Canterbury Cathedral Constables
Today's constables are an integral and important part of the Canterbury Cathedral. The team consists of one chief inspector, one inspector, four shift sergeants and 20 constables.
They man the Precincts 24 hours a day and they are familiar figures, both to the congregation members, and also the King’s School pupils, who are also located within the Precincts. But they don’t just stand on the gates, having an important and varied role; monitoring and responding to the various fire and intruder alarm systems throughout the Precincts; monitoring the CCTV surveillance cameras situated throughout the Precincts; dealing with problem visitors; crime prevention; and also dealing with any accidents, which require first aid treatment. In the past they have had to deal with people brandishing firearms, knives and have assisted the local Police in the pursuit and arrest of suspect criminals. They work very closely with the local police, and are always looking at new ideas to maintain the security, and protect those within the Precincts.
The constables are a uniformed force and wear very similar uniforms to the police. The parade or best uniform consists of a police navy blue tunic with epaulettes and enamelled collar badges, a white shirt and black tie is worn, along with a peaked cap with a royal blue and white chequered Sillitoe Tartan cap band. Attested officers, known as Cathedral Constables, wear a gold Bath Star badge with crown on their cap to distinguish them from their unattested colleagues. These officers, known as Close Constables, wear a cross badge with a pale blue enamelled background, over which a silver cross is formed with black lettering 'IX,' from the Greek for 'Jesus Christ.'
For every day duty the constables wear black police trousers, white shirts with black epaulette slides (with embroided/metal devices), black tie, service cap and a black fleece jacket (with Cathedral heraldic shield sewn onto the upper left breast). Severe weather clothing consists of black Metropolitan police style anorak and waterproof over trousers. General equipment consists of police style nylon utility belt with pouches to carry radio, torch, first aid equipment and a personal attack alarm. In 2016, attested officers were authorised to carry personal protection equipment and are issued with the PR24 or Autolock extendable tactical batons and rigid handcuffs. All officers wear a stab vest.
Being the mother church of the Anglican Communion the Cathedral is extremely busy. Every day it receives thousands of visitors including important dignitaries such as royalty, politicians, as well as many senior clergy. The Archbishop of Canterbury has a residence within the precincts and is a very regular visitor to the Cathedral. It is where his Cathedra (throne) is maintained, and in addition to his role as head of the Anglican Communion and Church of England, the Archbishop is also the Diocesan Bishop of Canterbury. When staying in residence the constables are responsible for the Archbishop's security.