Police Organisation

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Top structure and headquarters , Police districts , Detectives , Secret Service , City Office ' , Quality of police ,Police station routine, police Instruction , Benefit of the Irish police system , Promotions , police record sheets ,Police supplies, Police weapons , Top structure and Headquarters' Captain Standish was the Commissioner of police. When not off leading the hunt for the KellyGang he was based in Melbourne. AsCom Nicolson took charge when Standish was off after the KellyGang.

As Com Nicolson was Inspecting Superintendent of Police with the honorary title of "Assistant Commissioner." (RC102) It is the duty of the inspecting superintendent to proceed form time to time, in accordance with such instructions as he may receive from the Chief Commissioner, to the several districts, for the purpose of investigating and inspecting the force, and reporting on the state in which he finds it, or for the purpose of investigating and reporting on any charge of misconduct against the police or any other matter which the Chief Commissioner of Police may wish to have enquired into. (RC105)

Next in command was Sup Winch, the senior superintendent in charge of the City police. (RC107) Other superintendents included Chambers and Chomley. (RC109)

The headquarters for the Victoria police was in Melbourne. Henry Moors was the chief clerk

See Ass Com Nicolson's introduction to the main police (RC900)

Upon his appointment as Commissioner, Chomely was ordered to conduct a review of the organisation of the police (Argus3/3/82) (Argus6/3/82) (Argus12/4/82)

Police Districts In 1870 the police District of Benalla was combined with Ovens District

The Kyneton district was later called the Bourke district

The Burke district covered the area north of Melbourne and south of the North Eastern district. Burke was commanded by Sup Hare and the North Eastern by Sadleir. (RC113)

Sub-Inspector in the North East were Baber at Benalla, and Sub-Inspector Pewtress at Mansfield. (RC118)

By July 1878 the three police districts of Benalla, Ovens and Upper Goulburn were brought together in the North East District with the head quarters in Beechworth. (RC1717) Later the headquarters were moved to Benalla.

The murder of Sherritt, the Glenrowan affair, the murders at Wombat, and the robbery at the Bank at Euroa all occurred in the North-Eastern district (RC135)

The headquarters of the North East District was at Benalla. Senior officers were stationed at Beechworth, Mansfield and Wangaratta.

Insp Montfort used to visit the out-lying police stations at least once a month. (RC3279)

The strength of the North Eastern district in September 1878, that is just about two months before, was three officers, nine sub officers, forty three mounted constables; then of foot, nine sub officers and fifteen constables. (RC434) see also (RC2965)

The Royal Commission stated that it intend, "when we enquire into the management of the police force generally, to go into the question of whether it would be better under general government or local government. Have you formed21-aug-10ient under local supervision than being under the general head in Melbourne" Mag Foster that the central administration should be followed. (RC13348)

Seealso (Argus4/9/82)

Detectives Ass Com Nicolson was head of the detectives in police head quarters in Melbourne until 1870. In the 1870s SConst John Kelly was a member of the detective force. Insp Kennedy and Const McGuirk were others.

There were a number of detectives in the hunt for the KellyGang. They were largely sent to work in secret by themselves. In August / September 1878 Sup Sadleir arranged for 2 detectives to work in the area looking for the KellyGang. (RC1723)

Det Ward was perhaps the best known detective in the hunt for the KellyGang. The detectives often traveled in disguise and they were not known to the local police. Mr Secretan headed the detectives from police head quarters in Melbourne. (RC1727)

The report for 8/10/1878 was "I have reliable information that the Kellys have not been in Victoria for a considerable time, but are expected immediately. I believe if they do come that Detective Ward will be in a position to effect their arrest. I think your men are merely guessing that, as the trial of their mother is coming on now, they are likely to be about. I should have written you before, but really had nothing positive until yesterday: Faithfully yours, (Signed) FREDK. SECRETAN." (RC1727)

On 17/10/1878 Secretan suggested to Sadleir that he should make an organized search about Greta, Fifteen-mile Creek, and thence to Mansfield, as it is now alleged that one or both of the Kellys are about and, if not, it will cause commotion in their camp (RC1727)

On 20/10/1878 Secretan issued his last report (RC1727)

At the time of Mansfield Murders Det Ward reported to Det Secretan in Melbourne rather than to the local police. Det Berrill, Brown and Eason were also involved in the hunt for the KellyGang. Later that was changed and the detectives report to the local superintendent.(RC3093) see also (RC915)

Det Ward had a secret service man with him as he went around the country before the Mansfield Murders (RC3113)

Detectives used in hunt for the KellyGang (Argus21/12/78) (Argus30/12/78)

How did the KellyGang respond to the detectives (OMA5/4/79)

A Chinese detective followed up on reports that the might KellyGang be getting supplies from a Chinese shop owner at Buckland. (RC5746)

Reorganisation of the Detective force (Argus15/6/82) See also 2nd phase of the Royal Commission the final report.

Secret Service A number of seret service men were engaged in the hunt for the KellyGang. The follow are examples of their work

In 1879 the secret-service man became very frightened that he would at that time be carried away by the KellyGang, and on the 15th November, from information the police then had from this secret-service man, Det Ward reported the matter to Mr. Nicolson, and in reply here is the confidential memo., with instructions. In the latter part of it it states, "I cannot promise that Detective Ward will form one of the pursuing party, especially as Inspector Smith has to leave Beechworth on Monday. I feel it is but fair to mention this. At the same time his interest in the capture need not suffer by such an alternative; and as the decisive moment seems approaching I hope he will take every precaution to maintain secrecy and to secure decided action now if practicable." On 4th October here is another confidential document that Det Ward received before the other that he received from Mr. Nicolson, with instructions to the secret service man-[handing in the same]. Then there is very little more during that year, with the exception of routine business and my reports, and in those all the particulars will be found until the establishing of the cave party by Mr. Nicolson on the 27th December 1879. (RC13855)see also (RC13884)

The varying importance of the secret service is illustrated by the cost form time to time. (RC735)

Organisation of the secret service (Argus15/6/82)

City Office Mr Moors described the work in the office in the following terms, "There was naturally a great pressure on the office during the whole time the Kellys were at large. Under Captain Standish of course the work took a considerable time to perform, it could not be otherwise; but Captain Standish is a man very prompt in action, quick in judgment, and remarkably ready with the pen, and papers were always got away with considerable celerity. Mr. Nicolson is slower and more careful in going through papers. I may put it that under him the machinery moves more slowly than under Captain Standish. Then again he had not the long experience that Captain Standish had, he is not so good an office man; the consequence was that there would be very generally a delay at night in getting the papers off. There would be a longer time taken between the preparation of the documents and their despatch from the office." (RC1639) Quality of police Police came direct from the Richmond depot. They did not know the country and could not move around in the bush. (RC9668)

see also (Argus7/10/79)

Police station routine Iin ordinary cases every detail of a man's duty is given the hour, the places he goes to, the time he is out, and so on. There is a diary kept at every station, and I should have to get every book. It is a book 24 inches square. (RC1955)(RC3284)

Police stations were inspected atleast once a month, but only in daylight. (RC3276)

Police Instructions The instructions to the police hunting the KellyGang were:

Every member of the police force was, if he heard any information, to communicate at once with the officer in charge of the district; but if there were good grounds for believing they were in a certain place, and he could get a few men to go with him, he could go at once; but that in urgent cases. (RC155) The benefit of the Irish police system In the system in vogue in the Irish Constabulary the Government are in the habit of appointing cadets by competitive examination when vacancies occur. At the same time they promote certain head constables, who are reported upon favorably by their country inspectors, to the position of sub-inspectors. Therefore it is not alone that men can rise from the ranks, but there is also the infusion of new blood through the appointment of cadets to be third-class sub-inspectors. (RC11063) Police record sheets It was the practice that record sheets were not disclosed to constables, except when a man has done a very gallant or heroic deed. He is then informed that an entry has been made, but that is only if the man had really distinguished himself. (RC15944) Police Weapons

Ass Com Nicolson was concerned about the weapon skills of the police and set up training programs for them

Com Standish was concerned that mounted police were only issued with a pistol. He had problems when he wanted to change this.

The mounted police were equipped with breech-loading double-barrelled guns. (RC16230)

Sup Hare's men were as well acquainted as he was. He allowed the good shots to take rifles and the indifferent shots to take double-barrelled guns, which will cover so much more space-they were loaded with large pellets, sixteen to the charge. (RC1318)

Visit the Book Exchange

KellyGang Police Supplies The authorities had a continuing problem in supplying police stations. Many tender were issued and a few made good money out of the system. One of the magor items that was needed was horse feed or forage (OMA7/1/79)