The Story of Superintendent Charles Dore

An Illustration of the powers exercised by the Chief Constable in the 19th century, and how employment laws have changed in the past 150 years.
The Story of Superintendent Charles DORE

The Chief Constable, Captain Forrest (appointed in 1856) had the reputation of being a strict disciplinarian. Often during his long period in office he was at the centre of controversy and the target of criticism. Both magistrates and public were at different times annoyed by what seemed to be his harsh treatment of men under his command.

One such instance was the affair of Superintendent Dore. Charles Dore had entered the Hampshire Constabulary in 1840, and had advanced to the rank of superintendent. He had performed his duty worthily, no complaint had ever been made against him and throughout his service he had contributed to the police superannuation fund.

Early in 1859 it became necessary to reduce one superintendent in the county force, since the government no longer required a police officer of that rank to be stationed at Aldershot (and was no longer prepared to continue the allowance for the maintenance of additional police in that neighbourhood).

Acting within his powers, Captain Forrest had dismissed Dore, who was then only forty-five years of age, and apparently in good health. Later, certainly, he had recommended that Dore be awarded a gratuity of £300 from the superannuation fund, a proceeding of doubtful legality.

In the meantime the chief constable had maintained another officer, Martin, in the rank of superintendent, who was far junior to Dore. Martin, however, stood well with his chief constable, having previously served under him in Nottingham and returned to Hampshire at his behest, Dore, in consequence of the blow to his career, had been reduced to a state of great distress.

A doctor opined that there was no energy or capability of exertion left in Dore, he had not slept properly for three months and that the whole affair would likely be the death of him. As a result of the kindly intervention and recommendation of Captain Harris an appointment in the Devon force as superintendent had been secured for force: but he did not feel in his place there, and felt that the station and authority of superintendents in Devon by no means compared with those attaching to the same rank in Hampshire.

Dore remained a miserable man, broken in health, uprooted and concerned (as many of those who spoke on his behalf were) with the future upkeep of his nine children.

A motion to set up a select committee to investigate the whole business was defeated. Everyone agreed that the chief constable had acted technically within his rights and so the affair passed over. But the feeling that Captain Forrest was inclined to be too autocratic persisted, reinforced by this instance.

The life history of Superintendent Dore is being researched by his ancestors. Anyone with information about him, and his nine children, should contact the Society