Belfast Harbour Police

Belfast Harbour Police
Abbreviation BHP

Logo of the Belfast Harbour Police

Badge of the Belfast Harbour Police
Agency overview
Formed 1847
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Legal jurisdiction Belfast Harbour Estate
Governing body Port of Belfast
Constituting instrument Harbours, Docks, and Piers Clauses Act 1847
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by Belfast Harbour Corporation
Headquarters Milewater Basin, Dufferin Road, Belfast
Officers 35 (2009)
Stations 1
Belfast Harbour Police car, June 2010.

The Belfast Harbour Police is a small, specialised police force with the responsibility of policing the Port of Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1847,[1] making it the oldest continuously-operating law enforcement agency in Ireland.

Officers of this force are sworn in as 'special constables' under section 79 of the Harbours, Docks, and Piers Clauses Act 1847. As a result, officers have the full powers of a constable on any land owned by the Belfast Harbour Authority and at any place within one mile (1.6 km) of any owned land. The extent of Belfast Harbour includes the George Best Belfast City Airport, though policing of the airport by the Harbour Police was discontinued in February 2009.[2] The force comprised 28 constables, six sergeants and one chief officer in 2009.[2] Whilst on duty, BHP officers are armed, which is believed to be a unique situation amongst the small number of privately owned ports police services across the United Kingdom.[3]

The service may enforce the Belfast Harbour Commissioners' by-laws and consists of uniformed police officers and a CID section who provide 24-hour cover throughout the 2000-acre Harbour Estate, including almost 17 miles of roads.[1] Their vehicles are equipped with Tracker stolen vehicle detection devices.[1]

Unlike the green uniforms worn by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, BHP officers wear a black and white uniform, similar to those worn by police officers in the rest of the United Kingdom. Also unlike the PSNI, BHP also uses the standard black and white police Battenburg markings insignia on their forage caps and the rank insignia for the rank of Sergeant incorporates the downturned chevrons, again similar to police agencies in the rest of the UK.[4]

Any major or serious crime and incidents such as murder, acts of terrorism or armed robbery are the responsibility of the local territorial police force, the Police Service of Northern Ireland.[3]


  1. 1 2 3
  2. 1 2 Archived 4 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. 1 2 "Belfast Harbour Police : An Inspection of the Belfast Harbour Police" (PDF). May 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2014.

External links

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