To generations of Liverpool/Merseyside police officers the name Nott Bower is synonymous with a football cup. However society in general and the police in particular have a lot to be grateful to William John Bower for. He was born in York in 1849. He had originally pursued a career in the army. After Army service he joined the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). At that time the British Empire ruled the world. Every one of the Crown’s Colonial police forces had a cadre of British senior police officers in charge. Those Senior Officers were trained by the RIC then a paramilitary force.
In 1878 he was appointed Chief Constable of the Leeds city police where he remained until 1881 when he was appointed Head Constable of Liverpool city police.
Whilst in Liverpool he introduced the fore runner of what became the Ambulance Service. Previously casualties were rolled through the city streets in an open litter/cart; similar to the barrows used by the city’s fruit sellers. The police used the same cart to remove drunks to the bridewells. Nott Bower used horse drawn wagons, later motorised, with police officers trained in first aid in attendance. The wagons were covered therefore removing embarrassment to those about to go into hospital. The wagons were based at the city's major hospitals and the large bridewells.
In 1902 Nott Bower left Liverpool to take an appointment as Commissioner of the city of London police (1902 -1925). In 1904 he successfully persuaded the Common Council, City of London equivalent of the Watch Committee, to introduce a police ambulance system similar to that used he started in Liverpool in London. Eventually the system was adopted nationally.
While serving in Liverpool his son John was born (1892 to 1972). John served with the Indian Police and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1931. He later became a commissioner of the Metropolitan police (1952 to 1953).
William John Nott Bower wrote a book about his 52 years of Policing.
He died 4th. February 1939.
Shaun R Rothwell BA (Hons) (Inspector of Merseyside police - Retired)
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