Intro Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Jan-May 1947
Section 12
May-Nov 1947
Section 13
Dec 1947-April 1948
Section 14
Evacuation 1948
Stand Down
July 1948

Pages in Section 2

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Formation of the Palestine Police

i. Formation of the Palestine Police

ii The Peoples of Palestine in 1920

iii. Early Port Police

iv. Early Clashes

v. Captain James Wesley Mackenzie

vi. 1922 Formation of the British Gendarmerie


Sir Henry Tudor With the formation of a Civil Government in OETA South on July 1st 1920, the Palestine Police Force came into official existence as one security unit amongst several under the overall command of an army officer Major General Sir Henry Tudor, K.C.B., C.M.G.
Sir Henry held the title of Inspector General of Police and Prisons and was in charge not only of the civil security units, but also of British military security. At this stage 29 000 British and Indian troops were stationed in Palestine.

The processes of forming a civil government and a police force can only be described as 'a bit of a muddle'.

Sir Herbert SamuelThe High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, took up post on July 1st 1920 but was not sworn in until September 1922.
The Police Ordinance of 1921 was promulgated as law by the British Government eight months after the Palestine Police came into being, so there was a big question mark over the new police force's right to be considered 'legal Police'. There was even a question mark over the 1921 Police Ordinance, since the League of Nations did not ratify Britain as the mandatory power for Palestine until July 24th 1922. Even then the mandate did not become operative until September 1923.

Lt. Col. P.B. BramleyThe first dedicated Police Commander in Palestine was Lt. Col. P.B. Bramley, O.B.E., who had already been preparing to unify the police forces scattered throughout Palestine (*See a previous page titledOETA Lt Colonel Bramley took over the Assistant Provost Marshall's Headquarters in the Russian Compound.

At this stage there were no rank and file British police. The civil police establishment consisted of 18 British Gazetted Officers, supported by 55 Palestinian Officers and 1,144 rank and file. Arab police greatly outnumbered Jewish police. Their brief:-

  • "To fulfil the ordinary duties of a constabulary, such as the preservation of law and order and the prevention and detection of crime.
  • To act, when their numbers allowed, as escorts for the protection of tax collectors and Government treasure throughout the country.
  • To serve summonses issued by the judicial authorities and distribute Government notices."
  • The newly formed urban Palestine Police was only one part of the security forces in Palestine. There were also the paramilitary Palestinian Gendarmerie and various British Military Units.

    In October 1920, the British created a separate paramilitary force, , the Arab Legion in Transjordan,based in Zarqa. Emir Abdullah was its honorary colonel, but a Britisher officer,Captain Frederick Gerard Peake, was in command.
    The Legion's task was to defend Transjordan against both internal and external threats. 805 of its men were local Chechens who had served in the Arab army during its 1916 revolt against the Ottoman Empire.

Next - The Peoples of Palestine in 1920.      

Text - Copyright British Palestine Police Association