Northern Rhodesia Police

Northern Rhodesia Police


The British South African Company considered that its territory north of the Zambezi was more suitable for a largely African police force than a European one. However, at first the British South Africa Police patrolled the north of the Zambezi in North Western Rhodesia, although its European troops were expensive and prone to diseases. This force and its replacements were paramilitaries, although there was a small force of European civil police in the towns.

The British South Africa Police were replaced by the Barotse Native Police force, which was formed in 1902 (other sources date this as 1899 or 1901). This had a high proportion of European NCOs as well as all European officers and was merged with the civil police to form the Northern Rhodesia Police in 1911.

Initially, Harry Johnston in the British Central Africa Protectorate had responsibility for North Eastern Rhodesia, and Central Africa forces including Sikh and African troops were used there until 1899. Until 1903, local magistrates recruited their own local police, but in that year a North Eastern Rhodesia Constabulary was formed, which had only a few white officers; all its NCOs and troopers were African. This was also merged into the Northern Rhodesia Police in 1912, which then numbered only 18 European and 775 African in six companies, divided between the headquarters of the various districts.