LAW and ORDER in the Pioneering Days of NSW.
James MITCHELL, O.B.E., C.B.E., Inspector – General
1st February, 1915 – 20th March, 1930
James Mitchell was born at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on the 20th March, 1865, and came to Australia in 1884. Soon after arrival he joined the New South Wales Police Force and for the ensuing ten years served in uniform at a number of metropolitan stations. His marked ability in many phases of Police duties earned him rapid promotion, and he was appointed an acting Inspector after only 14 year’s service. In 1904, he proceeded overseas on six months leave of absence, to investigate new methods in crime detection, general administration, and traffic control and, upon return, submitted a full report to the Government of the day on his observations. He was appointed a Superintendent on 1st January, 1908, Metropolitan Superintendent on 13th May, 1914, and acting Inspector-General on the 8th December, 1914. Upon the retirement of Mr. E. C. Day he was appointed Inspector-General on the 1st February, 1915.
Mr. Mitchell was responsible for many early reforms within the Police Force. In 1916 he introduced special instructional classes at the Police Depot under qualified instructors for all Police personal, and a system of qualifying examinations for promotion. These reforms greatly improved the educational standards and general efficiency of the service. In 1925, Mr. Mitchell again journeyed abroad, visiting America, England and the Continent in search of new modern Police methods. On 8th January, 1926 the Government of the day altered his official title from that of Inspector-General to Commissioner of Police. He retired from office on the 20th March,1930, having then reached the age of 65, as prescribed in the Police Regulation Act, enjoying the respect and esteem of the entire community. The New South Wales Police Association was founded during his tenure of office and Police were encouraged to join this new organisation. He was invested with the Order of the British Empire in 1919, and made a Companion of the order in 1927. He died on 27th October, 1941, aged 76 years.