Royal Commission report day 14 page 13

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The Royal Commission evidence for 3/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 14)

Inspector Montfort giving evidence

3279 That being so, what rule is adopted by the officer so inspecting to detect any remissness in the performance of the duties of the man in charge?— It depends on the individual officer. I can only tell what I do

3280 He reports on every thing connected with the station; is there a general revision of the daily duties performed by the men since last visit?— He has an occurrence-book.

3281 The constable keeps a journal?— A diary.

3282 And the inspection is something after the manner of this—every station is inspected, and everything about it, the buildings, the cleanly appearance; whether the horses had been worked; where the men have been, and everything of that sort?— Yes.

3283 In this case you have alluded to, where the horse was suspiciously fat, that led up to the impression that the man himself had not worked?— Yes.

3284 What test would you have of that fact by reference to his diary—would that show the daily work he had performed?— I cross-examined him on his diary, when I found that, and he could not answer me, and then I concluded that he was telling an untruth, and that he did not go out on bush patrol, and his stating that was to prevent the testing of the entry. He did not say where; therefore we have no means of finding it out.

3285 The unsuitability of this man was a want in the knowledge of the country, and not knowing the criminal class?— Want of knowledge of the criminal classes and of the country, and want of inclination on this man's part to learn anything.

3286 Does not the efficiency of the test depend on the individual officer himself—you have power to visit night and day?— Yes.

3287 Do the officers go at night?— No, I do not remember ever going to the out-stations at night on purpose.

3288 Do the officers of the force visit stations at irregular times for the purpose of testing the efficiency of the men?— I never remember any officer doing that but one. It was Superintendent McCulloch. He used to visit them at all times of the night.

3289 Is it usual in other countries?— Yes, in Ireland .

3290 At all hours, day and night?— Yes.

3291 To see the efficiency of the men?— Yes.

3292 Were you in the Irish police?— No, my father was.

3293 You got promoted to the position of officer?— Yes.

3294 It was stated in evidence that the efficiency of the police, I think, would he materially increased if young officers from the cadet rank entered into the police force—is that your opinion?— I think it would be quite impossible in this country.

3295 Why?— Because the general feeling in the police force would be so much against it.

3296 Against what?— Against promoting men outside the force. It has been always an understood thing since 1854 that promotion would go from service in the ranks; and it would go far to demoralize it, if such a proposal got wind.

3297 Can you speak from memory as to the age of the youngest officer promoted as an inspector in this force?— I think I was the youngest myself.

3298 How old were you?— Forty.

3299 Is it your opinion that it would be against the feeling of the force—do you yourself consider the efficiency of the service would be increased by young officers being brought into the service or younger; men promoted from the ranks?— All things being equal, a younger man is better than an old.

3300 With regard to police service?— Yes.

3301 Why?— He is supposed to have more energy as a rule. I said all things being equal, but of course I might find an old man who would have a great deal more energy than a young man.

3302 How large are the districts those officers have control over, if you are sent to the country districts?— The North-Eastern district?

3303 Yes?— It is a very large size; ninety miles north of Yackandandah is one station I believe, and there are other stations, such as Snowy Creek; and the southern station is Longwood.

3304 Does that entail a great deal of horse work?— There is a great deal of work done by railway now, but it is all horse work north of Beechworth.....

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