Royal Commission second (page 1)
The Royal Commission Second Report
SECOND PROGRESS REPORT
ROYAL COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY
INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF
THE KELLY OUTBREAK
THE PRESENT STATE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE POLICE FORCE, ETC.
PRESENTED TO BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY'S
JOHN FERRES, GOVERNMENT PRINTER, MELBOURNE.
To His Excellency the Most Honorable George Augustus Constantine, Marquis of Normanby, Earl of Mulgrave, Viscount Normanby, and Baron Mulgrave of Mulgrave, all in the County of York, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and Baron Mulgrave of New Ross, in the County of Wexford, in the Peerage of Ireland, a Member of Her Majesty's Most Honorable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Colony of Victoria and its Dependencies, &c, &c, &c
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:-
Under date March 7th 1881, Letters Patent were issued by Your Excellency appointing a Royal Commission, whose powers were thus defined, viz.:-
1. To inquire into the circumstances preceding and attending the Kelly outbreak.
2. As to the efficiency of the police to deal with such possible occurrences.
3. To inquire into the action of the police authorities during the period the Kelly gang were at large.
4. The efficiency of the means employed for their capture; and
5. Generally to inquire into and report upon the present state and organization of the police force.
A memorandum, dated 10th May 1881, was subsequently received by your Commissioners from the Honorable Graham Berry, as follows:- "The Chief Secretary will be glad if the Police Commission will submit separately and at their earliest convenience such of their recommendations as have reference to Mr. Inspector O'Connor and the black trackers under him, as, in the projected re-organization of the police arrangements for the North-Eastern district, it may be found necessary that Mr. O'Connor should be re-appointed."
In accordance with the powers thus assigned to them, your Commissioners have held 66 meetings, and examined 62 witnesses. In order also to verify, by personal observation, the evidence of witnesses, and glean information on the spot respecting the career of the outlaws, your Commissioners visited several centres of population in the disturbed district, including Benalla, Greta, Glenrowan, Beechworth, Sebastopol and Wangaratta.
Your Commissioners, having taken a large amount of evidence respecting, and carefully considered the case of, Inspector O'Connor, had the honor to submit to Your Excellency, on 6th July last, their First Progress Report, as follows:-
"1. That the evidence before the Commission is not of such a character as to warrant your Commissioners in recommending the Honorable the Chief Secretary to appoint Mr. Stanhope O'Connor to the position of an inspector of police in the Victorian Service.
"2. Your Commissioners are of opinion that the Government should make provision for the permanent employment of black trackers as an auxiliary branch of the police service; care being taken that they shall be trained to habits of subordination, and made amenable to the general discipline of the force.
Your Commissioners would also recommend-
"3. That, as far as practicable, a thorough system of police patrol shall be established throughout the colony, more especially in the North-Eastern district.
"4. That immediate steps be taken by the Government to arm the mounted police of the colony with the Regulation Pattern Martini-Henry carbine; that the entire force shall be instructed in the use of the weapon by means of regular drill and periodical target practice; and that a reasonable quantity of ammunition shall be served out to each man for such practice."
Your Commissioners have now the honor to submit their Second Progress Report, as follows:-
1. That immediately prior to the Kelly outbreak, and for some time previously, the administration of the police in the North-Eastern District was not satisfactory, either as regards the numbers and distribution of the constabulary, or the manner in which they were armed and mounted; and that a grave error was committed in abolishing the police station at Glenmore, and in reducing the number of men stationed at Stanley, Yackandandah, Tallangatta, Eldorado, and Beechworth. ....
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