Invermien Police Force 1835 – Report

The following is a copy from the news report of the government inquiry into the conditions of the police services in Australia in 1835.

The Committee (consisting of the Colonial Secretary, the Attorney General, Mr Berry, H. H. M’Arthur, and Mr Bell ) was appointed to “..enquire into and report upon the establishment and strength of the Police Force and all it’s branches, to what extent it may be expedient to maintain it, and the expense it will occasion, and to enquire into the capacity and condition of the Gaols in the colony, and to report what additional buildings appear to be required, and the probably expense of providing them..” .

Friday 5th June 1835.
John Bingle, Esq, J. P, called in an examined:
I am a member of the Invermien Bench, which is attended by six more unpaid magistrates. The court is held once a week and there is no paid magistrate in the district.
The extent of the district is not limited in any direction, except to the south, where it joins the Merton district.
Complaintants occasionally travel about thirty miles and upwards to our Court.
Our police force consists of one constable, one lock-up keeper, and one scourger, for the whole district, the population of which amounts to one thousand persons, at least.
We have no public lock-up house, jail, or court house in the district. The court is held in a hut built by myself in 1831.

We have, on average, about eight cases weekly, of which a third or forth are free cases.
I am of opinion that an addition of two constables (one of whom should be chief constable) to our present police force would be sufficient, provided the Bench had the power of appointing constables on special occasions, when additional force was required in the district (to be paid by them as contingent expenses, or by an order on the chief police magistrate, as rewards are paid at present): and the constable were relieved from the duty of serving warrants and subpoenas from the Supreme Court and the Court of Quarter Sessions, and form escort duty to Patricks Plains, a distance of fifty miles, throughout the whole which there is no place where prisoners under escort can be secured.
I am of opinion, therefore, that a lock-up house, erected midway between these places, would be of great service. Summonses, especially those to be served at a greater distance, are now served by the Mounted Police, and on some of these occasions they have to travel a distance of one hundred and fifty miles or more. It is impossible that a foot constable should perform duty of this description.
A court house and lock-up hose are absolutely necessary for the district; the Government, some time since, gave orders for their erection, but no satisfactory tender for the work has yet been received.
We have a clerk of the Bench, with a salary of £70 a-year.

He is also the deputy postmaster of the district; from this office his income must be very inconsiderable indeed.
There are five mounted policemen in the district, stationed at Puen Buen, within a mile of the Bench.
We have very great difficulty procuring proper or fit men to hold the situation of constable.
I am decidedly of opinion, that a great addition should be made to that most useful body, the mounted police, and that they should be made a permanent force; a detachment of them should be stationed on Liverpool Plains, and another in the Munmurra country, to connect us with Bathurst; and that a constable should also be stationed at the foot of the main pass into Liverpool Plains, whose duty it should be to examine cattle and rivers; and, if allowed a horse, he might assist in serving stipends in the outer part of the country.

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