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embarrassments incident to its formation and maintenance in an efficient state, under the extraordinary circumstances of the colony having been happily, to all appearance, overcome at that date, I brought more particularly under notice the measures taken for its thorough re-organization.
2. I would now take leave to lay before your Grace a return showing the strength and distribution of the general police of the colony, as at present constituted. I am happy to report that the augmentation of the force effected since the commencement of the year, and the result of the new arrangements under which it is now worked, viewing the extent, the scattered and mixed character and peculiar pursuits of our vastly increased population, have fully, and in every respect justified my expectation. I have good grounds for considering that at this time the general police of the colony is in as efficient a state as any similar body out of the mother country. The large immigration. of all classes has latterly given great facilities in the selection both of officers and men. I have secured the services of many of the former class, possessed of every qualification which could render them a valuable acquisition to the public service, and to their hearty co-operation in carrying out the measures of the chief commissioner of police, I may attribute much of the present satisfactory result.
3. On the 1st of January last, when the existing police arrangements came into operation, the constabulary of the colony of every class,-water police excepted, consisted of the following numbers :
26 40 - 49
Provision was, as I have already stated, made by the estimates laid before the Legislative Council for a much larger force, but met with some opposition, and ultimately an increase of the establishment to 1,065 was sanctioned. With every wish to economise and to meet the wishes and yield to the opinion of the council, I have considered that the duty of providing for the public security and maintenance of good order is paramount to every other; and I have not scrupled, as time moved on, and the inadequacy of the police protection, even under our new arrangements, in one or other quarter was clearly manifested, to order such further increase as the chief commissioner of police brought under my notice as imperatively necessary; and I can have no doubt but that the Legislative Council will hold me justified in assuming this responsibility. The state of the revenue will fully admit of such increase.
4 The efficient augmentation of the police force has not been brought about without much labour. Clothing, arms, and horses, could not be always readily obtained, even when the services of suitable officers and men could be secured. The supply of accommodation for numerous detached parties involved another difficulty. All these obstacles, however, I am happy to state, have, even at this date, been in a great measure overcome.
5. The arrival on the 9th May last of the fifty nen, with three serjeants and an inspector, selected from the London metropolitan police force, I have already reported. The constabulary of the city was at that time considered to be complete in numbers, and in a very efficient state. It became a question how the services of the London police might be employed most advantageously to the colony. It was considered that it would be useless to keep them in one party, either in town or country, unacquainted as they were with the localities, or with the criminal portion of the population; and, as a temporary measure, therefore, it has been deemed advisable to distribute them among the divisions of the police entrusted with the charge of the city and neighbourhood, until they shall have gained sufficient local experience to warrant their being placed together in one body, as contemplated by the authorities in England. Some
10th June 1853.
disappointment was evinced at finding that they must necessarily occupy a different position to that which they expected, in order to acquire a description of knowledge which can only be attained by colonial service, instead of being the medium of communicating instruction to others, but no exception can be taken to their general conduct hitherto. The advantages of the particular arrangement under which the services of this body of police have been secured to the colony are evident; but I am inclined to consider that any further importation of foot constabulary at the expense of the colony would be undesirable, as we have now a considerable number in the general force who have previously been in the London Metropolitan Police, and who have emigrated at their own expense. The services of these men become available, after probably an unsuccessful visit to the Gold Fields, without involving the colony in the expense of their passage.
6. The total strength of the police is, at the present moment, as shown in the accompanying return-1589: of which 999 form the foot police, and 590 the mounted police. To the latter should, properly, be added 50 soldiers of the 40th regiment, who have been trained, at very considerable expense, to serve as mounted troopers. To them is now confided the duty of escorting the gold from the Mount Alexander workings. The cost of their maintenance is, however, placed to the account of the military appropriation.
7. The detective force, and especially the Melbourne division, has proved an admirable auxiliary in the suppression of crime. It is a matter of congratulation that, at the present time, notwithstanding the facilities held out by the circumstances of the colony, apprehension almost invariably follows its commission, and for some time back in every instance in which bush-ranging has been attempted, the criminals have been promptly captured. With regard to the state of the city of Melbourne itself, I may add that the police magistrate reports that his attention is now rarely called to a case of serious outrage, and that his time is almost entirely taken up in the disposal of petty offences.
8. Great, however, as the strength of the police force undeniably is at present, the Chief Commissioner is urgent that provision should be made for its further increase. A large portion of the country is still very inadequately protected. As new gold fields are discovered, it is seen that they must be at once provided with an ample police, at the same time that it is found impracticable to diminish the numbers employed at any of the existing stations. It may be observed that a considerable portion of duty devolves upon the police, which would be far better performed, and at a much less expense, by the military. I advert to the various guards required in Melbourne and at the Gold Fields. But I have already alluded to this fact in former despatches.
9. I cannot conclude this report without remarking on the beneficial results which have arisen from the formation of the cadet corps. The Appropriation Act of this year contemplated that this body should consist of 100 cadets; but in consequence of the Council having voted such a very inadequate number of officers, it became necessary to reduce the establishment of cadets to 65, and to pay a number of lieutenants out of the saving effected by the reduction. About 30 young men of respectability and education are now serving as troopers, with the understanding that they will succeed to such vacancies as may occur among the cadets. In the meantime they receive the same pay, and are treated, as nearly as practicable, in a similar manner, every possible regard being paid to their real character and pretensions. Whenever oicers are required in the police, the senior cadets in succession, if qualified, receive the rank of lieutenant, with pay at the rate of 14s a day. They, in their turn, are promoted to be sub-inspectors; and the Chief Commissioner reports that, without an exception, they have turned out to be efficient officers. The cadet corps has not only served as a school in which officers may be trained, but has set an example of discipline and good order as a constabulary force to the ordinary police. Their superior education and standing prevents their being tampered with.
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle,
I have, &c.
(Signed) C. J. LATROBE.
(No. 104.) MY LORD DUKE,
Melbourne, 24th June 1853.
Enclosure 2 in No. 7.
Of all descriptions, Water Police excepted.
Total strength on the 10th day of June 1853.
W. H. F. MITCHELL,
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, &c. &c.
Detectives, 4 officers, 3 non-commissioned officers, and 20 men 27
COPY of a DESPATCH from Lieut.-Governor LATROBE to the
W. H. F. MITCHELL,
Chief Commissioner of Police.
Chief Commissioner of Police
Melbourne, July 4, 1853.
I EMBRACE an early opportunity of transmitting for your Grace's satisfaction the enclosed "comparative statement of the Revenue of this Colony, received into the Colonial Treasury during the quarters and years ended 30th June 1852 and 30th June 1853, respectively."
2. Your Grace will be gratified in ascertaining that up to this date the unprecedented increase in almost every branch of the Colonial Revenue, since the separation of the two colonies, and the gold revenue which has, doubtless, attracted attention, has met with no check whatsoever. On the contrary, the total amount of the last quarter's revenue, compared with the corresponding quarter of 1852, shows an increase of no less than 582,1407.; and the gross annual revenue of Victoria, calculated at this rate, would not fall far short of three millions and a half sterling.
I have, &c.
(Signed) C. J. LATROBE.
Encl. 1 in No. 7.
Encl. 2 in No. 7.