The Museum was founded in 1950 by the Deputy Chief Constable of the Glamorgan Constabulary, Mr Edward Ronald Baker. A keen historian, Baker felt that the heritage and traditions of the force were being lost and subsequently this was leading to a loss of identity and pride among serving police officers. Baker’s quick thinking meant the police artefacts from the Glamorgan force that we see around us here, escaped the destruction of those in other forces as storage space became scarce.
Following amalgamation of the Glamorgan Constabulary, Cardiff City, Swansea Borough and Merthyr Tydfil Borough police forces to form the South Wales Constabulary (renamed South Wales Police in 1986), the Museum has sought to collect and record the history of all these forces.
The Museum tells the story of Policing in South Wales from the Celts right through to the present day. Highlights from the galleries include a reconstruction of a Victorian Police Cell (complete with resident prisoner!), an Edwardian Charge Room, a Second World War Diorama showing a scene from the "Blitz," rare gas masks and a tipstave belonging to the policeman who arrested Dic Penderyn.
Today the South Wales Police Museum holds one of the largest collections of police memorabilia outside London. Its primary aim is to provide a public relations service for the force aimed at the general public. To this end the Museum works closely with schools throughout South Wales, offering tours and activities related to the National Curriculum. These include the Victorian Police, using a real life example to illustrate life as a policeman in Merthyr in the 1860s, and the extended role of the police during World War 2.
The Museum also takes pre-arranged groups on general visits.