POLICE & POLICE STATION DATABASE VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
Compiled by Helen D. Harris OAM
This database has been compiled from various sources that I have noted while researching in either the Public Record Office or State Library in Melbourne. It is one alphabetical order. Please note that the information formerly detailed in Lists 1 and 2 has now been incorporated in one overall index, but the explanation of Lists 1 and 2, and how to access the information, remains just below this introduction.
I have listed the sources for all the references, so people living in Melbourne can access the material themselves. For those unable to do so, I will obtain a copy of the material for a fee of AUD$45 per reference, plus the cost of copying and postage. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS FEE IS FOR SUPPLYING COPIES OF INFORMATION ON THIS WEB SITE ONLY. Details of my usual research charges are available by emailing me at hdh1[at]ozemail.com.au (change the ‘at’ to @).
The database is by no means a complete listing of every person who was ever in the Victoria Police Force. The most comprehensive such list – for the first 100 years of the Force – is contained on the microfiche Index to Members 1853-1953, published by the Victoria Police Historical Society, and available for AUD$12 plus $2 postage within Australia. Please make cheques payable to the Victoria Police Historical Society. The Society’s web pages, which include a searchable database of those police given bravery awards, is http://www.vicpolhistory.org.au
Note that there is a series of Index to Candidates for the Victoria Police, details of which are on the Harriland Press web page; around 70% of these candidates were never accepted into the police force, and these letters of application are the only evidence that they ever applied to join. There are further applications to either join Victoria police or from ex policemen contained in three further web pages of mine – see below for the links.
Cops and Robbers. A guide to researching 19th century police and criminal records in Victoria, Australia — the only book on the subject — is now out of print, but there are copies in many libraries and genealogical societies
LIST 1: POLICE OFFENDERS 1898
When police committed an offence against Police Regulations, an investigation was held into their conduct. Witnesses were interviewed, and the decision reached was communicated to the Chief Commissioner, who made the final decision on the penalty imposed. The basic details of the case were entered on a policeman’s Record of Conduct and Service, but the actual investigation details were stored within normal police correspondence files. Unfortunately there is no index to police correspondence files prior to 1901. Material covering the period 1853-1893 has been placed into location or subject order, so that if a researcher knows the location of the policeman in whom they are interested, they can look in that particular area, but the material from then on is stored in yearly numerical order only. There is an added complication, in that some material is not stored in any particular order, and 250 boxes of miscellaneous correspondence have never been sorted at all. Much of the Index to Missing People and Index to Criminal & Other Case Files material on my web pages has been taken from these 250 boxes, which have a date range of 1853-1939.
While going through these miscellaneous boxes, I came across two complete boxes filled with reports into offences committed by police themselves in 1898 and 1899. Much of the ‘crime’ is minor – reporting late for duty, not keeping bookwork up to date etc., but some is more serious, including lots of drunkenness charges. The details of trivial offences, which were dismissed without penalty, appear on single sheets of paper, and many have the words ‘not to appear on Record Sheet’ in the final column. Those offences of a more serious nature can have 20-30 pages.
All names in this List have now been incorporated in one overall index on this page. The actual files for 1898 are in VPRS [Victoria Public Record Series] 807 Unit 1285, held at the Public Record Office, and can be ordered for viewing by the public. The files are in no particular order, and it is necessary to go carefully through to find the relevant entry, particularly if it is just a single page. The 1899 offences are in List 2.
LIST 2: POLICE OFFENDERS 1899
These police offenders were found in VPRS 807 Unit 1308. See List 1 for further details of how to access the material.
LIST 3: POLICE, POLICE TOPICS & POLICE STATIONS FOUND IN MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS
In the 1990s, many of the records listed here were available on the Harris Index cards at the Police Historical Unit. When the Unit was closed to researchers in 2004, I decided to retrieve the cards and enter them into this database. * This took many hours, as it was an extensive collection. Please note that it is not a complete listing of the opening and closing dates of various police stations, just the ones I have come across in my research. Further references to police may be found in my microfiche indexes, detailed on the Harriland Press web page, and in the Index to Missing People web pages.
* The Unit has now been reopened for researchers but, as before, it is necessary to make an appointment, as space is limited.