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POLICE ADMINISTRATION, Issue 10434, 1 October 1897
A SCATHING DENUNCIATION. [From Our Paeliamentary Repoktee.] WELLINGTON, October 1. A scathing indictment of the administration of the Police Department by the Minister of Defence was made by Mr Taylor in the course of his speech on the Address-in-Reply last night. There would be no doubt, he said, that there was widespread disorganisation in the police force. He quoted from a number of the leading journals of the colony as evidencing the widelyspread recognition of a need for inquiry into the condition of this department. He cited the report of Commissioner Hume in 1891 in reference to the need for classification, and contended that this classification had never been carried out, since there had not been the slightest effort made since that report to remedy the state of things therein disclosed. He referred to two or three " Jubileescandals,"and to the Satherley case. This latter matter was sufficiently iniquitous to warrant the retirement of the Minister of Defence from that portfolio. That case was in i tself a sufficient example to illustrate the utter inefficiency of the department while under that Minister's direction. The burglar scare in Auckland was another example of the utter break-down of the Defence Department. Then Mr Taylor descended into details about removals. No. 1 was removed quite recently from a town in the South because he was found drunk in a public thoroughfare and afterwards drunk in a police barracks. No. 2 was drunk in the streets of Christehurch, and while in that condition tried to arrest a leading merchant of that city.—(Laughter.) He was punished by removal to a Northern town. No. 3 was suffering from continued debauchery for several months. He was on full pay the whole of that time/ and in addition was drawing sick pay from two friendly societies. No. 4 was sick for three weeks from the same cause. No. 5 was fined for drunkenness and transferred to Greymouth and afterwards suspended; then he was included in the next batch of promotions. No. C was a chief detective, and was known as a chronic drunkard. One man who was transferred along with a number of other constables from a certain town was sure that some mistake had been made, as the others were all drunks, aud that was the reason of their transference. He applied to the department, asking whether there was not some mistake, and the reply came back : " Yes ; there is an error. Many thanks for pointing it out; it has now been corrected."— (Laughter.) There wasoneletterof difference in that constable's name and the constable who belonged to the drunkard lot. A sergeant of police was a prohibited person, and a man was fined £5 for supplying liquor to a sergeant in our police force.—(Laughter.) He was prepared to prove that a person who was secretary to the Election Committee for a Government candidate was appointed a constable in 1896, and though he had never borne a uniform before he was immediately made an acting detective, and now holds that position in a large city. A man who was rejected by the authoriiies because he was not up to the required height was sent back by the Minister with an order that he was to be taken on, and was made an acting-detective in the largest city in the colony. One constable was paying for the maintenance of two illegitimate children ; another was moved frcm Wellington for gross immorality at the Wellington police barracks; and a third was the father of two illegitimate children. One of the detective officers was in the same position. A man drafted from the Defence Department was appointed a constable in a Southern town, and in that town a girl tried to commit suicide. The girl said that the police officer was the father of her children, and that he had threatened to arrest her for soliciting prostitution if she did not leave the town. A departmental inquiry was asked for again and again, and it was only when two private individuals put their hands into their pockets to pay for a lawyer that the department would move in the matter. An inquiry was held and the man was dismissed. A charge had been made against an inspector of police five weeks ago. On a day within the last six months that officer was in a drunken state on a steamer. During the night he twice committed an act of indecency in his cabin in the presence of the passengers, and he used the most disgusting language. That charge was in the hands of the department, and it had not prosecuted the offender because the parties would not undertake a private prosecution. This man had been drunk in Napier, and had been charged with assault in Woodville. These matters had been referred to the inspector implicated, and the department said he denied it. That was all that was done. Then he was promoted from the second class to the first class. This was on record, and the only man who did not know the facts was the man who should have known all about them. That was the Defence Minister himself. In a certain hotel in Wellington 201 people entered oneSundayand2llonanother. ■ in Christehurch 214 people entered a hotel one Sunday, yet the police could not get a single conviction. (Laughter.) In a Dunedin brewery five constables on night duty spent hour after hour. The disorganisation could not be cured by the simple importation of a new commissioner from the Old Country. : The Premier rose to say that one case had been received by the department only within the last two or three days, and that another case was now before the law courts. But he did not dissipate the feeling of uneasiness which pervaded the Government benches at the telling speech of the junior member for Christehurch.
POLICE ADMINISTRATION, Issue 10434, 1 October 1897
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