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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

The Police Department

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The Police Department.

The New Zealand Police Force numbers 485 men, consisting of A Commissioner (who is also Inspector of Prisons), 7 Inspectors, 18 Detectives, 8 Sergeants-majors, 20 first-class Sergeants, 18 second-class Sergeants, 14 third-class Sergeants, 121 first-class Constables, 121 second-class Constables, and 168 third-class Constables. There are also thirteen District and nine Native Constables. The approximate cost per year is £95,000. The duties of the Police are numerous and varied—acting as clerks of Court, for which £10 a year extra is given, as bailiffs paid by mileage on summonses, as census sub-enumerators at 2s. 6d. per day and expenses, as dog-tax collectors on commission, as clerks of Licensing Committees, when a small honorarium is voted by the local bodies, as police gaolers, then paid by the Gaol Department; and in other ways, such as truant officers, inspectors of weights and measures, etc. In all these cases, save the latter, there are emoluments attached, which go to the police officer performing the duty, besides the ordinary wages allowed by the Department. The duties of the Commissioner lie in keeping a general eye over the workings of the Department throughout the Colony. The Inspectors, the next under him, are placed in charge of police districts, and are responsible for the good order of such localities. These districts are cut up into sub-districts, and a sergeant or constable placed in sub-charge, who conforms to the Inspector in charge.

At the chief centres, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, a Sergeant-major exists, whose duty lies in supervising the city police, lie having under him sergeants taking charge of the constables who do the beat duty. The hours are:—For day-duty men, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., one day; 5 a.m. to 9a.m., and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., on the following day; for night duty, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. As the members of the rank and file are paid for seven days a week, they are expected to work every day in the year, unless on special occasions, when a constable can, by putting a request in writing to his officer, get a day off; but save on these occasions, and for twelve days' annual leave, which are allowed by the Police Regulations, he must not leave the town on any account, either while on or off duty. Uniforms are found by the men themselves, and no allowance is made by the Department. The salaries of Inspectors range from £800 a page 6 year to £400, with £50 house allowance; detectives 9s. 6d. per day to 12s. 6d.; Sergeant-majors 10s. 6d. per clay; sergeants 8s. 6d. to 9s. 6d. per day; constables 7s. to 8s. Recruits for the service are drawn from the Permanent Militia, and go direct to police duty. A constable is always supposed to be on duty, whether in uniform or not. The mounted men are supplied with horses and fodder, and attend to the ordinary police duty of the country. It is necessary to state these facts, so that the reader may follow me in my reasoning.

Now, I contend that the people of this Colony do not get value for the large annual expenditure of £95,000 on our Police Force, and I believe my readers will be of the same mind before they reach the last page of these papers, if indeed there is any existing doubt. Though credit is due to some members of the House, no politician has yet made any serious attempt to place the Service on a satisfactory footing, and confusion worse confounded is the order of the day. Letters are constantly appearing in various papers throughout the Colony, making flagrant charges against the administration of the Department, which, if not true, should receive official denial. Session after session goes by, and question upon question is put to the Government on this subject, but nothing has yet been accomplished that will be at once satisfactory to the men and the public. From the very inception of the con-stable's career until the time he falls out of the Service, he is in a state of unrest and uncertainty, owing to unreasonable regulations, unfair promotions, unnecessary transfers, and persecutions by tryannical superiors.

A regulation exists, to the effect that every member of the force shall be expected to know in what his duty consists in every case, and he will be held responsible for any illegal act he may be guilty of in the performance of that duty. This simply means that should the recruit make a wrongful arrest through sheer ignorance, he may be mulcted in heavy damages by the Civil Court, and even dismissed. For example, a raw constable in a Southern district arrested a Chinaman, who was wanted on warrant of commitment in default of payment of fine for trespass, the constable not being in possession of the warrant at the time. In consequence, an action was taken for illegal arrest, and the constable was compelled to pay up. A more recent example occurred in Wellington, in connection with a charge of sly-grog selling, when, through the constable being a raw recruit, a good case was muddled. The S.M. made some rather severe comments on the Police action. It should be hardly necessary to say that it is unjust and stupid to expect a man to have all the Acts at his fingers' ends, or be up to all the modes of law procedure without some previous training; yet men are sworn in, and within forty-eight hours are on street duty, and often in charge of most important beats, and they are ignorant of what steps to take should occasion demand. The consequence of this is, that men neglect their duty, and avoid "cases" for some months after their appointment, so as to get a smattering of knowledge from the older hands, and law-breakers, meantime, are page 7 allowed "free leg." Now, this is rather a serious consideration, as, on an average, thirty recruits are annually enlisted.

The "kit" served out to the men is out of date, more especially the handcuffs, which are most difficult to place, and often hurt the prisoner needlessly. They are set to one size, and in some cases will not fit a small or large wrist, and the constable is put to the expense of a private pair. The revolvers are splendid instruments of the Colt pattern, but are most unwieldy, and as in the case of the handcuffs, small handy ones, equally as effective, are bought at the expense of the men. When the police, disguised, are in pursuit of dangerous criminals, it is of course highly necessary that the pursued should not know the identity of the pursuers, and one carrying a long revolver is not only noticed, but is so heavily laden as to greatly prevent fast travelling. Members are expected to reside within close proximity to the Police Station, and if the station happens to be in a favoured part of the town, rents are high, and men getting 7s. a day are paying as high as 15s. and 16s. a week rent. To make matters worse, though the Department has lately made a house allowance of 10s. weekly to sergeants, already well paid, it has entirely left the constables out, with the exception of some who do clerical work.

Constables are expected to hear the fire-bell on all occasions, and attend fires, whether on or off duty. The officers arrange with the watch-house keeper to call them, but the poor understrappers are expected to sleep with a "weather ear lifted." One of the most frequent charges against the constables is that they do not hear the fire-bell, and in many cases punishment is inflicted for failing compliance with this rule. Inspector Broham, of Christchurch, is especially active in enforcing this obnoxious regulation, and seems to pay as much attention to its fulfilment as to the discovery of incendiaries and fire-raisers. A constable coming off eight hours' night duty at five on a winter's morning can scarcely be blamed if so deep a sleep should overtake him, that at six he cannot hear a fire-bell.

It is also unfair that a constable should have to attend Court as a witness in his spare time, without having a corresponding amount of off time allowed him. This presses hard on night-duty men, as, should they make an arrest at night, they are expected to make a written report of the occurrence, and be prepared to attend Court (at 10 a.m. in most cases) the same day, and are liable to be detained all day, and resume their duty on the street at 9 the same night, quite fatigued through lack of sleep, and unfit to efficiently act when force is required. Result: many men keep out of the way of cases, and the public will understand how it is a policeman is so often absent when required. In the Victorian and other Colonial Services, arrangements are made which fairly and reasonably meet the case.

Great friction exists over promotion, and the political element is almost invariably present when a member is favoured in this way. The Hon. R. J. Seddon, some two years ago, issued a regulation that all third-class men with seven years' service free page 8 of offences, were to be promoted to second-class; but it was found that this regulation, like many others pertaining to the Police, was put into force simply where it suited those in authority; and there are to-day men of fourteen years' clean service who are still in the lower position, although their cases have been brought under the notice of the Department. For the last four years, the publication of promotions in the "Police Gazette" has been discontinued, and a shrewd suspicion exists that the purpose is to keep the men in the dark, in order to allay the discontent which naturally follows the knowledge of unfair advancements. Men have been promoted who could not pass a Standard III. examination. A case is known to the writer where a man promoted was so ignorant as to seriously make the statement that he knew of a vessel once being becalmed for three weeks in Foveaux Straits ! Comment is needless. Apart from this, their intellectual power has, in many cases, run to seed, and brought forth a prolific propensity for beer sampling, on the cheap too often. An acting-sergeant in Otago, some four years since, was arrested by a fellow-sergeant for drunkenness and being absent without leave, for which offence he was reduced to the lowest grade in the service and transferred to another town; but within twelve months he was promoted to his previous rank, though about the only case he had had in the meantime was that of an old lady who fainted in the street, and was arrested for drunkenness; his more sensible officer, however, refused to receive the charge, and the woman was sent home in a cab.

Cases could be multiplied by the score where promotions have taken place, the only recommendation in favour of such being an efficiency at political wire-pulling and evading opportunities of doing duty. The cases are very rare where simple vigilance, intelligence, and general efficiency play any part in influencing a promotion. The very natural sequence is, that the majority of the men think less of duty in seeking promotions, and more of that which brings the speedier arrival of the desired end—viz., political influence. There is a constable in the service who was once discharged for drunkenness, and took an hotel; but when the present Government got into power, he was re-appointed as a first-class constable (his former rank), with his old number given him, which will entitle him to compensation for previous service on subsequent discharge. This man has been allowed leave for the last six months on full pay, the last month being given him by the Department without application, shortly after the visit to him of a Cabinet Minister's wife. It is an open secret that the constable is an old West Coast crony of the Premier's, and rumour says a relation. In answer to a deputation to the Premier on Police matters, Mr. Reeves, who was present, told the deputation what was untrue—viz., that the Atkinson Government reappointed this constable, hoping, of course, to divert the odium from Mr. Seddon. There are very few men in the service who have not some member of the House at their backs; and the constable who has two, or, better still, a Premier or Minister, always comes off best. The Inspectors are frightened to punish some members of the force on account of this political influence; and in page 9 many cases orders have been given by them for the removal of constables for drunkenness and other offences, only to be countermanded from Wellington within a day or two. No one will deny that this is a standing menace to discipline and good order.

The transfer of members from one district to another is carried out in a very unsatisfactory manner, being as delightfully uncertain as the promotions. Constable S., than whom there was no more fearless or capable officer in the Department, was rarely in a town longer than twelve months, and in some places a few weeks, and at last threw up his billet in disgust. These transfers, where not of the man's seeking, generally follow prosecutions of licensees, or friends of men of political influence; and in country stations, those who insist on compliance with the licensing laws lead the lives of modern Ishmaelites. Since I started this pamphlet, further bungling has taken place in the matter of transfers. Several orders for transfers of constables were issued; but within a week some were countermanded, and others were amended so as to give stations other than those originally named, political interference having intervened.

Commissioner Hume, in his Annual Police Report for 1892, says, "From my experience during the past year, I am more than ever convinced that to have a thoroughly efficient Police Force, it is imperative that the Inspectors, Sergeants, Detectives, and Constables should be periodically moved from one station to another;" and he consistently warns the Government each year against allowing long residence in one place of the police as being likely to impair their efficiency; for, naturally, friendships are formed which are bound to have a wrong influence; and yet men reside for twenty years in one place, and are so mixed up with business transactions, and possess so much local influence, that the Government are frequently in the humiliating position of ordering a removal, and suddenly countermanding it, rather than offend political friends. A constable at Christchurch was once ordered to Dunedin, for fighting and drunknenness, and a recruit sent to replace him; but, after a few days, an order came countermanding the removal. The comrades of this man can't swear that political friends came to his aid; but if the constable's frequent visits to the Telegraph Office, and numerous telegrams, count for anything, there was a friend of the right colour at court. This man had a long career of offences, being once discharged for bigamy, and I learned that later on he was charged at the Police Court with breaking into a man's house one night, dragging the man out of bed, and thrashing both his wife and himself. He was convicted and fined on two charges, and ordered to pay costs. The regulation affecting suspension in this case is a dead letter, for the constable has been on duty ever since the event occurred, although weeks have elapsed since judgment was given, and he is still doing his ordinary duty. This man told an acquaintance, that last summer he overslept himself on his beat on night duty, woke up half an hour late, got a boosing friend to allow him to run him in; and to make it appear like a genuine case of resistance, he plastered mud on the fellow's back. He was page 10 fined 10s. and costs, which was paid by the constable, who also presented the drunk with a new coat; thus he escaped punishment for being late. The writer has frequently been threatened, where the interests of private individuals (more especially licensed victuallers) have clashed with the execution of his duty, that he would be shifted. In too many cases, to the shame of the Government of the day be it said, conscientious policemen have been hounded from post to pillar, until they are either obliged to throw up their billets in disgust, or to fall into the habit, so common now-a-days, of "winking the other eye."

The Queenstown people influenced the Department to shift a sergeant who brought a case against a licensee for keeping a common bar, without provision for either boarders or travellers, the said evasion being of long standing. Until two years ago, the irregularity was allowed to continue, the Police knowing full well the consequence of interference. The eventual compliance with the law in this case was not through Police action, but through the house changing ownership. Sergeant Mulville, who was stationed in Dunedin, and had secured several convictions against publicans for breaches of the law, was shifted immediately on top of the publication in the "Licensed Victuallers' Gazette" of the following extract:—"Probably the Premier, Mr. Seddon, would find an outlet for Sergeant Mulville's superfluous energies on the West Coast." And although the Sergeant was anxious to remain, on account of his family, and in face of the fact that a deputation waited on the Premier and showed the "Gazette," and pointed out that the removal was practically notice to the force not to interfere with the Trade, he insisted, and Mulville is now in Napier.

The presentation of rewards in meritorious cases is again a most uncertain quantity. Some get them, and others, doing exactly the same meritorious act, do not, and no explanation is vouchsafed. A constable may be asked by a Customs officer to accompany him to a hotel or brewery in search of evasions of the Beer Duty Act, and should any be substantiated, he will get a reward for simply performing a mechanical act; while the man who arrests a dangerous burglar, and has for some time been working up the evidence to justify that arrest, gets nothing—not even a friendly notice from his officer. Again, a constable who has been diligently at work some time getting a chain of evidence together against an incendiary, securing eventually a conviction, gets as little notice as the unfortunate who arrests a burglar.

The constables who on two occasions were successful in capturing long-sentence and dangerous escapees from Milford Sound prison, after enduring great hardships and privations, were never awarded a penny, although the Prisons Act of 1893 distinctly allows it. What can these constables think of the administration which connives at the evasion of an Act of Parliament to prevent men getting their just dues, when in similar cases, before and since, the rule has been to give monetary rewards, and in many oases also promotion?

Are they encouraged to do their duty to the colony and the page 11 public by such acts? I trow not. A disgraceful thing of this kind occurred about two years since. A harmless old man escaped from a lunatic asylum, and the police were sent in pursuit, eventually finding him asleep in a ditch. For this they were rewarded, some £2 each, for bravery displayed in the capture of a poor old fellow about sixty years of age. One constable refused at first to take the money, but was talked into it by his comrades. The worst feature, however, of the incident was, that one constable received doctor's fees, for injuries alleged to have been received in making this heroic capture, when in truth he had broken his ribs wrestling with a comrade. A standing reward of £50 is offered for the seizure of whisky mills. Now whom do my readers think get it? The discoverer of the still? Not if his officers know it. The discoverer rarely gets more than £5. The powers that be have seen fit to enact that a Customs officer shall be present at the seizure, and the police inspector goes on his own motion; they generally bring a sergeant-major or a chief detective with them, and the reward is then made out on a sliding-scale, the Customs officer getting first cut in, for payment of prosecution costs, the inspector second, and so on, leaving the discoverer a few bones to pick in the shape of the smallest reward of any. Evidence is remarkably difficult to get in illicit still cases, and the general way adopted for obtaining it is to pay some person to visit the locality, ostensibly in search of work, but really to get evidence of location; and as these persons are not so patriotic as to work for nothing, and as the Government rarely allow anything for this class of expenditure, the constable working up the case pays the man, and should nothing eventuate from the inquiries, he is at a loss; should, however, a seizure be made, he gets treated as has been described. Little wonder, then, that illicit whisky making is a thriving industry, and that convictions are rare. One was dis-covered in Wellington harbour eleven months since, working on a huge scale. The plant was capable of turning out fifty gallons a day, which gives £13,687 10s. a year lost to the revenue, at 15s. a gallon; but allowing that only twenty-eight gallons a day were being made on an average, and assuming that the proportion of offences against the "Distillation Act" compared with convictions is about the same as that of fire-raising, then you have no less than twenty-five undetected stills running in the Colony for every one caught, and, as an ex-police officer, I believe the estimate is not far out. This gives us, roughly speaking, £250,000 yearly lost to the revenue. The Sydney Bulletin calculates the New South Wales loss under this head at a million a year. The detection of fire-raisers is one of the most difficult offences the police have to sheet home; but there is a still more difficult lawbreaker to oonvict—viz., the whisky maker. For this reason I have taken the figures for these two offences for comparison. Last year, there was only one conviction against distillers, and the year before none. This shows the police are not coping successfully with this offence.

A few years since, convictions under this head were far more page 12 numerous, the men receiving more encouragement. Half the Police in the Colony know of the existence of some still or another, and have sufficient evidence to warrant them in reporting them, but the bait is not big enough to justify their putting forward any vigorous effort to secure a capture. In Beer Duty cases, constables are allowed rewards, but if another Police officer conducts the case in Court, he gets half the reward, and does comparatively nothing.

Other minor grievances exist, too numerous to particularise—such for instance, as wretched accommodation on some stations, intrusion upon the single men by their sergeants at 11 at night, to see they are in bed like good boys, and the compulsory confinement of the constables to the town in which they are stationed, while on or off duty. At the Christchurch Station the men are not allowed "to put their beds down" after 9 a.m., and are thus prevented from taking the rest that is neded after being on the weary beat. This compels them to seek comfort elsewhere, which very often means they are tempted to hotels or worse places. The Force is thoroughly disorganised; in many cases the members do no more than they can help to escape trouble; crime is on the increase in the more serious classes where detection is difficult; and, altogether, the morality of the Force is at a very low ebb. I am borne out in these assertions by various newspapers and Associations throughout the Colony, notably the "Lyttelton Times" (which said recently "that while the Police connive at all sorts of breaches of the law, we can expert to get no sort of advantage from the most drastic legislation"), Wanganui "Herald," Christchurch "Star," Dunedin Social Reform League, Progressive Liberal Association, etc.

The Progressive Liberal Association pointed out to the Premier the disorganisation which existed, also the non-efficiency of the Service, in a long and carefully-worded letter. The Commissioner claimed, to use his own words, "that he did not wish to evade the question of dissatisfaction existing in the Police Force, and inquiry thereon, and was anxious to have any grievances, if such existed, most fully investigated, and courted inquiry thereon." But the Association's specific letter to the Premier contained charges so strong, that it has never been answered to this day (nine months afterwards); perhaps, however, the Premier is still "carefully considering the matter."

It will still be in the minds of some of the readers of this pamphlet, that towards the close of the session of 1894, Mr. G. J. Smith, M.H.R., put questions on the Order Paper relating to police irregularities at Christchurch, being the outcome of correspondence which appeared in the Christchurch "Star," and articles thereon. A letter signed "Bull's-eye" made three distinct charges against the Police administration:—1st. That plural bars were allowed under one license in most of the hotels in Christchurch. 2nd. That many hotels were illegally connected by internal doors with tobacconist shops. 3rd. That, contrary to the regulations, two detectives, having a brother and sister, respectively, licensees in the district, were allowed to reside in Christchurch. Mr. Seddon, page 13 as Premier, in answer to Mr. Smith, strongly deprecated the placing of such questions on the Order Paper, and denied in toto the truth of the charges. Meanwhile, the Police had compelled the licensees having internal communication with tobacconists' shops, to close such communication, and also to close the bar at one hotel. The Prohibition party then took up the case against the Government for allowing the detectives to remain, and pointed out that the Commissioner's Annual Report continually recommended periodical transfers of members. The Government gave way on the last of the three charges, so that "Bull's-eye" scored throughout. With regard to the plural bars, it seems that the Act of 1881 allowed extra bars on payment of an extra license-fee; but although these extra bars have been open for many years, no license-fees have ever been paid. The Act of 1898 withdrew the power to license extra bars, yet they are there all the same, no notice whatever having been taken of alterations in the law. The holders of the licenses under which extra bars are being run shelter themselves behind a technicality—viz., that the unlicensed bars are private, and do not come within the interpretation of the word "bar," which means a room or lobby opening directly on to a street or public place. It will be readily seen how the Act can be stretched. Supposing, for instance, a publican had a hotel a few chains from where a large concourse of people were in the habit of meeting, he, according to Police ruling, would be within the law if he constructed a temporary passage from the hotel to the spot, at which place he could then sell spirituous liquors without a license, providing the customers had to turn round a corner before reaching the bar. In justice to the public, the Government should insist on a test case being brought, and if the law is faulty, on having it amended, to prevent such contemptuous proceedings. The Central Hotel, Christchurch, has two bars, one of which is at the corner of a busy thoroughfare, and the other a chain down another street, at the corner of the building, both bars opening directly on to the street; yet the Police refuse to act. The City Hotel, Christchurch, has a building constructed over a right-of-way which connects the hotel with a billiard-room over a pawnbroker's shop, in which billiard-room there is a complete bar, presided over by a barmaid, the whole thing being separate from the hotel; the public entry is direct from the street to the billiard-room. If this is the law, there is nothing to prevent a licensee having a bar in every room in the house, save those required by law to be set apart for other purposes, or to extend his bars in all sorts of directions if there be space available. The closing of the bar, referred to above, was a most peculiar proceeding. The Boniface was simply ordered to shut the doors which opened directly on to the street, and, so instead of having three entrances to this bar he has two, being circuitous instead of direct. Do my readers think this is the intention of the Act, as framed by the people's representatives? The odium falls on the Government, for not compelling a prosecution of the holder of this license for a clear contravention of the law. A deputation which waited on the Inspector page 14 in Christchurch on this matter, was told that as the offence was one of long standing, the Department thought it hard to prosecute, whereupon one of the deputation remarked, "It would be no harder than prosecuting sellers of ginger-wine without giving them notice, after selling for 30 years, and advertising the fact, innocent of its intoxicating power." (This had been done a week or so before that date.) The freedom allowed the publicans by the Police, Is one of those disgraceful laxities so incomprehensible to people of truly liberal ideas, who believe in "fair play to all, and special privileges to none." The "Oamaru Mail," of recent date, in an editorial on Police connivance at law-breaking, says, "We are being driven to the conclusion that the police and the Courts exist for the protection of the liquor traffic in any guise, rather than for its regulation as far as possible in accordance with civilised instincts." Constable X—, of Christchurch, was recently sent to trap a tobacconist into selling tobacco on a Sunday, and used a nine-year-old boy for the purpose, giving him some coppers with which to purchase a stick. The boy knocked at the door, but found it locked, and after a time was admitted, and the tobacco sold. The constable then summoned the law-breaker, but, through the fact that the shop was not "open" for the sale, the case was dismissed. The Police, not to be outdone, laid the information in a different form, with the result that the man was fined. Such zeal where licensees are concerned is unknown, and I have never known a second information being laid against a publican, where the first has failed.

In a notorious case of sly-grog selling at Cheviot, the Police, when asked, refused to take action, until threatened with exposure in the House of Representatives, when the law-evader Scott was convicted within a month; he is now serving a sentence in gaol for perjury, in connection with the case.

The "Bull's-eye" correspondent so raised the ire of the Police Department, that detectives were set to work to try and find out his identity, and the name of a Christchurch citizen was supplied to the Premier by Inspector Broham as being the author. The "Lyttelton Times" of October 18th, 1894, in severely commenting on this conduct of the Police, says: "This may, from a Police Inspector's point of view, be a perfectly proper proceeding, but it must be obvious to everyone who knows anything about the methods of a respectable journal, and particularly to everyone who knows anything of the high integrity of our contemporary (the Christchurch "Star"), that Inspector Broham has either made a wild conjecture as to the authorship of the letter, or resorted to some irregular means to obtain information which was entrusted to the editor of the newspaper. This is a matter which the Inspector and the Editor may be very well left to settle between themselves; but it seems to us only fair to state that during the past few weeks strenuous efforts have been made by a member of the local detective force—acting, we presume, under the direction of his Inspector—to obtain, by the most contemptible means, the names of the writers of anonymous letters published in our own columns. It is not our business to say what motives may have suggested this monstrous attempt to evade the anonymity of the page 15 public Press—it is sufficient for us that it has been entirely unsuccessful—but while Mr. Seddon encourages, by his apparent approval, such an impudent outrage upon public independence, we must not be surprised to find the officers of his department ready to assail one of the most sacred institutions of the nation;" and this from a paper which is one of the strongest Government supporters in the Colony, and in which one of the Ministry is interested. The Christchurch "Star," another Government paper, has attacked the Police in still more scathing terms on the Police irregularities. The article is published in extenso:—

"Inspector Broham should by this time be aware that he has been guilty of a very grave offence, in making a statement to the Ministerial head of his Department which is incapable of proof, and which, on the face of it, was made so as to give it the appearance of having been obtained from the editor of this journal. And this is not the first time that Inspector Broham has, in his official capacity, endeavoured to prejudice the conducting of the 'Star.' On a recent occasion, a correspondent wrote to this paper, and spoke of a number of lads haying been seen by her, coming out of an hotel in this city in an advanced state of drunkenness. An attempt was made by the Police to obtain the name of the writer of the letter in question; but, as the woman who wrote refused to give her testimony, or disclose her identity, the editor declined to satisfy the Police in the matter. But part of the conversation—conducted under a pledge of the strictest confidence—was divulged by the Police, and was stated to have become, with additions, public property. That use was made of what the editor stated, and of what he did not state, by order of Inspector Broham. Serious thoughts were then entertained of laying the whole matter before the Defence Minister; but, after an explanation from the Inspector, the editor decided not to move further. But now that Inspector Broham has, in a most unheard of manner, made an assertion as to the authorship of certain letters which have appeared in the 'Star' over the nom-de-plume of 'Bull's-eye,' the whole question of the Inspector's conduct in these matters must be brought under the notice of his superior officer.

"In reply to a memorandum addressed to him from this office, Inspector Broham has stated officially that he did not get his information from this office. Of course, he did not. Then, by what right does he make an assertion such as that which appears in his report to the Defence Minister? Inspector Broham does not know the author of the letters, and yet he had the effrontery to embody a statement in an official report which not only makes it appear that he does know, but also that he has obtained his information through the failure of the editor of this journal in his duty to that profession of which he is a member. For the report of the Inspector of Police here will bear no other interpretation, and, therefore, that officer has committed a grave offence against this journal, as well as attempting to deceive and mislead the Ministerial head of his Department. Who, it may be asked, would be safe, if inspectors of police, or, indeed, any other of the members of the force, were permitted to hazard statements page 16 as to the identity of writers in the public Press of the Colony? Such an act is wrong and indefensible, and the only marvel is that any man holding the position of Inspector of Police should have placed himself in such a position. Is it that the Inspector is safe from any of the consequences of his acts? Can it be that there is a mutual understanding between the Inspector and his superiors? The occurrences of the past few weeks would point to something of the kind.

"For it will be remembered that when charges were made in the 'Lyttelton Times,' the Premier, in his place in the House, declared that, on report from Inspector Broham, he had received a complete refutation of the charges made. At the same time, it was known to almost every man in Christchurch, and particularly to those of them who are in the habit of using the hotels as places of refreshment and entertainment, that the law was being flagrantly and continuously broken. Any ordinary citizen could have told the Premier, and could have proved it up to the hilt, that Sunday-trading of a most brazen character was going on (and is going on still), and that the hotels were being kept open after hours without let or hindrance. All this, and more, the Premier might have learned in a hundred directions, but he not only accepted the police report without question, but went out of his way to point to our morning contemporary's charges as quite unfounded. This, to say the least, was an improper attitude for the Premier to take up, and his conclusions were as faulty as his manner of publicly stating them was undesirable. It is well enough known that since the letters of 'Bull's-eye' appeared in the 'Star,' communication between hotels and tobacconists' shops has been closed, and at one leading hotel a public entrance has been permanently closed. If the law had been carried out by the police prior to the appearance of 'Bull's-eye's" letter, how comes it that the Premier is satisfied to tell the House and the country that the charges against the police have not been borne out by facts? Either the Premier, in his capacity of Defence Minister, has been grossly misled, or he has accepted a grave responsibility in shielding from blame a number of officials who have failed to do their duty.

"For some considerable time past, reports which have been made to the police authorities as to the conduct of the hotels in Christchurch, both by civilians through the Press and by the constables themselves, have been disregarded by the Inspector, and the worst-conducted houses in the city have enjoyed a complete immunity from police supervision. It is difficult, indeed, in the face of all the facts which are at the disposal not only of the newspapers, but also of almost every other man one may meet in the city, to fitly characterise the conduct of the head of the Government in this very serious matter; because, unfortunately, it is not only as Defence Minister, but as Premier of the Colony, that Mr. Seddon's conduct has to be considered? If at the very source of the police administration of the Colony there is impurity, what may not happen further down stream? The Premier has, in this matter of police duty in Christchurch, not only failed in his duty as head of a great public department, but he has page 17 also failed in his duty as a good citizen, and as one who should be an upholder of the law. No one desires to lay blame upon the police where it is not deserved; but when the Inspector makes a report to the Minister of Defence, and that Minister accepts a report which is open to the most serious question—which is, it may be said, not in accordance with known facts—to what conclusion can the public come? For many years past it has been publicly known, that if any police-constable or sergeant attempted to carry out his duties strictly and impartially, there was enough pressure outside the force to compel the officer to desist. Again and again officers have been shifted—promoted in some instances in rank, but always sent to inferior stations—when they have tried to properly and efficiently discharge their duties. It is now said that this sort of thing has been accentuated, and that the pressure of 'vested interests' has resulted in a general order—not written, but distinctly implied, and confided to the men by their superior officers—that the police as a body are not to interfere with the respectably-conducted houses, no matter how they contravene the law; while in the case of the vilest houses in the Colony, the police are to 'wink the other eye,' because from out these dens of infamy the police obtain such information as enables them to effect the capture of certain evil-doers. So far as the Broham-'Star' matter is concerned, more will be heard of it, for the matter cannot possibly be left where it is, though one indeed feels some hesitancy in bringing the matter before the head of the department, after what has already happened."

The "Evening Post" of May 22nd, 1895, devotes its leading article to the rottenness of the Service, which is also given in full:—

"A Matter of Moment.—Amongst the questions of administration which should be made subject to drastic and searching review as soon as Parliament meets, are matters relating to the present condition of the Police Force in the Colony. For some time past it has been evident to those behind the scenes that unless steps are taken soon to put an end to the state of things at present existing, the country will before very long be brought face to face with some very grave scandal in the administration of justice, which will utterly shake the confidence of the people in the instruments of the law. In theory, the system of taking young men of good character, education, and physique into the Permanent Artillery, and drafting them, after they have undergone a desirable course of drill and discipline, into the civil force, is commendable. But in practice, under the present methods of administration, the system is rotten at the core; and while a base is unsound, the superstructure reared upon it must of necessity partake of that unsoundness. It will be remembered that one leading feature of the historic disagreement between Colonel Fox and the Government was upon the question of the enlistment of men into the Permanent Artillery. The Commandant was under the hallucination that considerations of fitness as to physique and character should be the sole guide in the recruiting of the Force, and that he should be the judge in these matters. The Defence Minister was of opinion that entirely different factors should be considered, and that 'fitness' page 18 should cover matters of political and other expediency not contemplated by the military code or the Defence regulations. So there was a difference which widened broadly, and led, ultimately, by accumulation of other differences, to the resignation of the Commandant, to a certain commission, and to various matters which finally ended in the union of the previously discordant and antagonistic elements of Commandant and Minister, upon a distinct understanding that the recruiting was to pass from the military to the political branch. And in effect, we have had some curious things. We have seen men recruited who ludicrously failed to reach the physical standard prescribed by the regulations. There is at least one instance of a man reoruited, against whom stood two previous convictions in the criminal courts of the Colony; and it is freely alleged that not only were and are men reoruited whose character should, by any rational code, entirely unfit them for the position of guardians of the public morals and the public peace, but men have been recruited who were physically unsound, whom the proper medical officers had declined to pass, but who had then succeeded in obtaining some sort of 'Open Sesame' outside, and been returned to the department with explicit instructions that they were to be taken on with all their moral blemishes and all their physical imperfections on their heads—for in the New Zealand code politics cover a multitude of sins, and a change of 'colour' is eminently calculated to cleanse the subject from all his iniquities. It is not only in the J.P. list that this is seen. But while the cancer is growing beneath, there are, here and there—many more than the sober citizen imagines—eruptions on the surface which indicate the condition of things within. There were the notorious scandals in connection with a Wellington artillery-man, which ended in the Terrace Gaol. There are the known facts, that the leading Magistrates of the Colony are alive to the growing danger, and an ever present weakness which exists in their courts, and that the chief officers of police in the Colony have had their confidence in their men severely tried and sorely shaken many times. It is freely alleged, for instance, that in more than one town of the Colony, the Inspectors are, owing to being unable to place reliance on some of their men, unable to secure detection and punishment of breaches of the licensing law known to exist, and that while reputable hotels strictly observe its provisions, others can sin with impunity. There are the cases of offences against women on the part of police constables and artillery-men, which have led to more than one dismissal outside of Wellington, and more than one in it. There was the recent notorious case, in which a police constable boasted at Wellington Police camp of the seduction of a girl, and then, through a long and extraordinary trial in both the Magistrate's Court and the Supreme Court, perjured himself day by day with regard to it, till he brought down upon his head the stern reproof of a Judge of the higher court. Then, when it was known that a warrant was out for this man's arrest, and when it was known also that charges of perjury and desertion of his child were hanging over him, he was allowed to walk out of a Wellington police station with his belongings, and suddenly disappear page 19 from ken. And when this fact was discovered, and the Inspector and the Department desired to stop the fugitive at all ports, is it not true that the Inspector found that an extraordinary delay was shown in the sending out of the telegrams, and that he had ultimately to supervise this himself? And the fact remains, that the man is still at large, either within or without the Colony. The fault lies not with the police officers, who, in the majority of instances, are men of absolute probity, who have won the respect of all with whom they have come into contact; but if the tools are faulty, the craftsman cannot do his work; and the considerable leaven of excellent men who are, notwithstanding all the abuses, still in the rank and file are sorely hampered by the element of the unworthy which has been and is being introduced among them. These things are matters of common talk amongst the police themselves. They are brought face to face with causes and results in the depths which outsiders have only to surmise from the repeated disturbances of the surface. If a proper public enquiry were made, at which the witnesses were given clearly to understand that they would be protected if they spoke the truth, some startling things would be revealed. But whether such an enquiry be vouchsafed or not, the sore is there. It must be ruthlessly attacked at its root, and no attempt to plaster over the surface will be of any permanent avail."

Then again we have another Government supporter, in the shape of the "Auckland Observer" of May, 1895, giving another thrust at Police maladministration. It says:—

"Without a reliable police force, where are we? and what is our guarantee of the safety of life, limb, and property? And there is no department of the public service that needs to be more searchingly looked into just now. It is not that the force is not well officered. On that score, there is little, if any, ground for complaint. But of late years, political considerations and the need of finding billets for hangers-on of the Government have made the system of appointment rotten to the core, with results that are now manifest in deplorable exhibitions in several centres. All recruits to the police force graduate to it through the Permanent Artillery. And it is notorious in Wellington, which is the chief training ground, that men have lately been enrolled, not only of such moral character that they should not be received into any State force, but even physically unfit. Men have been placed on the roll of artillery-men who could not pass the medical requirements of the regulations.

"In one case, an applicant very much under the standard height was accepted; in others, men physically unsound. Candidates have submitted themselves to the regular medical officer and been refused by him, but have managed to secure some sort of certificate elsewhere, and have come back to the Department with Ministerial and official instruction that they were to be taken on. One was lately recruited into the Artillery and drafted into the Civil Force, notwithstanding that two convictions stood on record against him. Then there is the recent shameful case of Murdoch, who was known to boast at police camps and elsewhere of having seduced a young girl, whom he subsequently swore, during a three days' trial, that he had had no page 20 dealings with, and whose character he endeavoured to traduce, bringing down upon himself caustic condemnation from Mr. Justice Richmond.

"Yet the fellow afterwards took the girl—forgiving woman again!—with him to the Commissioner of Police, to plead that he might be reinstated, or else allowed to resign. The Chief declined to do more than allow him to resign, in case he should marry the girl, the only alternative being dismissal and prosecution for perjury. Dismissed he was, and instructions were given that he be prosecuted, not only for the perjury, but also for desertion of his child. Yet, in the face of the general knowledge that these steps were to be taken, it was found, on the warrants being issued, that he had been allowed to slip out of the Mount Cook Police Station at 11 o'clock at night, taking his boxes and all other belongings out of his quarters there, and to disappear from public view. Moreover, the telegrams which had been ordered by Inspector Pender to be sent to all places where he might have been intercepted, proved to have been delayed in the office for a length of time which may have been sufficient to defeat the purpose in view; and the Inspector himself was obliged to step in, and personally see that the messages were ultimately despatched.

"To this day, Murdoch, though well known in different parts of the Colony, and so well described that any intelligent officer might distinguish him, still goes free. Such things could not possibly have happened to any man over whom such charges were impending, had he not friends and accomplices in the police ranks. Not only are there allegations of constant improper relations of constables with people of ill-repute, but Murdoch's case is by no means the only one of heartless betrayal of women committed by members of the force within the last few months. At Napier, several men have been dismissed, in consequence of their notorious immorality.

"But they are stricter in Napier than they are in Auckland. Not very long ago, it was proved that a police-constable employed himself in his spare time building a fowl-house for a notorious house of ill-fame in that city, and this was by no means the most serious charge against him. But he possessed political influence, and instead of being summarily dismissed, he was moved away to another community. In almost every instance, it is the men drafted in from the Artillery that prove the source of weakness. All the leading magistrates in the Colony privately express the view, that no dependence can be placed in the due administration of justice, or in the proper exercise of police surveillance, while the conditions of the service remain as they are. Should any police enquiry be held that would be open, and not conducted on the usual Star Chamber lines, we have reason to know that a great mass of evidence would be tendered from most unexpected sources, to show the absolute necessity there is for far-reaching reform."

A constable lately resigned to go to Coolgardie; but the field did not come up to his expectations, and he returned, being immediately reinstated in the Artillery as the first step to his re-appointment.

page 21

An inspection of the Police Records at Wellington will show many oases of recent occurrence, where men have been discharged "medically unfit," being thereby entitled to compensation, and within a short time they were again in the Service.

In Commissioner Hume's Annual Report to Parliament, he amply admits that an understanding has existed between licensees and the Police, when he says, "The Police have always been in touch with licensees, and in the past have depended largely on the publicans for information; and no doubt they now find it somewhat difficult to turn aggressively on the latter, when formerly forbearance was the price of assistance when wanted; and it is for these reasons that credit is due for the faithful and impartial manner in which the Police have carried out these duties."

As the Premier, followed by his echo, Colonel Hume, proclaims with loud voice the efficiency of the Service, I will now treat my readers to a few figures showing the increase in crime in all the more serious classes, there being a total increase of offences in the Colony for the year 1893 over that of 1892 of 450. The figures are compiled by the Commissioner himself:
Offences Reported. 1892 1893 Increase Remarks.
Assaults and Robbery 26 36 10 The Police seem paralysed when a burglar season is on
Breaches of Peace 227 239 12
Burglary, breaking into shops, dwellings, etc. 165 261 96
Cattle & Horse stealing 84 128 44
Conspiring to defraud 14 19 5
Disobeying orders of Court & summonses 199 252 53
Disorderly and riotous conduct 112 125 13
Illicit distillation nil 2 2
Disturbing meetings and congregations 65 82 17
Embezzlement 40 56 16
False pretences 133 145 12
Larceny (undescribed) 1,746 1,828 *82
Larceny (various forms) 219 241 22
Receiving stolen property 18 19 1
Sheep stealing 22 26 4
Sly-grog selling 29 71 42
Trespass 30 49 19
Totals 3,129 3,579 450

In cases of assault and robbery, only 50 per cent, of convictions followed; in burglary, only 90 convictions out of 261 cases; in cattle and horse-stealing, 45 convictions out of 128 cases; disobeying orders of Court, etc., 125 convictions out of 252 cases; embezzlement, 15 convictions out of 56 cases; larceny, various forms, 99 convictions out of 241 cases; receiving stolen property, 3 convictions out of 19 cases; and in sheep-stealing, only one page 22 conviction was registered in the whole Colony, out of 26 cases reported. No wonder sheep-stealing has attained such alarming proportions, when the Police are practically powerless to prevent it.

It will thus be seen that Mr. Seddon's assertion, that "the manner in which crime was suppressed and traced home reflected very great credit on the service," is not borne out by facts. In the cases given above, intelligence, tact, and that indescribable something which a good policeman should possess, seem to have been greatly lacking, as well as success in obtaining convictions when cases were before the Court, through incomplete evidence.

The Commissioner of Police does not show in his return of offences those against the Licensing Laws, and I have a very shrewd suspicion that he is so ashamed of the way these laws are enforced, that he thinks they would make very lively reading for the Temperance Party. However, we have this in his return for 1898, that there were 5,251 cases of drunkenness for the year; yet no one will say there were 5,251 cases brought against publicans for making these persons drunk, in fact, I think I can safely say that not a dozen publicans throughout the whole of the Colony were fined for this offence. I have not heard of one personally.

One of the Premier's recent utterances on the Police question ("Hansard," 1894) was to the effect that "there should be a reasonably fair compliance on the part of licensees with the law, and he intended that there should be, so long as the Police Department was under his control." I hope my readers will observe those three words—"reasonably fair compliance "—the interpretation of which by the Police themselves is such that the "Star," the "Lyttelton Times," and other papers are perfectly justified in their criticisms of the Service. Why should the publicans be singled out as the only ones from whom is expected a "reasonably fair compliance" with the laws? All law-breakers should be treated in the same respect, and the same compliance with the law should be expected from licensees as from others. Would Mr. Beddon allow a "reasonably fair compliance" from those who make their living by larceny? There can be no half measures. In 1892, in answer to a question from Mr. Hutchison, M.H.R., on Police classification, Mr. Seddon said he was not at all satisfied with things as they were, and he would give effect to Colonel Hume's recommendation; but even Ministers forget promises sometimes.

The slipshod way Coroners' inquests are conducted is another instance of the happy-go-lucky style of our police administration. When the dead body of a poor friendless wretch is picked up, it is taken to the nearest hotel, dumped down in the stable—if of the lower class—and a jury culled from the loafers and out-of-works in the vicinity (as the police don't like to bring business men from their work), and the evidence (?) is rattled through as quickly as possible, with usually the formal verdict of "Found drowned," or "Cause unknown." Very little trouble is taken to find out the cause of death.

A few months since, two men, named McGirr and Taylor, got so drunk, in Christchurch, that they accidentally set the house on fire page 23 which they lived, with the result they were burned to death; out of curiosity, I went to the inquest, when, to my astonishment, I saw the publican in whose house they had been drinking sitting as foreman of the jury on the body. Just fancy, readers, the absurdity of the position 1 there is a publican, living a stone's-throw from the scene of the fire, placed on the jury to "find the cause of death," when he himself has, probably, supplied the liquor which has taken away their senses ! The police were responsible for his presence. I promptly drew the attention of the coroner to the position, with the result that he delivered himself of a very severe rebuke to the police.

I quote the "Star" on the subject:—

"Mr. Gaffney and the Licensed Victuallers' Association might well be excused for praying to be preserved from their friends—their friends, in the present instance, being the police. The inclusion of any licensed victualler—not Mr. Gaffney in particular—on such an inquiry as that which took place on Saturday, was simply indecent; and it is matter for regret that Mr. Beetham did not speak out even more plainly than he did over the circumstances in connection with the holding of the inquest. From facts, that are before the writer, it appears that certain evidence was referred to the police, and not accepted by them. The case, as it stands at present, is a grave reflection upon the police; and the sooner they move in the matter, the better will it be for those who have the ordering of the movements of the force in this place."

A few days after, the body of a poor "unfortunate," with a black eye, was picked up in the Avon, and by a piece of luck I was put on the jury. The evidence adduced was so unsatisfactory and insufficient, that I drew the attention of the Coroner to it, and he ordered a post-mortem, adjourned the case, and called the police to account for their neglect in bringing insufficient evidence, and directed them to make further enquiries. At the adjourned hearing, evidence was adduced which showed that a row had occurred at 2.30, on the night of the death of the woman, between a man and woman near where the body was found, and I may state that this information would not have come out, had it not been for the questioning of the witness by a juryman after Inspector Broham had led his evidence. There is no doubt in my mind that this woman met her death through foul play, and the police hardly noticed the case. Inspector Broham was so enraged at my being on this jury, that he had the constable who placed me there before him on several occasions, and gave him a severe reprimand. Although I brought the matter before Colonel Hume, the officer in charge, no notice was taken of this peculiar conduct.

The "Lyttelton Times" had the following on the subject:—

"It is gratifying to find that Mr. H. W. Bishop has determined to make Coroners' inquiries something more than empty formalities. At the inquest held at the Star and Garter Hotel, yesterday morning, on the body of Emily Pike, he commented upon the unsatisfactory nature of the evidence led by the police, and subsequently adjourned the proceedings for the production of medical testimony. This is page 24 exactly the course, as we pointed out the other day, which should have been pursued in the case of the unfortunate man M'Girr. In fact, if these inquiries are to be of any value at all, they must, whenever there is the slightest room for a suspicion of foul play, be assisted by medical evidence. How could any jury arrive at a decision that would be worth two straws upon the facts that were adduced at yesterday's inquiry? The unhappy woman might, for all the police knew or seemed to care, have been dead for hours before her body was committed to the water. What would be easier for a homicide, who happened to be acquainted with the slovenly practices of the local authorities, than to throw his victim into the Avon? Scores of crimes may have been concealed in this way; and if Mr. Bishop had paid no more attention than the police to our recent protest, the facilities for obtaining a comfortable verdict of "Pound drowned" might have remained undisturbed. Now, however, that a stipendiary magistrate has joined in our protest, we may expect that effective means will be employed for the prevention and detection of crime."

Within a short time a third case of police connivance at a failure of justice came under my notice. A poor wretch, who had been drinking hard for some time, slipped, while drunk, coming from a hotel, and broke his neck against a brick wall. A friend and myself, having heard that the police were going to prove the man died in a fit, interested ourselves, and forced them to call evidence, which proved the man had been so drunk for some time, that he was bordering on delirium tremens, and that his mate had called a constable to take him in charge, for fear he should get killed. The constable did not do so, and that same evening he met his death as above stated.

I again quote the Christohurch "Star" on these cases:—

"That there has been an amount of excessive drinking in this town and district of late, it requires not a Scotland Yard detective to find out. The facts are written in the records of the Police Court, and in the more awful proceedings of Coroners' inquests. The question was put to the City Licensing Committee, whether or not something could not be done to prevent flagrant breaches of the law alleged to have happened, and the reply was that the police officers were the proper parties to apply to. Now, the police have been applied to. They have had furnished to them, again and again, particulars concerning certain businesses—the proprietors of which openly and impudently break the law which other and more respectable hotelkeepers endeavour to keep. As some hotelkeepers themselves very justly put the thing: 'If I keep the law, and others in the trade break it, it means that those I disoblige when the house is closed in accordance with the law, will take from me their custom, and my business will suffer in consequence.'

"There should be no such thing possible under properly-constituted police supervision, and the question which Colonel Hume, as Commissioner of Police, has to answer is: Why should the law be so administered, that certain houses in this city are permitted to break the law every day and every night in the week? Again, and in the page 25 same connection, why is it that little children are served with drink to be taken off the licensed premises? and why are men and women allowed to drink themselves into drunken stupidity in some of the licensed houses, without the police making an effort to punish the offenders? When these questions are answered, will Colonel Hume inform the people of Christchurch why it is that his officers permit—in the very centre of the city—a shameless Sunday traffic to be carried on, so that drunken men (principally young men) may be seen staggering about, and making themselves offensive to peaceful and respectable citizens during Sunday afternoons and evenings? Why is it, also, that no notice has been taken of repeated verbal complaints that have been made to the Inspector concerning the cases under notice?

"Will the Commissioner of Police inform the inhabitants of this place why certain evidence was suppressed at the inquest on the body of a man who was burned to death recently? why no further inquiry was made to set at rest the rumours that have been current concerning the way that one of the unfortunates came by his death? and why the police, knowing that people were willing to give evidence, did not call them; and how it came about, in a more recent case—where death was clearly traceable to drink—the giving of the testimony that proved the fact had to be forced upon apparently unwilling officers? These questions by no means exhaust the list, but they serve to show (owing to the possibility of their being asked) in what state the police force is known to be at the present moment in Christchurch. To-morrow, something will be said about the want of police protection in public places of amusement; and perhaps Colonel Hume will be good enough, at his earliest convenience, to return answers to to-day's batch of queries, together with those to be put to-morrow."

About this time, a case cropped up in Masterton, where an inquest was held on the body of a drunkard, the J.P. conducting the inquiry being a brewer, the medical expert a brewer's son, and another liquor man sat on the jury. The J.P. held the inquiry, although not the coroner of the district, and the matter was brought up in the House. The attention of the Commissioner being forcibly drawn to these cases, he issued an order, dated 14th December, 1894, disallowing liquor men from sitting on juries where drink is the supposed cause of death.

A case was brought against McNamara, a Christchurch licensee, some six months ago, and the case was so glaring, the man pleaded guilty. As it was compulsory on the S.M. to endorse the license, he asked for it to be produced, but it was not forthcoming; then it was found that the licensee had never been notified, according to the custom and law in such cases, to produce his license. Now, as the chief detective was hand in glove with the licensee, and as they were openly reported to be running a brewery together, that McNamara, a day or two before the case came on, was in deep confab with the chief detective for half an hour, and in view of his frequent visits to the Police Inspector, it is not surprising that the public attributed the neglect of the police to a design to save the licensee. The Christchurch "star" drew public attention to page 26 the matter in its columns, and the attention of the Commissioner of Police was drawn to the matter, but he had not the courtesy to even reply.

Another very strange thing in connection with the police ad-ministration is the fact, that although a police regulation exists providing for punishment of members of the service for neglect of duty, it is notorious that the most ignorant and the laziest men in the service get along the best; while the intelligent constable, eager to do his duty fearlessly and well, is constantly before his officer for trivial offences, fancied and otherwise. Two months ago, I stopped in the street to report a matter to a constable on the beat in Christchurch, and, while doing so, his Inspector passed, and when the constable came off duty, he charged him with gossiping in the street, which the constable denied, and asked that I be called to disprove the charge. This was disallowed, and the Inspector then delivered himself to the effect that, although he could not prove the charge, he would remember it against him when next he was before him. I brought the conduct of Inspector Broham before Colonel Hume, but that officer shielded his subordinate, as usual; and so the game goes on. One constable has asked for a transfer to any place outside Inspector Broham's district, to get away from his supervisions. It may be news to many, that the constables are disallowed joining any political association, or even debating society; may not speak to M.H.B.'s on their grievances; must not write to the papers; and, in brief, are tied hand and foot, so that it can readily be seen that the position of a constable without political influence is a very miserable one.

I find Colonel Hume in his 1894 Police Report saying, "When a station becomes vacant, the senior constable not having charge of one is, when duly qualified, as a rule, promoted to the vacancy." Why does Colonel Hume put in those three significant words, "as a rule," if not to allow of political influence creeping in to give the coveted post over to some raw nonentity, whose only recommendation is a political relationship with the party in power? My readers will agree, that if those three words were excised, this system would be highly commendable.

The Commissioner admits by implication, in the same report, that there is a power behind the throne in influencing promotions, etc., and says: "The Commissioner's object should be to make the members of the Force smart, capable officers, etc., etc.; but unless these matters are left to the independent discretion of him who is appointed to administer the Act, injustice will be done, which can only tend to create dissatisfaction and discouragement generally," etc.

Another grave mistake is made in keeping no detectives stationed at the principal seaport of the Colony—viz., Lyttelton. There should be at least one smart plain-clothes officer there, whose duty would be to keep a strict eye on smugglers, the arrival of spielers or persons wanted from other colonies, the noting of the place of destination of dangerous criminals liberated from Lyttelton Gaol, and other duties most important to proper supervision of the criminal classes. At present, these duties are anybody's business, with the usual result— page 27 nobody's business. There are four detectives stationed at Christchurch, whose duties are continually overlapping, and little or no attention is paid to the seaport.

Then, again, a great amount of money is needlessly wasted in employing constables to do the clerical work of the Department. This could be done equally well by Civil Service cadets, who would start at about £50 a year, instead of having men drawing as much as £190 and £200. At Christchurch, there are five constables doing clerical work, and sometimes six, to say nothing of the Inspector and Sergeant-major, and the Inspector of Weights and Measures. I maintain these men should do the duty they were sworn in to do—viz., preserve the peace; and two cadets at most would be sufficient to replace them. The same thing applies equally at other centres. A lot of needless correspondence and writing is done, which should be stopped, and less clerical work would be necessary. For instance, in trivial oases, a man in charge of a country station should be empowered to take action, instead of first making a long written report to the Inspector. Acts of Parliament are laid down for police guidance, and if a constable is not fit to interpret them in petty cases, the taxpayers should not be compelled to pay the salary of an ignoramus. A thorough overhaul of the antiquated clerical system of the Police Department would give such an eye opener of red-tapeism as would be startling. We have at the Christchurch Station 33 men; of these, 6 are doing supervising work, 5 clerical work, 2 jobbing about the station, and the rest doing the rea) duty, such as mounted and street patrol and detective duty. There is too much prying on the men, and watching they do not deviate from the straight path, consequent on this over-officering. There is not enough responsibility left to the individual, and the result is too often that the men are not what they should be. There are 65 officers over 420 constables for the Colony. Personally, I think it quite unnecessary that a sergeant should have to go out in charge of every relief; the men should be sent out from the central depot alone, and be answerable to that depôt. The Inspector could make a visit at uncertain times, which would be ample. One of the chief reasons for the general want of efficiency and smartness in the constables, is the fact that the men are so surrounded with foolish and obsolete regulations, and their own actions are so closely watched, that instead of keeping their eyes on the movements of the criminal class. the better part of their attention is devoted to the movements of their superior officers. It is a well-accepted axiom, that one working with his heart in his work, and under reasonable conditions, without espionage on his every action, will give his master better value for his wages than one who is harassed by fossilized regulations, dogged by his masters, and robbed of his individuality—treated, in fact, like a mere machine. Another indignity under which the men suffer, is that of having not only to apply for leave to marry, but to supply the name of the lady, to allow of inquiries being made as to her character. How would the Civil Service relish this? They would not tolerate it for a day, neither would they allow their superiors to come to their lodgings every night at eleven, to see they are in bed. The men page 28 doing the night patrols go out at 9 p.m., and remain on duty for eight hours without food, drink, or rest, and are expected to continue walking during the whole of that time. Small wonder, then, that they should find the bar-parlour of a hotel more congenial than the inhospitable street. Think of it, you who are turning in to your cosy beds on these wintry nights; and at the same time, think of the inhumanity of the police administration which compels it.

The Government simply tempt the constables to break the regulations, which forbid their entry to a public-house while on duty, besides driving many to take strong drink who otherwise would never have broken their pledges.

Another peculiarity of the administration is, that the members are expected to find their own uniforms. Now, this would not be considered such an injustice, were it not that all Government servants wearing uniforms in other departments are supplied them by the Government; and why the police should be made an exception, is better explained by those having the ordering of these things. It falls particularly hard on mounted men, as their uniform is very expensive, as much as £4 being paid for a pair of riding boots.

Then we find, as one of the latest and most up to-date forms of persecution of this class of Government servants, the initiation of a scheme for deduction from the annual twelve days' leave of absence granted each member by the regulations—viz., the number of days absent from duty through sickness during the year; so that, should a constable get a serious cold on a stormy night while on duty, and lay up for twelve days, he gets no holiday for that year; and when the fact is taken into consideration that the police work on Sundays as other days, it will readily be seen how harsh such treatment is. Even this would be endurable, were it not for the fact that the rule has a certain elasticity about it, and all are not treated the same.

I think I have now established the charges made against the police administration, and it remains for me to propound some remedy; but before doing so, I would like to enter a protest against the holding of the office of Commissioner of Police by one who is also Inspector of Prisons.

I have read the views of Mr. Seddon on this system of having the Prisons and Police Department under one head, in Hansard, the question having come up through the "Bull's-eye" correspondence; but his logic is not apparent. I assert that the Commissioner's dual positions must clash, and any person reading his Annual Police Report to Parliament, and then reading his Prisons Report, will see how false a position he is placed in; as in the Police Report it is to his interest to show the police in as efficient a state as possible, and in the Prisons Report it is the height of his ambition to show ever so slight a decrease in gaol numbers, and a consequent lessening in prison expenditure.

Now, as an increased police efficiency means an increased number of prisoners, it is easy to see that Commissioner Hume is at least under the temptation of failing to encourage police vigilance; apart from this objection, there are others against Colonel Hume holding the position of Commissioner of Police. He had no police experience page 29 prior to his appointment in 1891; and it seems, on the face of it, inconsistent to place a novice in charge of the whole administration, when for subordinate positions, such as Sergeant, Detective, or Inspector, half a lifetime of service is required of a candidate. The highest office in the service ought to be attainable by the lowest member of the force. I now propose to devote a short space to making a few practical suggestions which, if carried into effect, will, I feel confident, not only ameliorate and improve the condition of the Police themselves, but substantially increase the revenue of the Colony, and without extra expense. First, then, I would suggest that the control of the Department be removed from the Minister of Defence, and placed under a Board, to be composed of—1st, the Minister of Defence; 2nd, a Commissioner of Police; and 3rd, a member to be elected by the police themselves—as has been done in the Telegraph Department. The members of the force, although not being represented by a majority on the Board, would have confidence in its actions, as their representative's appearance would act as a check upon political intrigue; and if he had to submit to periodical re-election, he would be in the same position as any other person in an elected post. The Board would dea" with all appointments, transfers, promotions, and anything of importance which might crop up. They would also sit as a final Court of Appeal in charges against members of the service; at present, the Commissioner acts in that capacity, and invariably stands by the Inspectors as against the men.

Should a constable wish to appeal from his Inspector's decision, as at present constituted, he makes out a written report, and hands it to the Inspector, to be forwarded on to the Commissioner; but before the document is sent, the Inspector often makes a few remarks in red ink, which the constable never sees. When the reply of the Commissioner comes, it is given to the complainant, who rarely gets redress, and is more often a marked man.

All complaints should be heard by the Stipendiary Magistrate of the District, and by this means there would be a bigger chance of fair play being meted out to the men, than if the charges were heard by their immediate officer, who is bound to have his likes and dislikes, and, besides, very often appears as prosecutor and judge as well. With regard to appointments, applications should be invited through the public prints of the Colony from persons of good physique, intelligence, and sobriety, who should be expected to pass a Sixth Standard examination. A register should be kept of those who are considered by the Board to be suitable, and the names taken in rotation. Recruits should be sent to a Police School for six months, at 6s. per diem, and there be instructed in Police offences, Justice of the Peace, and other Acts under which the Police operate, and also should be allowed to get a grasp of municipal bye-laws. Under this system, the absurd position of a constable going from a plough-tail to do street duty, with the consequent bungling, would not occur; for should the recruit not show a susceptibility for picking up his duty, at the end of the six months his connection with the service would cease. By this means, also, a small reserve of men would always be on hand to quell riots, or other unusual offences against good order. page 30 Those recruits who gave satisfactory evidence of suitability would then be appointed as probationary constables for another six months, at 6s. 6d. a day; when, if their conduct proved satisfactory, their appointment would be confirmed at 7s. a day, and they would be entitled to an increase of 6d. a day every three years, until 9s. is reached, after which time promotion would be absolutely decided by merit. When the constable had the knowledge that his promotion depended upon his efficiency, he would quickly show what intelligence there was in him. This probationary term is common in other Government departments, and there should be no exception here.

Every member of the service should be compulsorily retired at 65, no matter what state they may be in physically or mentally. The oases are rare where men over 65 (or even 60) are engaged in private firms, and the Government service should be no exception. There must be some fixed age, though at present there is none. If this were done, there would be one vacancy at once amongst the Inspectors (one being over 67), another two vacancies in three years, three more in six years; and the whole seven Inspectors would be retired in ten years. This would mean, that their places would be filled by senior Sergeants, and that the Sergeants' places would be filled by those next below, and so on, each getting a lift. At present there is no system at all; and should an Inspector be appointed from a lower rank, he would perhaps be the only one affected thereby, as his place (unless it were that of a Sergeant-Major or Chief Detective) would not be filled.

If, however, it were the rule that there should be a proper system of classification, then a certain number of 1st class Sergeants should be set down as the number needed to run the Service efficiently, also a certain number of 2nd class and 3rd class Sergeants, a certain number of constables of the 1st class, 2nd class, and 3rd class respectively. The men would then know their position; for, should John Smith be the senior 1st class Sergeant, and be chosen for the rank of Inspector, the one immediately below him would become senior Sergeant, and each one of that class would get a lift up, and one would have to come out of the list of 2nd class Sergeants to take the junior number of the 1st class; and this promotion would extend right away down to the bottom of the ladder, until, in fact, it reached the lowest 3rd class Constable.

The post of Sergeant-major is an anomaly in a Police Service, and is a relic of the old Armed Constabulary days. There are three such in the Colony, and their chief duty seems to lie in turning down the corners of sergeants' and constables' reports, and writing on them, "Forwarded for the Inspector's information." The position is altogether uncalled for; even Colonel Hume admits this. The Inspector could very well attend to any little things already done by that dignitary, and the lessening of officers would mean less worrying of subordinates; for the invariable rule in English communities seems to be that men, when unemployed, are bad tempered and inquisitorial. All rewards should be entirely abolished, and repeated exemplary and meritorious conduct rewarded by promotion, over and above the proposed triennial promotions. Special notice should be taken in page 31 awarding promotions, of those members who show an efficiency in suppressing smuggling, the carrying on any forms of the drink trade without license, evasions of beer duty, and the manufacture of illicit whisky.

In 1889, Mr. S. J. Jackman, who was appointed a detective under the Beer Duty Act, found that fraud and trickery was so rife, that during the three years he performed that duty, he got 40 convictions against brewers for evasions of the law (in 88 of these cases confession was made without going to Court). £8,200 was the total amount of the fines imposed. The beer return for the year 1889-90 showed that the tax was paid on 849,480 gallons more for that year than was paid for 1888-89. This, put in plain language, means that the sum of £4,348 10s. for one year would never have been paid in revenue at all, had it not been for extra supervision. So far as I can learn, only five informations have been laid under the Beer Duty Act since Jackman's retirement; three of these were dismissed; so that there is a wide field for labour in this respect alone.

A system could be initiated which would allow of half the fines in revenue cases going to a promotion fund; so that when the men are engaged in working up these cases, they would indirectly be providing their own means of promotion; and this would be no extra drain on the public funds, as this money would rarely see the Treasury but for police vigilance. All fees now received by the Police for extra duties, as also fines inflicted on them for offences, might be allowed to swell such a fund. I have already shown the revenue is suffering severely through Police inactivity. Recruits, after passing through the Police school, could be utilised as temporary detectives throughout the Colony until they became well known, which would, of course, mar their usefulness for special duty, when they could take to the beat, and fresh recruits would replace them. At present, should the Department suspect the evasion of duty laws in a particular district, they cannot send the local men for obvious reasons, nor, for the matter of that, any of the older detectives throughout the Colony, or constables from any part who have been in uniform for any length of time.

I believe some such scheme has been carried out in a small way lately; but through failure of properly instructing the men, they have often simply muddled the thing. It is well known the Police are powerless to prevent wholesale contraventions of the Licensing laws, and the service of recruits for the suppression of such would place licensees in an uncertain position, never knowing when a policeman was in their midst; consequently, they would have a far greater respect for the law than they at present possess. The custom now is for a Sergeant and a Constable to make a visit to a great many hotels on one night, in uniform. They rarely find the doors unlocked, and consequently have to knock, when, before the door is opened, they are asked who they are, and are expected by law to state their objects; by this time the bar is cleared, and the entry of the Police is, in most cases, quite a profitless proceeding. The licensee immediately passes page 32 the word round to the other licensees by telephone or messenger, and the whole business is a travesty.

Since the preceding matter was in type, a case, just ended, revealing, perhaps, the grossest exposure of Police inefficiency ever made in New Zealand, has transpired in Christchurch, with regard to the conduct of Coker's Hotel. Witnesses of unimpeachable character, amongst whom were merchants, college students, clergymen, and an ex-Railway Commissioner, gave evidence that scenes of indecency of the grossest description, fighting, drunkenness, obscene language, importuning by prostitutes, and other grave offences were allowed in and about the bar of this hotel in broad daylight, and yet the Police report, just presented to the Licensing Bench, states the conduct of the house to be "exemplary." A petition was lodged against the renewal of the license, and supported by a considerable number of witnesses.

Inspector Broham gave evidence in favour of the hotel, and stated his utter ignorance of any of the complaints, and asserted the house was well conducted. He, however, said he had only been once in the bar since he had been in Christchurch (two years). As he holds the position of Inspector of Licensed Houses for the city, it would seem very meagre attention has been given this house.

Then we find twelve informations laid by private persons against eleven licensees in Christchurch, and although the decisions are not yet given, the evidence shows that the informants had not the slightest difficulty in any of the cases in obtaining liquor from any of the hotels, there being five witnesses of respectable character whose evidence has been entirely unshaken under an attack of several of the leading lawyers in Christchurch. Surely the police will not say it is impossible for them to do what five inexperienced young fellows (some of whom never entered a hotel in their lives before) had not the slightest difficulty in accomplishing?

The "Daily Telegraph," Napier, July 11th, 1895, in commenting on Police management in connection with a case at Takapua, where a man was allowed by a publican to become intoxicated, and then slept oat in the rain and died, finishes by saying: "We shall watch with interest what transpires, especially in view of accusations that are made against the Police in all parts of the Colony. There is also the fiasco which resulted from the conduct of the Police at the last meeting of the Licensing Bench in Napier. In that case, a man died from drink in a hotel, and the Police, in deference to a storm of indignation on the part of the public, lodged an objection to the licensee of the hotel being granted a renewal of the license. Bat when the day for hearing the objection came round, the Police had not made the slightest effort to support their own objection, nor had they summoned a single witness. The Bench refused to grant an adjournment, and the license was renewed. We do not pretend to say what would have happened had the Police done their duty, but simply say they did not do it. Charges of a far worse kind are being now made against the Police in Canterbury and Otago, and a few days ago a deputation waited on the Premier in Wellington, to complain to him that the Police would not take steps to compel the observance of the provisions of the Licensing Act. Is the Takapua case to form the text for another deputation?"

In conclusion, I can only hope that as an outcome of my efforts' an agitation for a more reliable police administration will be initiated, and that without ceasing, until the desired end shall be attained.

Printed by Thomas Edward Fraser, of 102, Gloucester Street, Linwood, Christchurch, at his Registered Printing Office, Bedford Bow, Christchurch, N.Z.

* There were only 925 convictions, about half of offences reported.