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Zimbabwe - Police flags

Last modified: 2015-08-29 by bruce berry
Keywords: zimbabwe | rhodesia | zimbabwe republic police | british south african police |
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image by Martin Grieve, 04 Apr 2008

See also:

Zimbabwe Republic Police (1980 - )

Following the independence of Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980 the British South Africa Police (BSAP) was renamed the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in July 1980 and adopted a new badge and flag. The new badge continued to feature the lion in the centre surrounded by a belt on which is the Latin motto of the force, Pro Lege, Pro Patria, Pro Populo, which means "For the law, for the nation, and for the people".  This is surrounded by badge-like star with wreath, surmounted by a Zimbabwe Bird, all in yellow on a blue background as with the BSAP badge. A scroll with the name of the force is below.

The ZRP flag follows the same pattern as its predecessor in that it is navy blue with a yellow crest in the centre.
Bruce Berry, 04 Apr 2008


British South Africa Police (1970-1980)

[British South African Police 1970-1980] image by Richard Allport, resized by Devereaux Cannon, 06 Feb 2002

In 1970 when Rhodesia became a republic the crown was removed from the crest and from the flag, although the name "British South Africa Police" was retained until 1980.
Source: Flags and Symbols of Rhodesia, 1890-1980 (SAVA Journal 5/96) by R Allport [all96].
Bruce Berry, 06 Feb 2002
 


British South Africa Police (1960-1970)

[British South African Police 1960-1970] image by Richard Allport, resized by Devereaux Cannon, 6 Feb 2002

In 1960 the crest was changed to a simpler design of the badge, closer to that of the original medal design, and a crown was added above the badge. The police flag was changed to incorporate the new crest, yellow with black outlining and a yellow scroll with black letters, and at the same time the colour of the field was changed to a brilliant shade of navy blue.
Source: Flags and Symbols of Rhodesia, 1890-1980 (SAVA Journal 5/96) by R Allport [all96].
Bruce Berry, 06 Feb 2002
 


British South Africa Police (1949-1960)

[British South African Police first flag] image by Richard Allport, resized by Devereaux Cannon, 6 Feb 2002

There were numerous variants of the police badge in use at different periods prior to the Second World War. In 1933 a crown was added above the badge to bring it in line with the badges of other colonial police forces.

In 1949 a new version of the badge was adopted and it was this version that was used on the first police flag, in the centre of a field of very dark blue. The crest showed the lion badge encircled by a scroll bearing the BSAP motto Pro Rege, Pro Lege, Pro Patria which can be translated as "For Sovereign, For Law, For Country", with another scroll below containing the words "British South Africa Police".  This crest, yellow with dark blue lettering, was used until 1960.

The police flag contained the badge of the force on the centre of a royal blue field. An interesting feature of this flag is that the badge was cut out in detail and then sewn onto the flag, so that all the details, including all the lettering, are in fact the cloth of the field of the flag showing through the badge
Source: Flags and Symbols of Rhodesia, 1890-1980 (SAVA Journal 5/96) by R Allport [all96].
Bruce Berry, 06 Feb 2002
 


British South Africa Company Police (1884-1898)

scan by Bruce Berry, 04 Apr 2008

On 21 May 1884, the territory of Bechuanaland was declared a British Protectorate. A force of 100 men was organised to police the Protectorate and became known as the Bechuanaland Mounted Police. In 1885 a new force was raised and the name was changed to Bechuanaland Border Police. When the Eastern part of the Protectorate was transferred to the British South Africa Company (BSAC) in 1895, most of the men of this force were transferred to the BSAC Police. The badge of the Police at that time was in the colours red on blue, and showed a lion with tusk in the centre, surrounded by the words "The British South Africa Company Police", with the name finally changing to the British South Africa Police (BSAP) in 1898.   The lion with tusk emblem came from the Arms of the British South Africa Company which had the responsibility of administering the territories which were later to become Northern and Southern Rhodesia.

After the occupation of Mashonaland in 1892 the BSACP underwent a name change to the Mashonaland Mounted Police and used as its badge simply a monogram of the letters MMP intertwined. This was also the acronym of the Matabeleland Mounted Police which was formed in 1894 to cater for a military presence in Matabeleland and it also used a monogram of the letters as a badge.

Following the transfer of the responsibility of the police forces from the Company to the High Commissioner, the British South Africa Police (BSAP) was formed from the Matabeleland and Mashonaland Mounted Police units on 22 August 1898.  The badge adopted by the BSAP shows a charging lion (the "British Lion" and a reference again to that used in the BSAC Arms) with a spear in its chest, against a background of Mimosa bushes, with assegais and shields on the ground .

The BSAP kept its name following the granting of Responsible Government to Southern Rhodesia in 1923.
Bruce Berry, 04 Apr 2008


British South Africa Police emblem

[British South African Police emblem] image by Richard Allport, resized by Devereaux Cannon, 06 Feb 2002

The badge which later became the official BSAP badge and was featured on all of the BSAP flags, was first used on the reverse of the medals awarded to troopers who had taken part in the campaigns in Matabeleland and Mashonaland between 1890 and 1897. The badge shows a charging lion (presumably the "British Lion") with a spear in its chest, against a background of Mimosa bushes, with assegais and shields on the ground.
Source: Flags and Symbols of Rhodesia, 1890-1980 (SAVA Journal 5/96) by R Allport [all96].
Bruce Berry, 06 Feb 2002

There were numerous variants of the police badge in use at different periods prior to the World War II.  In 1933 a Royal Crown was added above the badge to bring it in line with the badges of other colonial police forces.

In 1949 a new version of the badge was adopted as a police crest for use on all official police stationery and on the police magazine The Outpost. It was this version that was used on the first police flag, being placed in the centre of a dark blue field.  The crest showed the lion badge encircled by a scroll bearing the BSAP motto Pro Rege, Pro Lege, Pro Patria which can be translated as "For Sovereign, for Law, for Country", with another scroll below containing the words BRITISH SOUTH AFRICA POLICE. This crest, yellow with dark blue lettering, was used until 1960.

In 1960 the crest was changed to a simpler design of the badge, closer to that of the original medal design, but with the Royal (St Edward’s) Crown added above the badge. The police flag was changed to incorporate the new crest, being in yellow with a black outline with a yellow scroll with black letters below. 

In 1970 when Rhodesia became a republic the crown was removed from the badge and also from the flag, although the name "British South Africa Police" was retained until 1980.  There was no change to the name of the force or the flag during the short-lived period between June 1979 and April 1980 when the country became know as Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
Bruce Berry, 04 Apr 2008


British South Africa Police banner

Image by Herman Fmy, 10 May 2009

The British South African Police banner was a square Union Flag.

"The Regiment received, along with fifty-one other units, a Banner, presented to the Regiment by Lord Milner on behalf of King Edward VII at Mafeking in 1904 in recognition of services rendered to the British Empire. It was stated specifically at the time that the Banner was not a Regimental Colour. Despite this, the Banner was mistakenly used in place of a Colour and with an embroidered Battle Honours, but this action was not sanctioned by official regulations."  (Source: Field, Andrew, The Abbreviated Website History of the British South Africa Police).
Herman Fmy, 10 May 2009

According to Richard Allport in Flags and Symbols of Rhodesia 1890 - 1980 (SAVA Journal 5/96) [all96] this flag was made of silk with the BSAP badge in the centre.  When the then Commissioner, Col. Billy Bodle, went to Mafeking to receiver the banner, he was convinced that he was receiving a "King's Colour".  For the next 18 years it was treated as such and in1922 a replacement was requested.  The War Office in Britain, however, replied that they had no record of a King's Colour having been awarded to the BSAP.  A lengthy enquiry ensued and continued until 1936 when the Coronation Contingent was due to leave for England.  The Army Council then ruled that the "flag presented to the BSAP in 1904 was a banner given in recognition of services rendered to the Empire.  It was not a Colour and battle honours were not allowed to be emblazoned on it". 

Most members of the BSAP nevertheless continued to regard this flag as a "Colour".
Bruce Berry, 24 June 2009