Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Distric Council Constables

 
District Constables were special constables appointed by South Australian District Councils and sworn in for a 12 month term to maintain the law and protect life and property in rural districts where there were insufficient officers of the Police Force.  In 1861 the Municipal Corporations Act authorized District Constables in city districts.  District Constables were not members of the Police Force. 

They were sworn in by Council and would receive payment if they were called upon to carry out any duties.  For example one Constable was paid for arresting a man near Virginia and for vehicle hire needed to convey him to Two Wells.  An annual call was carried out to identify men in the district eligible to fulfil the role.  From the list 10-12 men were chosen from different areas within the Council to ensure the whole area was covered.  Lists of Constables have been found for Munno Para West from 1866 to 1902.
Regulations for Constables

The Council may at any time and from time to time appoint and remove a Constable or Constables.
Every person so appointed shall after being sworn a Constable:-

Be a peace Officer of the State within the District and any adjoining District:

Have and exercise within the District and adjoining District during his tenure of Office all the powers and privileges for the time being of a Constable of the Police Force of the State.

Shall be entitled to the same protection in the lawful execution of his duty as that to which a Constable of such Police Force is for the time being entitled.

Shall, in addition thereto, exercise and possess all such powers and privileges and be liable to all such duties and responsibilities as any Constable may exercise, possess, or is liable to by virtue of the common law.

To qualify a person to be a Constable under this Act he must be a ratepayer and an able-bodied man, between the ages of twenty one and fifty years.

Every persons so qualified shall, except as hereinafter provided be liable to serve as such Constable.

No person shall be liable to serve as a Constable for two years in succession unless he has, before his appointment for the second year, consented thereto by writing delivered to the Chairman or Clerk of the Council.

A Constable appointed under this Act, if he sees any crime or offence committed with in the District for which he is appointed Constable against and Act or law in force for the time being in the State, shall act, in regard to any person committing such a crime or offence, in the same manner as a member or Constable for the time being of the Police Force would be bound to act in regard to any person committing the like crime or offence, in his presence when on duty.

A Constable appointed under this Act, upon receiving any information of any crime or offence having been committed within the District for which he is appointed Constable against any Act or Law in force for the time being in the State, and if requested by any person in that behalf, shall act, in regard to the person committing such crime or offence in the same way as a Constable or member for the time being of the Police Force on duty would be required to act if he received information of a like crime or offence having been committed on his beat.

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