Formally established in 1838 under Henry Inman, the force is the oldest in Australasia and it is the third oldest organised police force in the world. Unlike other Australian police forces, which originally employed soldiers or former convicts, the South Australia Police enlisted only volunteers. This occurred because South Australia was the only free colony on the continent.
In the early stages of the force, the staffing team consisted of ten mounted constables and ten foot constables under the command of the Inspector Henry Inman.
By 1840, Major Thomas Shouldham O'Halloran was appointed as the first official Commissioner of Police. At this time, SAPOL consisted of one Superintendent, two Inspectors, three Sergeants and 47 Constables divided into foot and mounted sections.
From 1848 to 1867, SAPOL also served as the state fire and rescue service, until the precursor of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service was formed. They also supplied the Civil Ambulance Service from 1880 to 1954, when it was taken over by the St John Ambulance Service.
South Australia Police Foundation Day.
South Australia Police (SAPOL) celebrates Police Foundation Day annually on 28 April. It is a time to reflect on SAPOL’s rich and diverse history since its auspicious beginnings way back on 28 April 1838 when a Police Inspector, 10 Mounted Constables and 10 Foot Constables were sworn in.