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CONSTITUTION OF ROYAL IRISH CONSTABULARY—SELECTION OF OFFICERS—NEED OF REORGANISATION—ABSENCE OF ORGANISED DETECTIVE SERVICE—MEANS OF MAINTAINING ORDER IN THE COUNTRY—THE LAND LEAGUE'S REIGN OF TERROR
— SUPPORTED BY MONEY FROM AMERICA AND MERCILESS PUNISHMENT OF OFFENDERS—WEAKNESS OF ENGLISH GOVERNMENT — SKETCH OF THE EXISTING SYSTEM OF IRISH ADMINISTRATION—THE RESIDENT MAGISTRACY—COUNTY JUSTICES—SYSTEM OF APPOINTMENT, PAY, AND PROMOTION OF RESIDENT MAGISTRATES—DUTIES OF RESIDENT MAGISTRATE —MAINTENANCE OF ORDER RESTS EXCLUSIVELY WITH DUBLIN CASTLE—DUTIES OF CONSTABULARY—ORGANISATION OF THE FORCE—ADMIRABLE CHARACTER OF THE FORCE—PROVISION OF EXTRA ESTABLISHMENT FOR DISTURBED DISTRICTS
— CENTRALISATION OF AUTHORITY IN DUBLIN.
The men of the constabulary were drawn mainly from the agricultural class, and were enlisted without regard to creed, provided they fulfilled the educational and physical tests applicable, and bore good characters. The officers, with few exceptions, Irishmen, were educated in Ireland; but during the 36 ROYAL IRISH CONSTABULARY.
last few years many young English gentlemen from the universities and English public schools have joined this noble force. Officers entered the service by nomination, and after passing an examination of a nature to prove that they had received a fair general education, free from "cramming," served as cadets and then as officers for a certain period at the depot in Dublin, whence they were drafted to the provinces, and moved from station to station, as the requirements of the service demanded or their own merits suggested. Most attention being given to discipline, which was very strict, and promotion being extremely slow, it can be supposed that in many cases, by the time an officer reached the rank of county inspector, much individuality had been knocked out of him. He was frequently past his work, and still more often quite unsuited to it from a police point of view. Indeed, once having reached this rank, his whole time was taken up at his office with matters of interior economy and discipline, CHARACTER OF THE FORCE. 37
with periodical inspections of the force under his command. The young officer just posted to a district from Dublin was very much left to his own resources as to his education as a policeman. His first duty was to learn his "code "; for wrongly heading an official report, giving a margin of foolscap unauthorised by regulation, or other breach of its contents, would give rise to much more correspondence and to greater reproof than any shortcoming in his efforts to unravel the threads of some criminal mystery. There were, however, in the force, both among officers and men, the makings of some excellent and most successful police officers, as events proved; but until we removed the weight of the disabilities under which they suffered, by introducing a system more practical, and giving more scope to their undoubted intelligence, they were unable to grapple with the most important portion of their duties. The prevailing characteristic of the Royal Irish Constabulary was the high sense of duty animating all its ranks; and 38 INSUFFICIENT DETECTIVE SER VICE.
with such a foundation to work upon, it is not surprising that when a suitable scheme of police organisation was presented to it, the best results were achieved.
At the time of which I am writing (the early part of 1881), it may be said that there was no properly organised detective service in Ireland. I am alluding to the provinces, and not to Dublin. No doubt there was a detective force in Dublin, under that most able officer, Mr Mallon, which formed part of the Dublin Metropolitan Police; but there was no detective department worthy of the name in connection with the constabulary, with its branches and agents throughout the country, and in other localities where they would have proved most useful. Notwithstanding the distinct unwillingness of the people to come forward and give evidence in criminal cases— more from terror, as a rule, than from sympathy with crime—yet the relative position of the police to the people, and the intimate connection with America, marked it out as EXECUTIVE INADEQUATELY REPRESENTED. 39
a force peculiarly adapted to the prevention and detection of crime committed in Ireland, but often inspired from America.
In considering the means at the disposal of the Government for withstanding the elements of revolution, which were under its eyes being created and organised, I have shown that the local justices were not to be relied upon, that the resident magistrates were not representatives of the Government in their respective jurisdictions, or responsible for the preservation of order in their districts, as are magistrates of districts in India; and that therefore the Government was only able to directly rely upon the constabulary for the maintenance of its authority in the country, as well as for information and advice. To define with accuracy, it may be said that in a sub-inspector's district — a county comprising perhaps from five to twenty such districts—the only representative of the executive Government of whom the people were cognisant was a young officer of constabulary; whereas, if the peace of the