancashire Constabulary
  • Cumbria Constabulary
  • Merseyside Police
  • Cheshire Constabulary
  • British Transport Police
  • Humberside Police
  • Lincolnshire Police
  • North Yorkshire Police
  • Isle of Man Constabulary
    • By the 1950's and 1960's the Centre became surrounded by a residential area as Warrington spread itself as a town.

      The Centre could accommodate approximately 400 students who all resided on site during their training period. Due to the increase in student numbers Bruche opened two satelite Centres, one at Padgate College, Warrington and the other at Hutton Hall, Lancashire.

      Initial training initialy lasted 13 weeks for each intake but was later extended to 15 weeks.

      The Centre closed on 26th May 2006. During its life time Bruche trained approximately 86,000 police officers. The final intake at Bruche consisted of 92 students from the police forces of:

      •  
      • Staffordshire
      • Leicestershire
      • Derbyshire
      • West Mercia
      • West Midlands
        • Police training is now the responsibility of each individual police force.

          Brian Starkey (2011)

Intake 1 - 1946 - click to enlarge
Final intake 2006 - click to enlarge
Bruche closing ceremony - May 2006 - click to enlarge

memories

Retired police officer and writer, Tony Judge recalls his experiences at Bruche. To view just click the link below.

Fatal Accident 1956

Whilst I was at Bruche, in late February or early March 1956, one of my classmates died following a tragic accident in the Gym. He was a Lancs County recruit named Ivor OATES.

I was one of four holding the four corners of a coconut mat and the PTI asked if anyone could do forward somersaults. One Birkenhead recruit said he could, he had apparently represented Cheshire in Gymnastics as a Junior. Anyway the four of us were holding the mat when he came running towards us and did a perfect forward somersault over the mat we were holding and landed on his feet on the other side.

The PTI suggested that if anyone wished to try it they could do so or just do a forward roll into the mat we were holding. The next one down was a Liverpool City recruit who just jumped into the mat and we all ended up in a heap on the floor. A few more ran down, including a couple of Policewomen and just did forward rolls in the mat we were holding and we just tipped them out onto their feet. Next came Ivor, he ran down towards the mat and took off and passed me horizontally, head high, doing a swallow dive, landing some six feet beyond the mat we were holding. He landed, head first on judo mats topped by coconut matting so the matting was about six inches thick. Tragically he fractured his spine somewhere between his shoulder blades and his neck. He lay there on his back saying, “trust me to cock it up, I can’t feel my legs”.

The First Aid Instructor, a Sgt Inman attended as did an Ambulance. No ‘Paramedics’ in those days and the attendants were about to put Ivor on a cushioned stretcher when Sgt Inman almost went berserk and ensured that Ivor was transported to Hospital on the old stiff wire stretcher we used for training.

The accident happened on a Friday and poor Ivor died early on the following Monday morning. The PTI was never the same after the accident and had trouble sleeping and could often be seen, late into the night, sitting on the step of his accommodation..

At the Inquest, the Birkenhead recruit ‘made a lot of friends’ by telling the Coroner that he considered the exercise dangerous for people of our ability. A very sad and tragic accident and Ivor’s seat in class remained unused for the rest of the course.

Charlie Wass (2012)

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