Film ID: NEFA 20039 Video of Police Headquarters, Aycliffe and Harperley Training School POLICE HEADQUARTERS, AYCLIFFE AND HARPERLEY TRAINING SCHOOL 1947 Visitor TabsDescription An amateur film showing the opening of the Durham County Constabulary headquarters at Aycliffe and the Harperley Hall training college at Harperley Hall near Crook by the Rt. Hon. James Charter Ede on the 19th April 1947. Title: Durham County Constabulary. Title: Presents. Title: Police Headquarters, Aycliffe and Harperley Training School. Title: Officially opened by the Rt. Hon. James Charter Ede MP, Secretary of State for Home Affairs. Title: Saturday 19th April 1947. The film opens on views of the new headquarters at Aycliffe. Three police officers work at a telephone exchange. Various dignitaries arrive followed by James Charter Ede who arrives by car. Mr Edes begins an inspection of a parade of policemen. One of the policemen is a musician and has his tuba on the ground next to him. Mr Charter Ede speaks with one of the officers. Title: Headquarter Staff. Mr Charter Ede inspects a a number of other groups including a parade of women who are not in police uniforms. Title The Sunderland Police Band. A police brass band marches past the building followed by a number of other uniformed policemen and women. Title: Members of the Force and Guests are addressed by.,, A man addressing a seated crowd. Title: Councillor Thomas Benfold CBE, JP, Vice Chairman of The Standing Joint Committee. Thomas Benfold stands and addressing the crowd. Title: Rt. Hon. James Charter Ede MP Secretary of State for Home Affairs. Mr Ede stands and gives a speech to the crowd. Title: The Marquess of Londonderry, KC, PC, MVO. The Marquess of Londonderry wearing military uniform addresses the crowd. Title: The Bishop of Durham conducts the Service of Dedication. Mr Charter Ede opens a set of ceremonial curtains to reveal a wall plaque. Outside groups of policemen and women stand around talking. Two young police women smile at the camera. Title: Harperley Training School. A large exterior sign reads 'Durham County Constabulary – Police Training School'. General vierws of the exterior of Harperley Hall and its grounds. Mr Ede inspects another group of policemen on parade in front of the hall. Title: The Chief Constable addresses the Parade. The Chief Constable speaks to the policemen on parade. He is followed by Mr Ede who is presented the keys to the hall. Mr Edes open the door and goes inside. Outside the policemen stand around talking. A photographer take a photograph of a smaller group of policemen. The film ends with a Union Jack on a flag pole. Title: The End. Context Amidst all the formalities are fascinating glimpses of police work, with a blackboard listing types of crimes - larceny, “false pretenses” - along with the clear up rates. If Britain tops any international league tables it must surely be in pomp and ceremony. There is plenty of evidence here of the deep seated formality of public life, with the parade of local dignitaries, the inspections and the ubiquitous standing to attention. Inside the police headquarters itself there is a splendid switchboard, and a blackboard provides a simple picture of how well the force is doing, giving a percentage of crimes solved in each category of offence. There was a police recruitment drive from 1945 onwards to coincide with the increase in crime, although there was a dip in crime in 1947 after the sharp increase during the war. The new police headquarters was soon followed by a redevelopment of Aycliffe, though the police headquarters no longer survives. Harperley Hall, as a Grade II listed building, once the seat of the Wilkinson family, has survived and still functions as a police training centre, recently refurbished; but has been greatly extended by a modern building housing state of the art forensic training facilities. Nearby, thanks to English Heritage, a prisoner of war camp that held Italian and German POWs has also been preserved.