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The increase of the cost of the borough police amounted to £7,911 4s. 8d., or upwards 2 per cent. The increase in the amount derived from the public revenue for this branch of the force amounted to £870 68. 8d. This increase of cost may account for the retention by the force of their efficiency, notwithstanding a reduction of their numbers. For the county constabulary the increase of expense amounted to £9,364 16s. 10d., or upwards of 1.5 per cent. For the metropolitan police there was an increase of £28,944 16s. 5d., or nearly 6 per cent. over the returns for 1860. In the expense of the City of London police there was an increase of £1,890 12s. 2d., or nearly 4 per cent. The increase on the total amount contributed from the public revenue for the police establishments in 1861 over the similar returns for the preceding year amounted to £54,676 19s. 10d., or upwards of 16 per cent. The average cost for each man of the borough police was £63 178. 6d. ; of the county constabulary, £78 108.; of the metropolitan police, £78 38. 2d.; of the dockyard force, £63 2s. 10d.; and of the City of London police, £79 1s. 7d. It is obvious that a single and uniform system of police establishments ought to be adopted throughout the whole country, and as well amongst the large as the small boroughs. The local authorities ought not to have any control in this matter, as there is always on the part of ratepayers less reluctance to risk a contingent danger in the shape of an increase of crime, than to prevent such a result by an increase of local expenditure.
There is no reason to doubt the general accuracy of the returns of crime furnished by the police. They have an interest in not returning lower numbers than the facts warrant, and the possibility of exaggeration by them is almost precluded by the stigma which undetected crime would cast upon their vigilance, as also by the existence of the judicial records, which these returns are either connected with or directly extracted from.
The change in the definition of “known thieves," adopted by
the police for the present returns (already noticed by us), accounts for the great decrease of 21.3 per cent in the number of this class for 1861, as compared with those for the preceding year. There is also for the year 1861 a decrease of 14.9 per cent. in the number of receivers of stolen goods, and of 3.5 per cent. in that of suspected persons, as compared with the corresponding returns for the preceding twelvemonth. This difference may also be accounted for by the change of definition mentioned.
In the number of prostitutes and of vagrants and tramps, both juveniles and adults, there has been during the past year an increase of 2.9 per cent. for the former, and 2-2 per cent. for the latter. In the total number of all the classes of this description under sixteen years of age, there is a decrease of 587 or about 3•4 per cent. from the corresponding returns for 1860. The general total of all these classes,
irrespective of ages, shows a decrease of 7.975, or about 6.1 • per cent. The numbers for the four years to which the
returns extend are shown in the annexed table.
Receivers of Stolen Goods :
Under 16 years of age .....
Known Thieves and Depredators:
Under 16 years of age .............
Under 16 years of age .........
Vagrants and Tramps:
Under 16 years of age
Under 16 years of ago ....
In the metropolis and the other towns grouped together in the statistics of former years, for the purposa of showing the proportion borne by the criminal classes to the whole population in each group, an increase of population has according to the last census taken place, amounting altogether to 20 per cent. over the returns of the census of 1851. There has been, nevertheless, in the same towns a decrease of 1.3 per cent in the number of the criminal classes in 1861, as compared with the corresponding returns for 1860, while there has been an increase of prostitutes amounting to 2.5 per cent. in the same places. There was, however, in the same districts a decrease of 7-8 per cent. in the number of the criminal classes, and of 2.5 per cent. in the number of prostitutes, taken separately, in 1860, as compared with 1859. The calculations made in preceding years having been based on the census of 1851, the report contains no comparison of the proportionate number for 1861, calculated on the census of that year, with the returns of the preceding years. This course, however, if persevered in generally, will deprive the statistics of much of their real value. In the metropolis the proportion of the criminal classes to the whole population is as 1 in 231-3; in the pleasure towns, such as Brighton, Bath, &c., charged doubtless with the vices of other districts, the proportion is 1 in 96.5; in the towns depending upon agricultural districts, 1 in 108.5; in the commercial ports, 1 in 120-4; in the seats of the cotton and linen manufacture, 1 in 152.5; in the seats of the woollen and worsted manufacture, 1 in 129.1; in the seats of the small and mixed textile fabrics, 1 in 157.8; and in the seats of the hardware manufacture it is 1 in 98.6. The diversity in the foregoing proportions suggests some interesting inquiries. Why do the criminal classes abound most in the districts of the hardware manufacture (the pleasure towns we consider exceptional), and least in the metropolis and in the seats of the cotton and of the mixed textile fabrics ?. With regard to the metropolis, although the more serious description of personal outrages has recently greatly increased in it, yet
we can find in its immense demand for labour, the great tide of population that flows in all the leading streets, and the organization of the police, a tolerably satisfactory explanation for the very high place which London and its environs take in the foregoing list. But why do Birmingham and Manchester differ so much in the number of their respective criminals ? The cotton manufacture, no doubt, gives employment to all the members, juvenile as well as adults, of a family, while the hardware manufacture is mainly conducted by adults. Yet these discrepancies of commercial condition can hardly account for the great difference in the number of criminals in both places. We leave the problem to the social reformer, for we see no distinct explanation of it. As a set off, however, to the comparative freedom from petty crimes enjoyed by Manchester, we may here observe that we find in a subsequent part of the report that the more serious description of offences, such as burglaries, breaking into shops, and robberies on the highway, are most rife in that opulent city.
In the metropolis the increase in the criminal classes during the twelvemonth precedent to the 29th September, 1861, over the returns for the previous year, amounted to less than 0:6 per cent. ; in the number of prostitutes the increase was 2-6 per cent. In the pleasure towns, such as Brighton, Bath, &c., there was an increase in the criminal classes amounting to 20-8 per cent. and in the number of prostitutes of 12•0 per cent. In the Eastern group of agricultural counties there has been a decrease in the numbers of the criminal classes amounting to 26°4 per cent. under the returns for 1860. In the towns situated in agricultural districts a decrease appears in the returns of the criminal classes, and an increase in the number of prostitutes. In the commercial ports and in the seats of the cotton and linen manufacture, and of the small and mixed textile fabrics, there was a slight decrease in the number of the criminal classes. In the seats of the hardware manufacture there was a decrease of 10.7 per cent. in the number of the criminal classes during the period specified.