Victoria Police Department Charge Books

Detail, Victoria Police Department Charge Book, 1875 Browse this collection

Collection summary

This digital collection consists of a number of Victoria Police Department log or “charge books,” and "mugshot books" compiled between the 1870s and the early 1900s.  The handwritten charge books are a record of the arrests made in Victoria, British Columbia, and surrounding areas during this time.  Entries on the nearly 2000 pages consist of the following information: date, name of person charged and nature of charge, remanded (if applicable), and conviction or order. The mugshot books vary with some simply faces and names and others giving more detailed records of arrests and charges.

The physical books remain in the possession of the Victoria Police Historical Society, located at Victoria Police Headquarters, 850 Caledonia Avenue, Victoria, BC.   Sir James Douglas, Governor of the Crown Colonies of Vancouver Island (1858-1864) and British Columbia (1858-1864) established the forerunner of the Victoria Police Department in 1858. The first police station was located in Bastion Square, original site of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Victoria.


Digitization of the charge books was a collaborative project between the Victoria Genealogical Society, the Victoria Police Historical Society, and the University of Victoria Libraries.  In 2014, staff from the Libraries’ digitization unit spent several months creating digital images of the entirety of each log book.  At the completion of the project, the Victoria Genealogical Society received copies of these images, for future indexing by their members.  The charge books were returned to the Victoria Police Historical Society in November 2014. The mugshot books were received for digitization in late 2015 and completed in 2016.

Note to users

These historical records contain language that researchers will find offensive, but which reflect the attitudes and social norms of the time in which they were created.  Any future transcription will present entries verbatim.

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