Police stations' numbering system

1 Photo

Last time, we talked about police stations numbered 1 to 6. This time we continue to talk about the numbering system of police stations.

The first No. 7 Police Station in use from 1858, was located at the junction of Queen's Road West and Pokfulam Road. It was moved to the site of the former Sailors' Home in Des Voeux Road West in 1902. In 1952, the third-generation No. 7 Police Station was built at the junction of Des Voeux Road West and Western Street, where the St. Peter's Church used to stand. The third-generation No. 7 Police Station is in fact today's Western Police Station. The site of the second-generation No. 7 Police Station is now occupied by the Western Police Quarters.

No. 8 Police Station, located in Station Street, Tai Ping Shan District, gave the street its name. In use from 1870, the station had to be moved to the nearby Hospital Road during re-development of the Tai Ping Shan District in the late 1890s, immediately after the bubonic plague epidemics. It was demolished in 1925. A new No. 8 Police Station in High Street was inaugurated in 1928 and then demolished in 1934. The fourth No. 8 Police Station was built on the same site and was completed in late 1935. It now houses the Crime Hong Kong Island Regional Headquarters.

No. 9 Police Station, located in Caine Road opposite the bottom of Shelley Street, was in use from 1853 before being demolished.

All these police stations can be seen on a map published in the 1870s, which is now available in the Lands Department. In other words, the history of such a numbering system can be traced back to that era, and these stations were completed before that date.

Among these nine police stations, three survive up to this present moment. This serves to explain why some long-time residents still address the Wan Chai, Western and the Upper-Levels Police Station as No. 2, No. 7 and No. 8 Police Station respectively.

Besides records relating to such a numbering system, there is one thing that we should take into account. After Hong Kong became a colony in 1844, police stations appeared on Hong Kong Island and then on the Kowloon Peninsula after its cession in 1860. During the 1870s, apart from the above-mentioned nine police stations, some more were built in other parts of the colony, namely Aberdeen Police Station opened in 1847, Stanley Police Station in 1859, Pokfulam Police Station in 1861, Shaukiwan Police Station in 1872, and Yaumati Police Station inaugurated in 1873. However, the numbering system did not apply to these stations.

The Central Police Station was, in fact, not covered by the numbering system. Even nowadays we still have people calling Central Police Station as "Daai Gwoon" in vernacular, meaning "big station". This was not only because of the area it covered, but also because it was the headquarters of the Police Force. So, the real meaning of the term "Daai Gwoon" is actually the headquarters of the Force. This explains why it was not found within the numbering system, which only applied to branch police stations within the city boundary.

The third generation (left block) and second generation (right block) of No.7 Police Station in Western District, taken in 1952

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