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also for traces of feathers or dead fowl. Should property so hidden be discovered it should on no account be removed, but carefully watched. Persons observed carrying bags or bundles at night or during the early hours of the morning should be watched. If circumstances warrant it they may be stopped and questioned, and the bags or bundles examined.
ARSON.-In cases of arson it will generally be found that the incendiary, viz., the person setting fire to the house or property, bore some malice or ill-will to the owner, although cases of incendiary fire sometimes occur where stacks of corn, &c., are set on fire by persons bearing no ill-will to the proprietor, but actuated merely by wantonness and mischief. Occasionally cases occur in which persons in needy circumstances set fire to their own property in order to gain the amount of money for which it is insured, and which in such cases is usually beyond the value of the property insured.
See also titles “Arson” and “Fires” (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.
FIRES.-In all cases of fire a constable must first endeavour to save life if in danger, his subsequent efforts being directed to the saving of property. In cases of fire a close watch should be kept on the movements of pickpockets and any suspicious persons observed in the crowd, and care should be taken to prevent their gaining access to the premises for the purpose of carrying off any portable property.
PICKPOCKETS.— The movements of pickpockets at races, fairs, &c., should be closely watched by the police. The officers employed on this duty should wear plain clothes.
Pickpockets usually act in concert, some of the party surrounding and jostling the victim, and thus distracting his attention while the property is taken. The watch, purse, &c., stolen is immediately transferred to a confederate.
UTTERING COUNTERFEIT COIN.—The offence of uttering counterfeit coin is an indictable misdemeanor, but where a person previously convicted again commits the offence he is guilty of felony. Efforts should be made to obtain possession of the coins tendered or uttered. They should be marked so that they can afterwards be identified. The offenders should be at once apprehended and immediately searched to ascertain if they have any other coins in their possession. Where proceedings are instituted the Mint should be communicated with,
BIGAMY.-In investigating a case of bigamy the constable should obtain evidence on the following points:-(1.) The two marriagesit is immaterial whether both marriages took place in this country or in a foreign country. (2.) The identity of the parties. (3.) That the first wife was alive at the time the second marriage was solemnized. (4.) And if the first wife has been absent for seven years, that the accused knew she was alive. The first wife is not a competent witness to prove any part of the case either for or against her husband upon the charge of bigamy. As a rule, a warrant should be obtained before an arrest is made.
See also title “ Bigamy” (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.
RAPE, &c.—In cases of rape, the constable should arrest the person charged, and bring him and the woman before a magistrate, and also without delay, if she consent, have her person examined by a doctor. This examination cannot be made without her consent.
The following circumstances support the testimony of the woman ravished :—Her credibility; good fame; marks of violence on her person ; discovering the offence without delay and looking for the offender; if party accused has fled.
The following circumstances weaken her testimony :-Evil fame; concealing the injury; if place of offence was where she might have been heard, and she made no outcry.
See also title “Rape" (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post. Regarding defilement of children, see Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885. APPENDIX, p. 517.
In such cases the child's person should at once be examined by a doctor, if her parents consent, The fact of the child having complained of the injury recently after it was received is confirmatory evidence. It is desirable, in order to render her evidence credible, that there should be some concurrent testimony of time, place, and circumstances. These points should, therefore, be attended to in the inquiry.
See also title “Children” (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.
CONCEALMENT OF BIRTH.—This is an indictable misdemeanor. It is necessary to prove that the accused was delivered of a child. A dead body must be found and identified as the child of which the woman is alleged to have been delivered. It is also necessary to show that there was a “secret disposition” of the body. In cases of concealment of birth it is most important that the supposed mother should be examined by a doctor if a magistrate so directs and that she consents, but not otherwise. It would be a criminal assault to examine the woman's person without her consent. The state of her bedding, &c., may furnish evidence of the woman having given birth to a child without such personal examination. During her illness the woman should not be charged until a doctor certifies that it may be done with safety.
The denial of the birth does not constitute the offence; the woman (or any person aiding her, who is equally guilty) must have done some act constituting a secret disposition of the body" after the child was dead. The police should act with extreme caution in cases of concealment of birth, so as not to cruelly outrage the feelings of a person innocent of a criminal offence who may, however, in other respects be unfortunate.
It should be remembered that the offence being a misdemeanor, a warrant should be obtained before making an arrest.
See also title “Concealment of Birth” (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.
THREATENING LETTER.—The necessary steps to be taken in a threatening letter case is to ascertain who is the most likely person to send the letter; to obtain evidence, if possible, to prove the sending; to obtain proof of the handwriting, which, along with other circumstances, may prove the guilt of the offender. The sending or delivery of the letter need not be immediately by the offender to the prosecutor; if it be proved to be sent or delivered by the offender's means and directions it is sufficient. The envelope in which the threatening letter was received should be carefully preserved.
See also title “ Threatening Letter" (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.
When a threatening letter or any documents which may afterwards be required in evidence is given to a police officer, he should at once enter his initials and the date on the back for the purpose of subsequent identification, but should be careful not to make any mark on the face or written part of the document.
IDENTIFICATION OF STOLEN PROPERTY.-Regarding identification of stolen property and individuals, see Identification," p. 8. Also as to identification of footmarks, see “ Footmarks,” p. 8.
RULES OF CONDUCT.-MAXIMS FOR CONSTABLES, &c.
Rules, &c. EVERY individual appointed to the police force ought seriously to consider the totally new position in which he is placed by his admission into the constabulary, whereby he becomes a peace officer, and is consequently invested with certain powers by law which he must exercise with great caution and prudence. Members of the force should act in the discharge of their various duties with the utmost forbearance, truthfulness, and civility towards all classes of Her Majesty's subjects; remembering that the security of persons and property is intrusted to their keeping and the maintenance of public tranquillity confided to their care, they should at all times set an example in their own persons of order, sobriety, integrity, and propriety of conduct.
A constable on joining his station should set himself to acquire a knowledge of every street, road, and public place in the town or district in which he is located. He should next acquire a knowledge of the appearance and character of the inhabitants. He should be most civil and courteous, and endeavour, so far as he can consistently with his duty, to make himself popular with all classes. He should make himself well acquainted with the persons and haunts of the criminal class (convicts on license, habitual convicts, thieves, &c.), in order to be able to bring them forward without delay in the event of their being charged with the commission of any crime; he should, however, act kindly towards such persons, and endeavour by advice and encouragement to induce them to abandon crime and live honestly.
The steps to be taken by a constable in investigating certain crimes are given in previous sections of this work (a). In making inquiries in criminal cases the greatest attention should be paid to details. * Officers of short experience are often apt to neglect points which appear trivial and of no importance, but which may actually be of the utmost value in the subsequent conduct of the case.
In making inquiries there is no objection to the constable putting questions to any person from whom he thinks he can obtain useful information. If in the course of his inquiries he should happen to interrogate and receive answers from a man who turns out to be the
(a) See p. 7, “Detective Duties;” p. 58, “Criminal Investigation.”
criminal, and who inculpates himself by these answers, they may nevertheless be receivable in evidence; but when a constable has a warrant to arrest, or is about to arrest a person, or has a prisoner in custody, he has no right to question such person touching the crime of which he is accused (a).
All arrests should be made quietly, without attracting attention or subjecting the prisoner to any needless exposure, humiliation, or severity (6). The usual way of effecting an arrest is for the constable to touch the shoulder of the accused lightly, and inform him of the charge on which he is arrested. If the constable be in plain clothes, he should state he is a police officer. If the arrest is by warrant, the warrant should be read over to the prisoner as soon as practicable. The warrant may be shown to the prisoner, but the constable should on no account part with the warrant (c).
In proceeding to execute warrants constables should act with the utmost discretion and silence, communicating their movements to no one except members of the force. The same rule applies to other police duties.
Any voluntary statement a prisoner may make should be carefully listened to and written down as soon as possible, and given in evidence at the trial, as may also conversations overheard between the prisoner and any other person. A constable should never invite an accused person to make a statement without first cautioning him (d).
In giving evidence a constable should ever bear in mind the solemn obligation imposed upon him by his oath not only to speak “the truth," but “the whole truth.” He should never depose to words or facts which he has not heard or seen himself, or add a colour to his evidence by word, tone, or action. He should never hesitate to answer questions which may be favorable to the prisoner. A police officer should never express any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of a prisoner. The question of conviction or acquittal should in nowise influence the constable. Having laid before the magistrates all the available evidence calculated to throw light on the case, a policeman's duty is discharged.
Constables are often subjected to severe cross-examination by counsel for the defence, who sometimes comment unfavourably on the constable's conduct in the case, or infer the statements made are untrue. Constables should in such cases keep their tempers, and answer respectfully and quietly, keeping nothing back, even though it may be unfavourable to them. If a constable has spoken the truth, and the whole truth, he has no need to feel nervous under cross-examination.
Constables can make notes regarding cases at the time they occur, or immediately afterwards. They may refresh their memories by referring to their notes before entering the witness-box. Should they refer to them in the witness-box the notes may have to be handed in. A constable may, before a case comes on at the trial, ask to read over his depositions.
(a) See p. 4. (6) See p. 2.
(c) Regarding warrants, search warrants, &c., see title “ Warrants” (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.
(d) See p. 4.