Today's Canterbury Cathedral Constables
Today's Close Constables are an integral and important part of the Canterbury Cathedral now. They man the Precincts 24 hours a day and they are familiar figures, both to the congregation members, and also the King’s School pupils, who are also located within the Precincts. But they don’t just stand on the gates. They have an important and varied role, monitoring and responding to the various fire and intruder alarm systems throughout the Precincts; monitoring the CCTV surveillance cameras situated throughout the Precincts; dealing with problem visitors; crime prevention; and also dealing with any accidents, which require first aid treatment. In the past they have had to deal with people brandishing firearms, knives and have assisted the local Police in the pursuit and arrest of suspect criminals.
They work very closely with the local police, and are always looking at new ideas to maintain the security, and protect those within the Precincts. Looking to the future, the constables have now undertaken training and have a SIA license, which allows them to perform their everyday tasks, but this is a plus, as this will ensure that the constables play an important role within the Cathedral and local community.
The Close Constables are a uniformed force and wear very similar uniforms to the police. The parade or best uniform consists of a police navy blue tunic with epaulettes and enamelled collar badges, a white shirt and black tie is worn, along with a peaked cap with a detachable pale blue band (Cathedral livery colours), although attested constables wear a royal blue and white chequered Sillitoe Tartan cap band. A silver and enamelled badge is worn on the crown of the cap. This is a shield shaped device, with a pale blue enamelled background, over which a silver cross is formed with black lettering 'IX,' from the Greek for 'Jesus Christ.'
Every day duty wear consists of: In winter, the Close Constables wear a navy blue police trousers, a NATO style navy blue pullover, white shirts with black epaulette slides (with embroided/metal devices), black tie, service cap and a black police style blouson jacket (with Cathedral heraldic shield sewn onto the upper left breast). In summer the uniform worn is as above except without the pullover. Severe weather clothing consists of black Metropolitan police style anorak and waterproof over trousers. General equipment consists of police style nylon utility belt with pouches to carry radio, torch, first aid equipment and a personal attack alarm. In 2016, attested officers were authorised to carry personal protection equipment and are issued with the PR24 extendable tactical baton and rigid handcuffs. They also wear stab vests.