– In The Beginning –
The first Detective was a Jewish convict, Israel Chapman, who had been transported for highway robbery. Chapman arrived in Sydney in 1818 from England. The following year he gained the position of Chief Wardsman of the Prisoner’s Barracks in Hyde Park, and continued in that office for about eighteen months. He next served as a Constable and principal overseer at the Lumber Yard and as a result of his excellent work there was granted a conditional pardon on 21st November, 1821. He then entered the Sydney Police for a short time, being dismissed early in 1822. Chapman petitioned the Colonial Secretary and submitted several character references from other colonists. Thus Chapman was reinstated sometime in 1823 0r 1824. The Constable applied himself to his job and quickly earned himself a reputation as a diligent and capable man. Although he was a constable, the role he pursued was that of a detective and he was soon well known to Sydney’s underworld characters. His active and faithful service earned him an Absolute Pardon in 1827. It is evident Chapman was a good detective for on several occasions he effectively disguised himself and successfully apprehended offenders without having been recognised. Because of the hard work and low pay, Chapman resigned in 1827. His value was recognised by the government and he was re-appointed to the Sydney Police in the new position of Police Runner, with an annual salary of 100 pounds. Being stationed in George Street police office, he became known as the George Street Runner. Chapman resigned in 1828 and decided to return to England. Whilst there he re-married, his first wife having died. He returned to Sydney in March, 1833, and once again joined the Sydney Police, this time as one of the six Wardsmen. He was promoted to Conductor in 1835 and finally held the position of Inspector. His last position was with the police at Campbelltown, where he served for several months and then retired permanently.
There is very little written in the achives of Detectives between the 1840’s and 1862. On the information of the New South Wales Police Department in 1862, a Dectectives Force was established as part of the Foot Police. The Officer in Charge was Sub-Inspector Charles Edward Harrison and his staff of twelve were:
First Class Detectives:
Alexander Thomas Scott
Second Class Detectives:
Alexander R. McMartin
Evidence of this is documented in the yearly return of the Inspector General of Police to the Premier and Colonial Secretary, Sir Henry Parkes.
The archives show the Criminal Investigation Branch comprised of a Detective Inspector and seventeen men, a greater portion of whom came to this country in 1855 from England as the result of a recruiting campaign from British Police Forces. Inspector Henry John Wager was the first Officer in Charge and was housed with his men in a double story building with the Inspector General of Police at 109 Phillip Street, Sydney. The New South Wales Police was seventeen years old when the Branch was formed.
Extract from The New South Wales Police Rules and Instructions, 1879.
Detective Constables will correspond directly with the Inspector General, but will otherwise be under the orders of the Officer in Charge of Police of the District, Station or Division, where such Detectives may be on duty. In Sydney the Detectives will be under the charge of the Inspector who will report direct to the Inspector General.