The Argus at KellyGang 12/10/1881

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Sir, - It is somewhat surprising that Mr Longmore, to judge by his remarks in Parliament last night, should show himself oblivious to the real state of things in the police force. Now, Sir, it is a fact well known to every person, acquainted with its inner working of that service, that at no period during the last 25 years have things been in so unsatisfactory a condition. The evil began under the rule of the ex-chief com- missioner of police under his later régime, but it has been greatly intensified by the proceedings of the Police Commission, whose motives, capacity, and proceedings generally have been viewed, whether rightly or wrongly, with deep suspicion. The commission, more-over, have stood in the way of the Government applying a cure and placing the administration of the force on a permanent basis, and their treatment, too, of the officers whoso conduct is under inquiry is not likely to encourage others in the discharge of difficult or dangerous duties.

It is notorious that the Victorian police forces is not sufficiently officered, and that some of the officers recently promoted are not as well educated or as intelligent as they ought to be, and so fail to gain the respect of the magistrates and of the public, as well as of the police under them. It has been a craze of Mr Berry's that it did not matter much whether the officers were many or few, and as regards the superintendents especially - who are the most experienced, and should be the most efficient - he considered their work could be equally well done by the sergeants. This notion, like others of that gentleman, had nothing more substantial than air to rest upon. I have had a thorough knowledge of the London and Irish constabulary, and as complete an acquaintance with police affairs in Victoria as any private citizen can possibly attain to, and I can confidently say that up to a certain point -a point not yet approached in the Victorian service - every high-minded, intelligent, and efficient officer is equal in the value of his services to several ordinary constables, or, to seek in general terms, 100 constables well officered will tend more to the public good than double the number not under sufficient guidance and supervision. .

Mr Anderson, and there may perhaps be others on the commission, who, like him, may be able to look on things in a fair spirit, and from a common-sense point of view, but as a body the Police Commission have shown themselves incapable of any large views in regard to matters on which the real efficiency of the force depends. The press has condemned the manner of their proceedings, and it behoves both Government and Parliament to accept no opinion from the commission unless founded on the very best evidence.


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