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creation of these offices,-as might have been expected,-the appointments to them fell into the hands of persons who used them to gratify private partialities, or for the less excusable purpose of political influence. Poets, news-paper writers, pamphleteers, were quartered upon the establishment; some of the magistrates, in their turns, were not backward in pursuing a similar course of jobbing, and instances occurred of their domestic servants being appointed constables to police offices, receiving the salary but not doing the duties of their situations. Lord Sidmouth has corrected these abuses. Athis entrance into office, he laid down a rule to appoint no one to the magistracy who was not a barrister of a certain number of years' standing at the bar; thus securing at least the possession of some legal knowledge for the public service; and we believe that he has rigidly adhered to his original plan. Now the first improvement we venture to suggest is an alteration in the tenure by which the magistrates hold their appointments. As it is, they are completely dependent on the secretaries of state. We feel convinced that they should hold their offices as the judges hold theirs-by the tenure of " quamdiu se bene gesserint," and not be removeable at the pleasure of the Government: much of their usefulness is lost by the known dependence of their situations. They are most important public functionaries; they decide questions of the greatest moment, of the extent of which those who have not seen the daily routine of duty can have no adequate conception; the arbiters in the first instance of the character and property of the greatest assemblage of human beings on the face of the globe. It is, therefore, neither decent nor salutary that they should be even nominally under the direct controul of the secretary of state.
Mr. Mainwaring, a police magistrate himself, in his admirable pamphlet, presses this point with the strongest arguments; and, as a practical proof of the subjection under which the class of public officers to which he belongs, is supposed to be, he states, "that he has more than once known a dissatisfied suitor, upon a decision adverse to his wishes, publicly threaten an appeal to the secretary of state." He naturally asks,-who ever heard even a whisper in the presence of a judge, that his decision should be subject to ministerial revision? Indeed the very circumstance of these magistrates being stipendiary, is, to our mind, the reason why they should be immoveable, except from bad conduct. It is because they are paid by the State, that every other means should be taken to secure their independence. The truth is, they are not looked upon by the people as belonging to the same class of men as the unsalaried magistrates of the country. They are considered to be the hired servants of the Government,creatures of its patronage, and subject to its controul; and their
opinions are neither as much valued, nor their decisions regarded, nor their character or stations estimated in the proportion which their own public and private worth entitle them to expect, and which the interests of the community demand they should receive. We know well all the plausible arguments in favour of dependence; but we appeal to the history of all times, as decisive against judicial subserviency. It is not only the reality of that base condition which is to be avoided, but even the bare suspicion of its possibility is deeply injurious to the cause of justice. The distinction between a salaried and ordinary magistrate is clear and decisive. The office of the first is his profession; to entitle him to hold it, the duties of his station must be the business of his life; whereas the other exercises his calling rarely and occasionally. It is, besides, a duty of voluntary labour and trouble; and here the country does not pay, but receives; for it is greatly obliged to the nobility, gentry, and clergy, who so usefully and honourably fill that important situation.
To deprive the latter of his office, is to ease him of trouble and labour; to take away the situation of the former, is to deprive him of his means of subsistence. Thus the one is unexposed to any inducements to swerve from his duty; the other is at the mercy of those who are his masters; and, if they command, it is at the price of his income if he disobeys. The salaried magistrate is as liable to do wrong as the salaried judge; and the only way to prevent his sacrificing the interests of the people to the mandates of their governors, is to make him, like the judge, independent in character, estimation, and income.
The next point for improvement is in the salary allowed. The chief magistrate of Bow-street has 1,2007. per annum, and all the other magistrates 600l. each. When we consider the responsibility of these public officers, their arduous duties, their constant vexations, and almost degrading occupation, the situation in life which is becoming them, for the credit and usefulness of their stations, to keep up, we cannot but regard them as the worst-paid functionaries in the kingdom. Let us compare the payment here with that which takes place elsewhere. In the insolvent debtors' court the chief commissioner receives 20007., the two assistants 1,500l. a year each. In the customs and excise, the chairman 2000/., and the other commissioners each 1,4007. In the auditorship of accounts, the chairman 1,500l., the other members 1,2007. each. Above all, when we meet with clerks of public offices with salaries of 1000l. a year, and deputy retired secretaries with 1,500l. and 2000l., we are at a loss to imagine upon what scale of apportionment of salary to duty, either the one or the other has been constructed. Take the labour performed, the real duty done, the constant unremitting occupation, its nature and character, as important to the public which profits by it, as it is painful to the individual who performs it-consider the very climate
they live in, the noisome air they breathe,-and we feel convinced that the niggardness of their salaries must strike every man of common sense, who considers the labourer as worthy of his hire; and that it is a wise policy to pay liberally the attention, talents, and acquirements, of these public servants.
We should have named, some time back, 1000l. a year as the minimum of allowance to all the magistrates, and 1,500l. to the chief at Bow-street. At present, from the fall in the price of most of the articles of general consumption, and the probable diminution of the expense in living, in every respect, we shall be content to leave the salary of the chief at Bow-street as it is, and to augment that of the remaining magistrates to 800l. a year each. We are the more, inclined to do this, as we are convinced that the discretion of the Government will dictate the reduction of the salaries we have contrasted with those of the magistrates, and the whole additional cost to the country would be little more than 5000/. We are besides of opinion, that a consolidation of these offices may be made, which would lessen the present expense of the whole police establishment. In the new police bill of the last session, the Shadwell office was discontinued, a new one being established at Mary-le-bone, and the Government took the power of making such alterations as they should think proper, in the places where the different police offices should be situated. We are by no means satisfied with this alteration; for though it might be quite right to close the office of Shadwell, it by no means followed that a new one was required at Mary-le-bone, We believe, on the contrary, that the Marlborough-street office, with a considerable augmentation in the number of its constables, might have executed, as it did before, all the duties of this new establishment.
In addition to this, one magistrate might be removed from each of the offices of Worship-street, Hatton-garden, and the Thames police, and the whole of the duties of Queen-square might be managed in the office of Bow-street. In this way there would be a saving (even if the new office of Mary-le-bone is continued) of six magistrates, and, if that was also abolished, of nine; the salaries of whom, even allowing for a retirement to each, would nearly defray the cost of the augmented salaries of the remaining magistrates.
We have heard, indeed, of an argument advanced against this plan of reform,- that there will not be a sufficient number of magistrates to perform the daily duties at their respective offices. But the fact is, that there are at present a considerable number of country magistrates who assist at the public offices; some from the pleasure of occupation which the business affords; others as a species of training to perform these duties elsewhere; others to qualify themselves as candidates for any vacant seat upon the bench.
Indeed the great number of salaried magistrates has a tendency to keep the country magistrates away; otherwise, there can be no doubt that, from the number of Surry and Middlesex magistrates resident in the metropolis, the attendance would be numerous and constant. Besides, if pains were taken by the lord-lieutenants of the home counties to stipulate (in the appointment of the resident magistracy) that they should engage to give some attendance at the offices on other occasions besides those for the licensing of public houses, no complaints, like those which we have referred to, could be made; and the public business would be much forwarded, and be done much more to the satisfaction of the suitor. One of the evils, indeed, which have resulted from the constitution of these offices, has been, that along with the trading justices, magistrates of a better description have been driven away from the bench; and that the whole of the business of the metropolis has been placed in hands which, however pure and clean, are for many considerations not esteemed by any class in the State, to the degree which the parties themselves are entitled to by their conduct.
Officers of the Police.
THE next important subject for regulation is the payment of the officers of police.
There is established in each office a certain number of regular constables; but upon what principle the amount is fixed we cannot conjecture. The office of Great Marlborough-street,—when the Mary-le-bone district was attached to it, the busiest and most comprehensive establishment in the metropolis,-had only six constables at it; while Queen-square, which had the least to do, has eight. The regular pay of each constable is one guinea per week.
This salary appears to us to be totally inadequate, and necessarily (from the scantiness of the payment) to lead to the perpetration of all those acts to obtain money which the public are but too apt to accuse the officers of the police of committing, and which, in more than one case, has been legally proved. Until the last Police Act passed, no extent of service, no disability from wounds, no loss of life, entitled a police officer to a recompense, or secured a provision to his family. Mr. Vickery, a very intelligent officer, and of an excellent reputation, informed the police committee, that he had held a situation in the police for twelve years; and that, with all his exertions, he had not been able to make any thing to leave to his family in case of any accident happening to him. "I got myself," he said, "cut all to pieces two years ago, in an attempt to take two men who had committed a murder, and I did not expect to live. I was laid up for six months; the police office made me no allowance for my wounds, in fact they had it not in their power. Sir N. Conant
said he would have done all in his power for me, if he could: there is no allowance for old age or infirmities; there is to the magistrates and clerks, but the officers are considered nothing in the thing*."
By the new Act, the secretary of state has the power to reward extraordinary service on the part of the constables; but there is no legal provision in case of sickness, or length of service, or for the families of those who lose their lives in the performance of these duties.
Thus, then, there still remains much to be done, to secure to the honest officer that pecuniary reward for his exertions which will prevent him from looking to dishonourable means for obtaining it. As it is, he is placed in a situation of constant want, and as constant temptation to commit acts to relieve it. Though we make no doubt there have existed, and do now exist, many excellent and trust-worthy police officers, yet the system has a direct tendency to make bad ones; and we cannot help suspecting that there is a permanent alliance between many of these officers and the thieves of the metropolis. There is no remedy for this dangerous evil, but constant watchfulness on the part of the magistrates to prevent it, and a liberal salary to those who are now led into the temptation from the inadequacy of their appointments.
The city of London allows thirty shillings per week to each constable:―let the same payment be made to each of the constables of the police offices. This regular salary, with handsome rewards for successful exertions to prevent or to discover crime, and a provision for old age, for wounds, and, in case of loss of life, for the support of their families, will, we have no doubt, enable honest men to fill these situations, and execute their difficult duties, with credit both to themselves and their employers. The truth is, no branch of the public service requires more looking-into than this. Officers of the police are, in general, intelligent, active, and needy. They have had, hitherto, no inducement to be honest, beyond the satisfaction of their own consciences. In the scale of honesty, were small pay, much hazard, and no reward; to connive at offences was more profitable than to detect them; to associate with criminals, than to bring them to justice; to commute felonies, than to detect felons; and to have the crime perpetrated, than to prevent its commission.
We contend, that prevention is better than punishment; and that a liberal remuneration is due to him who arrests the arm of the criminal before he commits the offence. But at present it is the interest of the officer of justice to have the crime perpetrated;-by detection he may make a fortune, by prevention he will hardly receive thanks.
* Police Report, p. 177.