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(From Odb Parliamentary Reporter.]


The annual report on the police force of the colony has been presented to both Houses, Commissioner Gudgeon shows that the strength of the force is 484, exclusive of district and Native constables, as against 487 for the previous year. There are 14 district constables, being an increase of ], and 11 Native constables, being a decrease of 10. In this class two new stations have been opened during the year, one at Mahikapawa, to afford police protection to the goldfields, and the other on the line of the Otago Central Railway, to replace the late Nenthorn station, which has been closed. The casualties in the force during the past year have been 25, as against 28, 23, and 24 in the three previous years.

The criminal statistics for the year ending December 31, 1838, show the usual decrease in the gross total of offences ; for the North Island, there being a decrease of 680, and for the South Island of 93. There has, however, been an increase on the following serious offences: Breaking and entering shops or houses (35), burglary (7), cattle and horse stealing (16), murder and attempted murder (4). On the other hand, a decrease is shown in arson (5), assaults of all kinds (23), embezzlement (9), false pretences (7), larceny (60), malicious injury to property (13), cases under Police Offences Act (174), perjury (15). Tho Commissioner attributes the increase in housebreaking and burglary to the fact that the police have now to deal with a well organised gang of expert thieves, who are technically known as “ spielers.” These men, he says, are the result of tho numerous small race meetings of the colony, at which places they congregate for the purpose of swindling the unwary, and who generally at all other limes lead a dishonest and criminal life. It is pointed out that the police force has now been reduced to the lowest limits consistent with efficiency, and must be increased to meet any future demands for police protection. Such demands are, however, not likely to occur immediately, except perhaps in two instances. The result of the late retrenchment and the amalgamation of police districts has been that the department has gained in economy without having suffered appreciably in efficiency, the staff of the reduced districts having become available for ordinary police duties, and consequently augmentation of strength and new stations have been provided for without a corresponding increase in the force. Pleasure is expressed at the growing popularity of the force in the colony with young colonists, for during the last twelve months nearly one-half of the recruits have been of colonial birth, and who, while physically equal to any members of the force, in education and intelligence are superior to the ordinary class of candidates,

Oar detective system is shown to be very unsatisfactory, for, although there are many good officers in that branch of the service there are also many very useless men. To remedy this. Commissioner Gudgeon suggests that, instead of appointing a man a detective for life as is practically done at present, in future men should be employed as plain clothes constables receiving detectives’ allowances while so employed. By this means he considers we should obtain all the advantages of the detective system without its defects.

Arrangements have been made by which a system of examination for the New Zealand police will be instituted, and held for the first time in January, 1890, attheheadquarters of each police district. The examination will be divided into two parts—junior and senior, A pass in the former will render a man eligible for promotion to a first-class constable ; in the latter, to the rank of sergeant. This system has been instituted with the twofold object of preventing inferior men from reaching important positions, whether by seniority or interest, and of raising the general efficiency of the men to read up the theory of police work and the criminal statute law of the colony, as the only possible method of attaining to a responsible position.

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Bibliographic details

THE POLICE., Issue 7979, 7 August 1889

Word Count

THE POLICE. Issue 7979, 7 August 1889

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