Royal Commission report day 35 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 5/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 35)

H. M. Chomley giving evidence

12733 If that is the case, is it necessary to have so many officers to manage the men in proportion?— No, but look at the proportion.

12734 Certainly 100 good men would not require so many officers to manage them as 100 bad men?— No. I have given some different places, New South Wales , Adelaide –why should they be so very much behind us?

12735 Surely you would not compare the New South Wales to ours?— I cannot flatter myself that we are so very much ahead of them.

12736 Take the Tasmanian men as a body of police, do they anything like compare with our men here?— They are a different style altogether–they are not a body of police, they are simply men under the municipal councils.

12737 Do you think that these gentlemen should return to duty at once now?— I do not know. I am not prepared to say whether they ought or not. All I can say to the Commission is, that I think we are short-handed.

12738 Can you get on without them for another month or two?— I think we can.

12739 There is nothing special?— Nothing special.

12740 Would the public safety be endangered by these men being inactive?— I do not think so.

12741 I would like you to express an opinion, as Acting Chief Commissioner, of this–would the public safety be endangered by these men remaining away?— Certainly I cannot go so far as to say that. I do not think it will be endangered.

12742 You have to deal with the present; you know exactly, or ought to know, the present state of the efficiency of the police, both officers and men?— Yes.

12743 You ought to be able to say whether the public safety would or would not be endangered?— Not be endangered, but things are getting behind.

12744 How are they getting behind?— The other day a complaint was made to me by the police magistrate that a man was stabbed; and I sent for a report, and the constable reported that the man would not prosecute and made very light of it; and I referred it back to the police magistrate, and he went and made enquiries; and then I referred to Mr. Winch and asked him to go on with the case and send up an officer to prosecute.

12745 What officer did he send?— Mr. Kennedy, and the man is committed for trial.

12746 Was the officer of the district Mr. Babington?— There was no officer in the district.

12747 Was Mr. Babington the officer of that district?— No, it was Mr. Hare's district. There is no other officer in it; no officer at all in it now.

12748 In March last this Commission sent in the following resolution to the Chief Secretary:– “That the Chief Secretary be requested to allow the following officers of police leave of absence pending the result of the enquiry, Mr. Nicolson, Acting Chief Commissioner of Police; Superintendent Hare, and Superintendent Sadleir.” To that immediately the following answer was received:– “I have the honor, by direction of the Chief Secretary, to inform you that he has approved of the recommendation of the Commission that leave of absence be granted to Mr. Nicolson, Acting Chief Commissioner of Police and Messrs. Hare and Sadleir, superintendents of police, and leave is granted accordingly.” You were examined at the time that recommendation was sent in, and your answers appear upon the notes. Now has anything occurred to your knowledge since then to render it desirable in the public interest that this Commission should change their recommendation?— No, I do not think so; we can carry on as we are, I think, but it depends upon how long it is to be.

12749 I ask has anything occurred since the resolution to induce us to change our minds?— One officer is sick and one officer is dead since; there are two short.

12750 Do you think that the public interest absolutely demands it?— The police force will go on to a certain extent for twelve months, or longer perhaps, if we had no officers at all, but things get worse every day; the men are getting slack and so on. We could go on for a month or two, but if it is to be long ——

12751 I see Mr. Kabat is in Gippsland–is that North and South Gippsland ?— He has the whole of Gippsland.

12752 Does Mr. Kabat report from time to time where he is in the districts?— Yes, his returns come in from the stations he has visited.

12753 Does not Mr. Kabat spend about eleven months out of the twelve at Sale ?— I do not think so. I was looking at his returns the other day and he seems to visit a great number of the stations.

12754 Is there a diary kept by the superintendents showing where they visit?— No.

12755 You have put this before the Chief Secretary without any recommendation–we noted that when it came?— I have simply forwarded the paper; it was not my business to recommend.....

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