3 December 1888
The Central News says: Sir Charles Warren took formal farewell of his officers and men in the following general order, which was issued to the Metropolitan police force on Saturday evening:-
"December 1st, 1888.
Sir C. Warren, having resigned the office of Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, which he has held since April, 1886, desires to convey to the members of the force his hearty appreciation of their efforts to do their duty during a time of unexampled difficulty. And, in bidding them farewell, Sir Charles Warren wishes to express his earnest thanks to all those members of the force who, in loyally serving their country, have given him so much support and assistance in carrying out the reorganization entrusted to him.
(Signed) Charles Warren."
The new Commissioner will commence his duties at Whitehall place today, and henceforth his signature will appear on all police orders in place of that of Sir Charles Warren. Since his resignation of the post of Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Monro has been almost daily in attendance at the Home Office, but today he will take formal possession of the rooms of the Commissioner.
THE COST OF THE POLICE
The Government have altogether failed to answer the figures which I brought forward in the House of Commons as to the great and increasing expenditure of the London police. These figures are well worth the consideration of every Radical in the Metropolis, and indeed of every Metropolitan ratepayer, especially in view of the coming County Council election. The police of London are dearer that the police of any other great town in Britain, whether you take the cost per head of the population, per pound of rateable value, per mile of street, per inhabited house, or in any other way. I demonstrated this by a return which I procured in 1886, and which has now become annual. But at present I do not desire to return to that comparison. What I desire to do is to state again, for the consideration of the ratepayers, the condition in London itself, and the comparison between different years; and what I have asserted, and what the Government have altogether failed to answer is that the cost is increasing out of all due proportion in London itself. I brought forward in the House of Commons the comparison between the years ending 31st March, 1878, and 31st March, 1888. During that period the population in the metropolitan police area has increased by 23 per cent, the rateable value has increased by 38 per cent, and the cost of the police has increased by 44 per cent. There is no magic in the years 1878 and 1888, any other pair of years would show practically the same results. Now, I say that it is out of all proportion that the police cost should increase even so much as the rateable value, to say nothing of the fact that it has increased more than that. Because in the first place the rateable value increases owing to the quinquennial revaluations, quite apart from any increase in the subjects rated, but owing to an increase in the same subjects; and something not far from three millions has been, between 1878 and 1888, added to the rateable value from this cause, for which it is absurd on the face of it to suppose that there is any increase needed in the cost of the police. In the second place, I assert that the rate of increase of the population is even too great a rate of increase for the police cost, but whether that be or not the fact remains that the cost of the police has increased at about twice the rate that the population has increased. I say that this is altogether exorbitant. The truth is that the limit to the cost of the police has been fixed by Act of Parliament in 1868, at a ninepenny rate. And from that day to this the police have been living practically up to the ninepenny rate. They have got a ninepenny rate and they take care to spend it. It is no wonder that it should be so, for those who spend this rate and control its expenditure are not controlled by the ratepayers who have to pay it. So that the moment the rateable value goes up, up too goes the cost of the police. Take the rateable values since 1884, and place alongside of them the cost of the police and we get:
|Rateable Value||Gross Cost of Police||Net Cost|
The net cost differs from the gross cost by certain payments received for services done. The year ends on the 31st of March each year in question. It will be seen from these figures how closely the cost follows the rateable value, only with a greater rate of increase. A good deal hangs on this, for it shows that, as we have now got to, and in fact past, the ninepenny rate, we shall, if this state of things continues, require before long to impose a still greater rate, and to have a new Act of Parliament for the purpose, if we are to avoid a financial crash. Now let us inquire in what portions of the cost this increase is the greatest. In the first place, though the cost of the police between 1878 and 1888 has increased by 44 per cent, the numbers of the police have only increased by 34 and a half per cent. They are thuse much more expensive per man. But do not let any one suppose that this is because the men are so much better paid. The increase in the pay and clothing - the cost, that is, of the rank and file, on whom ultimately the force really depends - is only 36 per cant. Where, then, is the rest of the increase? I assert that it lies in those items, for the most part, whose inordinate and disproportionate increase is exactly what naturally results when the control is not in the hands of those who have to pay. In fact the great increase lies exactly in those items in which, if a businessman were to find the costs of his business rising, he would immediately, unless he wanted to get into bankruptcy, set about to make a complete change. Let me take a few items to show what I mean. I give a list of a few with the percentages of increase from 1878 to 1888:
Fuel and light 54 Books, Printing, and Stationery 46 Postage 98 Newspapers and Advertisements 500 Travelling Expenses 450 Law Charges 84 Extraordinary Expenses 140 Special Expenses 140
The total of the above items was in 1878 £14,741 and in 1888 £31,280, or an average increase of 112 per cent. I notice also that there is an increase of 240 per cent in one item interestingly characteristic of the new regime, namely "Truncheons, revolvers, swords, whistles, and belts," which amounted in 1878 to £577 and in 1888 to £1,942. The result of all this has been that, in the year ending 31st March, 1888, the expenditure has actually exceeded the income. The total cost of the police in this year has been £1,542,812. Part of this cost has been met, however, by payments lade by Government offices, and by various public and private bodies, for services of policemen specially employed by them, amounting to £176,000, and a sum of about £55,000 has been received from other and various sources. These two amount together accurately to £231,027. In addition to that, the ninepenny rate on the valuation, with certain other small statutable charges, amounts to £1,290,692, making a total of £1,521,719, or £21,097 less than the total expended. These figures, too, it is to be noted, exclude £210,000 paid towards the new police buildings at Whitehall, which has been met partly by a loan of £200,000, and partly by still further drawing on existing resources. So that the balance of cash has been reduced by £20,000 and another £10,000 has been got by calling up more punctually the outstanding balances due by the vestries, which at the beginning of the year stood at £74,170, and at the end stood at £65,917. I need only add that in the rest of England and Wales the cost of the police rises less rapidly that either their rateable value or the population. I have not the police returns for a later year than 1886; but, comparing 1878 with 1886, I find that in England and Wales, exclusive of the metropolis, the increase of rateable value was 15 and a quarter per cent, the increase of population 11 per cent; and the increase in the cost of the police was less than 8 per cent. I have now endeavoured in a very plain and matter of fact way to lay before your readers the main facts of the case, and these figures, I venture to submit, point to the immediate and pressing need of better control and of a different system in the metropolis with respect to the police. It was all very well that the control of the police in the metropolis should be anomalous, so long as there was no representative body in whose hands they could be put. That body is now shortly about to come into existence, and I can have very little doubt that this question will come before it very soon, not only in respect of the important points connected with the system on which the police is organized, managed, and employed, but also in respect of this no less important question, its cost.
I am, yours faithfully.
This morning, about one o'clock, intense excitement was caused by a report being circulated in the district of King's cross that another attempt had been made by a man to murder a prostitute. It appears that Harriet Worth, a prostitute, residing at 12 Wood street, Cromer street, Gray's Inn road, was accosted in the Euston road, by a man, about twenty six years of age, with a black, heavy moustache, and having the appearance of a foreigner, and they after some conversation went up Belgrave street, King's cross. A few minutes afterwards the woman found that she had been stabbed by some sharp instrument in a certain portion of her body, and when she found what he had done, she exclaimed, "Oh, my God, what have you done," on which the man, without replying, ran off. She called out, when Sarah Ann Masters, a companion of hers, went to her assistance, after which Police constables H. Stone, 273 E, and Charles Palmer, 871 E, came up, and, learning what had occurred and finding that the woman was bleeding profusely from the wound, they removed her to the Royal Free Hospital, Gray's Inn road, where she was seen by Dr. Henry Tonks, one of the house surgeons, and was by him admitted into the Milne Ward. Whether the injuries received by the woman are serious or not has not yet been ascertained. The man made good his escape.