Published: 13:53, 08 October 2021
| Updated: 15:34, 08 October 2021
The new Kent Police Museum opened today showcasing more than 150 years of history.
Reporter, Megan Carr, had a look around and even became a temporary crime solver!
Reporter Megan Carr visited the new Kent Police Museum this morning
Opening its doors for a sneak preview earlier today I was rather unsure of what to expect from the Faversham police station.
As someone who lives nearby, I couldn't quite get my head around how they would fit a whole museum into a building that has officers working there.
But, after stepping inside all my questions were answered. It was like a Tardis!
The first thing I saw was the 1981 BMW R80 police motorbike. The handsome vehicle was sitting proudly in the centre of the museum's first room.
And although I didn't sit on it, as much as I would've liked to, when the museum opens to the public next week, the station is more than happy for children (and adults!) to take a seat.
Before being able to have a good look around, Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley was joined by Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, to cut the red ribbon.
The Mayor of Faversham, councillor Alison Reynolds and members of the National Association of Retired Police Officers were also at the launch this morning.
Previously, the museum was at Chatham Dockyard, but following a grant from the Kent Police Property Fund, it now has a new home in Church Road.
With the museum now officially open I was free to roam around. My first stop, and one of my favourites, was the prison cells.
The station was originally built in 1904 and the museum curator, Paul Upton, really captured the 20th-century atmosphere.
Two cells were set up exactly how they would have been all those years ago - very bare and not too comfortable.
You could even have a sneak peek into the station's archives through a peephole, and pose as a captured criminal for a cheeky photo opportunity!
Paul said: "We have produced a contemporary exciting visitor experience that makes maximum use of the limited space and historic nature of the building.
"We hope that it will help visitors discover the rich and diverse history of policing in the county."
There were lots of engaging and easy to understand information boards and many collections of artefacts, memorabilia, photographs and documents.
However, as much as I enjoyed looking at the historic uniforms, handcuffs and weaponry, it was the interactive displays and exhibitions that captured my attention.
Starting in the forensic section of the museum was the chance for you to solve your very own burglary case!
Set up as a 'real' crime scene it's up to you to work your way through the clues and figure out which of three suspects committed the crime.
It was such good fun reading through the reports and learning about the history of Kent Police as I attempted to solve the case, you could even design a photofit.
I'm pleased to say that I did figure out who the criminal was, I'm not going to give it away to you though, you'll have to go along and work it out yourself!
The museum was engaging and I learned about things you don't normally associate with the police such as the work they carried out in the First World War.
The display cabinets full of weapons and other illegal things like money forgeries were also very interesting.
There was one weapon made out of a bike chain that shocked me, it was fascinating to see how criminals had adapted their weapon of choice over the years.
With the police trying to build up their trust with the public after the horrendous murder of Sarah Everard, it is clear that the Kent force is being open about the work they do and how they want to support and protect the people of the county.
Information and the history about women in the force and the cultural diversity within Kent Police were also focused on, it was prominent that a message about unity was being shared.
Chief Constable, Alan Pughsley, said: "I am delighted that we have been able to find a new home for the museum.
"It is important that the public are able to see the difference between the early days of policing and our operations now.
"And yet, over 150 years later, those foundations still align with many of our foundations today.
"We continue to embrace the concept of policing by consent and our vision, that Kent is a safe place for people to live, work and visit is as important in 2021 as it was then."
The layout of the collection is very modern and easy to follow and with plans for families, visitors and schools to attend the museum I can see it being a great success.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, Matthew Scott added: "I’m really pleased to see the museum re-open.
"It’s such an important place, helping to tell the Kent Police story to future generations, as well as our own staff and the general public.
"It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come and how much policing has changed, even in a very short time.
"With so many fascinating exhibits, I’m sure we’ll all learn something from a museum visit."
I really enjoyed my visit to the Kent Police Museum and would recommend it for children, those interested in joining the force and anyone wanting to know a little more about the history of Kent itself.
The museum will be open to the public three days a week, Thursday to Saturday, from 10am until 4pm from Thursday, October 14.
Entry is free but booking is essential. Large group bookings are also welcome Monday to Wednesday.
To book you visit click here.
There is very limited two hours free parking just outside the station, however the museum is just a seven minute walk away from Faversham railway station.