The British East Indies Company acquired Singapore in 1819. Although Singapore progressed rapidly, Malacca and Penang did not. The three British colonies in Malaya were united in 1826, with Penang its administrative centre. In 1830, the Straits Settlements were governed by Resident Robert Fullerton; each province was governed by a deputy resident. Two years later, the Straits Settlements were united under a governor; the administrative centre moved to Singapore. The deputy residents were appointed resident counsellors.
The 1867 move of the Straits Settlements from India to the British government, important to the history of Malaya, did not immediately affect the Straits Settlements police.
The Police Force Ordinance, amended in 1871, was operative from 1872 until the arrival of the Japanese; all police forces in the Straits Settlements were controlled by the chief of police in Singapore.
Penang and Malacca were led by a superintendent, who acted as the chief police officer.
The first police chief of the Straits was Samuel Dunlop.