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Scotland Yard.

Up to 1877 the London Detective Police was a close corporation, irresponsible and independent, managed entirely from within. Jn that year occurred the ‘'great detective scandal,” in which three members of the force were proved beyond all doubt to be in regular partnership with an organised gang of swindlers. The usual remedy for all the ills that civilisation is heir to was applied—a royal commission, namely—and the present system is the outcome of the work done then by Mr Howard Vincent. Plain clothes men were first put on the force in 1842. They were formerly attached to each station. UqtY they are under the central control. There are 400 ' n summer time and 700 in winter, the rank? being filled from the uniformed force. Still, these do not make the body which is usually referred to as Scotland Yard. These are a chosen corps of abouteighty men, of whom each has the rapk of inspector —about equivalent to a lieutenant of Chicago poliod. They form a division by themselyes nailed the “0.0.,” and are under the immediate command of t|ie Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Home Qfficc. Theirgeneral duty is confined to the metropolitan area, but they are constantly at work on investigations for the Government and for foreign Governments. About twenty of the men ire employed on political matters solely, and of these ten have made a specialty of Irish affairs, both in Ireland and America. The political detectives have the best of it. They are entrusted with the spending of the secret service moneys, and much of it of course is expended without vouchers or accounts. Sofhetimes they receive handsome presents fromforeign'Goverhments. ’ One London detective was given L 2,000 in 1886 for information furnished the Russian Minister which is said to have saved the Czar’s life. The secret service fund is a large one. Indeed it is as large'as the Home Office may at any time demand. In the years 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, when dynamite'activity was at Its 1 worst, bills for “information” reaching L 5,000 were on several occasions paid, according to the statements of the officers themselves. Smaller sums, from LIOO to L6OO, ar6 paid out freely to smaller informers.

“ FIGHTING THE DEVIL WITH FIRE,”.

"It is a case of fighting the devil with fire,’’ said Detective H. Dutton, one of the Scotland Yard men now stationed in Dublin, to a reporter in that city last winter. "We must get this information, and there is only oneway to get it—and that is to buy it. As long as these Irish secret societies keep tip their work there is danger to life and property, and the money paid out is only so much ihsuranoe, which the Government can well afford to give for comparative security.” “ Isn’t it rather expensive ? ’, " No. The amounts paid out are grossly exaggerated. I could buy any information I wanted about Dublin for a L2O note. That is a heap of money in a poor country and among a poor people. You see, to do anything among these Fenians and dynamiters they must take a lot of men into the secret. Now, if twenty men know a thing, there are two or more of them who will be willing to sell it. Of course, we get swindled right along; but IM sooner be swindled ten times than miss one important disclosure. There never are big sums paid out except in exceptional cases. ALS note will go a long way. Of course, if we have to uncover a man and put him on the witness stand, then we have to send him away somewhere and take care of him afterwards—that is only fair. If we didn’t we would find it hard ever to get any man to go into the box. Even that is not much. A couple of hundred pounds is ample, I believe a man could keep his finger on the pulse of Irish conspiracy here in Dublin and not spend L 3,000 in his natural life.” THE MEN AND THE WOBK. The pay of the Scotland Yard men proper averages L 23, or about 115dol a month—a large salary for London, where 5s a day are considered fair wages, and expert clerks and salesmen are said to make LlO a month. Besides tho salary, there is always a liberal travelling allowance, and all expenses incurred in the line of duty are paid without question. Vouchers are seldom asked for, nor even itemised accounts. Sometimes these expense bills are heavy, especially when there are ocean voyages to be made. The ordinary travelling expenditure is about L2 a day. As the secret service is largely political, one function of Scotland Yard is the foreign correspondence,' which is carried on invariably iA the language of the country to or from which the letters are directed. As England’s relations cover whole world this part of the work is exceedingly interesting. Polyglot translators who know every tongue under the sun are constantly at work turning Russian, Hindustani, Persian, and Chinese into police English, and vice versa. There are also employed expertcryptologists, who are supposed to be able to unravel the blindest of ciphers ; and it is a fact that the aid of the English experts has been more than once called in by both Russia and Germany in this work. The cipher used by Scotland Yard itself is the old movable keyword, the .key generally being the name of the place to which the message is sent, i ■

IN AMERICA. Most of the English detective work in America is done through the Pinkertons ; but there are always three or four Scotland Yard men in the country watching the dynamite societies and looking after their Irish friends in different parts of the country. These men are chosen with great care, and have privileges and pay beyond their fellows. One of them, who was stationed in New York last year, is said to have been paid 5,000d01s a year and expenses. How thoroughly the preventive work in America has been done is proved by the fact that not one dynamite outrage was planned or executed without information more or less full being cabled beforehand to Scotland Yard. In some cases shadows have accompanied the dynamitards from the quay in New York to the gaol door in England, as was the case with Dr Gallagher. Through the same agency explosives and infernal machines have been found in spite of the most ingenious concealment.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891004.2.23

Bibliographic details

Scotland Yard., Issue 8029, 4 October 1889

Word Count
1,079

Scotland Yard. Issue 8029, 4 October 1889

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