History of The Band
All information adapted from the booklet
"The Band of the Hampshire Constabulary Centenary - 1895 - 1995''
The Annual Church Parade was held at St Mary's Church, Southampton. The photo shows the band, led by its Bandmaster the late Sergeant Stan Roper. Leading the column furthest from the saluting base is ex-D Sgt Bob Shergold who served from 1948 to 1975. Bob says he joined the band to improve his chances of being allocated police accommodation, unfortunately for him this did not prove to be the case!
The Empire Theatre 1930/31
The band here is shown on the stage of the then Empire Theatre in Commercial Road, Southampton - then a large combined cinema and theatre. Later called the Mayflower, it played host to the band again in 1990 at a packed memorial concert for the Royal Marine Bandsmen who were killed or seriously injured following a terrorist bomb explosion in Deal, Kent. Some £8,500 was raised.
The Empire Theatre, 1930
Our band has often had an ex-military Bandmaster. Many of its members over the years have also served in military bands. In the same way that such bands have been influenced strongly by the Royal Marines, the police band has boasted several Bandmasters who are ex-'Royals' - Stan Roper, Doug Johnstone, Len Lewry, Jason Burcham and Pete Curtis.
Over the years, the band uniform has changed to correspond with that of the regular force. From high collars and dress tunics through peaked caps to white helmets and lanyards. The most marked difference between band and general police uniform was the band's adoption of the white helmet for marching, first used in 1972 at the Bramshill Cavalcade and withdrawn in 1999. Today, with the adoption of 'bowler' style hats for the female band members, the overall appearance more closely resembles that of the Number One dress worn by the Hampshire Constabulary.
Change of Times - Change of Name
The last Chief Constable of Southampton, Mr Alfred Cullen, was a strong supporter of the band, which started its long life in that City. When the Forces of Southampton and Portsmouth amalgamated with Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in 1967, band representatives successfully persuaded the new Chief Constable, Douglas Osmond, that it should continue. Its name changed to the Band of the Hampshire Constabulary to reflect that of the new Service.
Our internationally travelled and acclaimed band has visited many European countries - from France and Belgium to Holland and Denmark. It has played in massed band spectaculars, for garden parties, ship sailings, Scottish Tattoos and in concert halls with other police and military bands. Joint performances with the Constabulary Choir and with our friends in Holland and Denmark have been received with enthusiasm. Strong links have been forged with Portsmouth in Virginia, USA and with The Hague Regional Police Band with whom regular exchange visits take place. The Band have also enjoyed tours to Malta and St Lucia in recent years.
With the demise of many armed services bands, our engagement requests have increased sharply. We are one of only a handful of police bands in existence in the UK. This success is, of course due to the enthusiasm of the members and the continuing support of successive Chief Officers who have recognised the community benefits of a respected and professional band; which in addition raises many thousands of pounds for charity at no expense to the taxpayer.
After many years rehearsing at Hulse Road, Southampton, the band room was moved to Bishops Waltham in 1987, and then to Netley Police Training Centre in 1989 where rehearsals are still held.