Archive photo collage of a police car and driver, and police officers on motorbikes
The Kent Police Museum collects and cares for a large number of donated artefacts reflecting the rich history of Kent Police from 1857 until today. We aim to share this very important historical resource with the widest possible audience.
The collection includes uniforms, past and present policing equipment, crime related items, documents, a range of books and official records, as well as a large number of photographs.

Following its temporary closure and subsequent relocation to Faversham Police Station, we are pleased to announce that the Kent Police Museum will be reopening in 2021.

Although our timescales have been set back by the current Coronavirus outbreak, we are now working on the design of the gallery spaces and finalising content and will announce a formal launch date when the current situation eases.

In the meantime, please keep checking back for updates and we look forward to welcoming you all to our exciting new visitor experience!

The Kent Police Museum collection has grown from items gathered together from within the Force and donated by retired Officers and staff in 1973. The collection occupied space in several offices at Kent Police HQ in Maidstone and, inevitably, space became restricted, leading to new accommodation at Chatham Historic Dockyard in 1994

For the next 20 years the collection was shared with visitors to the Dockyard and to school children and other groups on special visits before plans were drafted to create a dedicated facility in Faversham.

In 2016, Faversham Police Station became the new home of the Kent Police Museum, although the station will continue to house working police officers and staff. This charming 1904 building is formed of two houses and still retains the original cell block, a feature which will be developed in current plans to create new displays and a more immersive experience for visitors

Kent Police is a strong and energetic community of active and retired Officers and staff, and their shared history is a core part of the Force’s character.  This continuing history of Kent Police and an understanding of the issues surrounding policing, past and present, also form an important part of our community identity and well-being.
The creation of a new public museum in a town well known for its long history and rich heritage will make a real impact on visitors to the museum, giving insight into the history and development of one of the UK’s largest Police forces.
As time passes and the collection grows, and we build our electronic record keeping, the Museum will also become a valuable resource for those people researching their family history and for those studying policing and its history.

  • try on real police uniform and see what you’d look like if you were an officer;
  • hear real life stories of people who have been involved with Kent Police;
    step into our Edwardian cell block;
  • see the evidence that brought criminals to justice in Kent in our crime room.
As well as the exhibitions we create, we will have a strong learning offer for schools which will link directly to the National Curriculum.  This will be supported by a programme of talks and fun learning activities for all ages.

Our collection spans the history of Kent Police from 1857 to the present day, including the Borough forces and crimes committed in the County.  Like most museums, we work hard to document and catalogue our growing collection in line with UK museum professional standards.
An estimate of our current holdings includes:

  • 10,000 photographs (including negatives)
  • 3,000 artefacts (including uniforms/guns/evidence)
  • 5,000 documents (including newspaper articles)
  • 1,500 books/journals
  • 3,000 films
  • 2 motorbikes

Our priority is to make sure material is properly cared for and documented in a way that we can easily retrieve detailed information.  As we get more of the collection recorded digitally, our long term plan is to allow online research access to non-sensitive parts of our records.

Physical access to real museum objects is an important way to reinforce learning and, during the process of managing our collection, we have identified specific items that can be handled by the public. This includes items such as:
  • uniforms
  • handcuffs
  • truncheons
  • lamps
  • forensic equipment
Some of these items will be available to handle at the museum but will also be available for schools and other users to borrow on fixed-term loan to support lessons and activities. 
We will also consider fixed-term loans of higher quality material for other projects.

In the past, most museums collected whatever their current Curator decided, often leading to chaotic collections and stores. Today, museum’s operating within existing professional standards work to a Collections Development Policy which specifies what they can collect for the permanent collection.

The Museum’s current rationalization and documentation of its collections gives the perfect opportunity to review its collections against our new Collections Development Policy. In this way we can ensure that our permanent collection is relevant to the story of Kent Police and items aren’t too heavily duplicated.

When we identify items that no longer fit within our stated Policy, we will offer them to other accredited museums in the first instance.

Once the Museum is open to the public, we will introduce a Learning Programme for schools including activities and supporting materials. There will be a small charge per head to take part.
Linked to the National Curriculum, our activities will be aimed at Key Stage1 and 2 and encourage cross-curricular learning. We will work within Crime and Punishment, Crime Scene Investigation, People Who Help Us and Local History (Victorians and WW2).
All visitors to the Museum will also benefit from full wheelchair access.
Please email us with enquiries, requests or suggestions from schools or educational groups.

Get involved

We have a team of volunteers who help with documenting and cataloguing our collection, but are always looking for additional help.

Whilst the Museum is under development, current work is all ‘behind the scenes’, working on our collections. This includes:
  • identifying artefacts
  • dealing with enquiries such as family history questions
  • photographing artefacts
  • entering artefact details into a computer database
  • making sure artefacts are cared for properly

But as the Museum opens to the public next summer and starts to deliver formal and informal learning activities, there will be further opportunities for volunteering in admissions and education.

Once security vetting is completed, a work programme will be agreed with each volunteer depending on their skills, experience, interests and availability. Full training and supervision is given to all volunteers

So if you have a background in policing, a keen interest in the history of our police force, computer skills or want to get involved with the schools programme get in touch by email.

Providing access to artefacts and historical information relating to Kent Police is a core function of the Museum. With the support of Kent Police, our volunteers and regional support agencies, we are investing a lot of energy into delivering that access to a global audience. 

Such work depends on the professional documentation of the existing collection, as well as for new donations as they are accepted into the collection. 

The growth of an electronic database to record and detail every item is central to efficient retrieval of information so we can answer a wide variety of enquiries. These include enquiries related to:

  • family histories
  • identification of items
  • crimes in Kent
  • historical facts relating to Kent Police
  • policing methods and equipment
  • specific items from the collections e.g. uniforms, badges etc.

There is a charge for those enquiries that take a longer time to process, and normal charges will apply for supplied photocopies etc. but there is no charge if we cannot help you.

Visiting researchers are able access the collections by appointment and under the supervision of the Curator.

We must be credited for the provision of any information used for publications.

We are very grateful to anyone who offers an artefact or information to our collection. However, we can only accept items that fit within our Collections Development Policy, these are items and information relating to Kent Police force or policing and crime in Kent.

If your gift falls outside our policy then we will do our best to find a more appropriate museum for you. If the item is of low historical value, lacks supporting information, or is in poor condition, please consider giving the object to our Handling Collection. In this way it will help children and other users to have a richer experience when they visit or study policing at school.

Contact us below if you have an object or photograph you'd like to donate.

Email us if you wish to:

  • donate an object or a photograph relevant to Kent Police history
  • donate money to help with running costs
  • work as a volunteer at the museum

In your email, put 'donation' or 'volunteering' in the subject field and include the following in your message:

  • name
  • phone number
  • what you would like to donate (object or stated amount of money)
  • preferred method of contact

The Museum accepts monetary donations in the form of cash or cheque. Any money donated is invested into the care and development of the collections.
To make a donation please contact us.

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