Thursday, 29 November 1888
It will be generally agreed that in appointing Mr MONRO to the Commissionership of the London Metropolitan Police, in succession to Sir CHARLES WARREN, the Government have acted with wisdom. It would now be of no avail to pass in review the alleged mistakes that the late occupant of the post had committed. The public are not sufficiently acquainted with the facts to enable them to form a definitive opinion, nor would it be profitable to speculate upon the incidents at this stage which have led to his withdrawal. In cases of the kind the community is apt to take a superficial view. Had Sir CHARLES WARREN succeeded in plucking out the heart of the Whitechapel mystery all likelihood points to the conclusion that he would have been lauded as the ablest of administrations in his department. The fact that he has not in this direction succeeded cannot be considered by fair-minded men as indicating any lapse of industry, intellect, or enterprise upon his part, since it will be borne in mind that not merely the chief of a special department, but in equal degree its subordinate officials were responsible for the entire investigation. While, therefore, the public may not observe the retirement of Sir CHARLES WARREN with regret, they will at least acknowledge that he has discharged what he conceived to be his duty with firmness, and that nothing he has done disqualifies him from (illegible) motion. The original (illegible) as that of appointing an (illegible) in the school of military discipline who had an insufficient acquaintance with the new duties placed upon him. The experiment has failed; it is not likely to be repeated, and when this is said, criticism practically is exhausted. The appointment is quite of a peculiar kind, and in the circumstances of the time, changeful and doubtful as they are, no administration can justly be blamed for making any appointment in the spirit of incertitude. The selection of Mr MONRO will, however, satisfy the community. He has had a long and varied experience in the discharge of delicate and analytic departmental duties of an analogous kind to that now laid upon him. Mr MONRO'S career dates from the year 1857, when he entered the Bengal Civil Service, and held in succession a number of offices, involving the exercise both of judicial and executive functions, amongst them being the post of Inspector-General of Police. There can be no doubt that Mr MONRO is a highly qualified official, and that he has had to deal during his career with a variety of troublesome problems. Hitherto Mr MONRO has occupied a subordinate position in his office. As the Times fairly remarks - "Whatever may e thought of the organisation of the Criminal Investigation Department, there can be no question at all of the ability with which Mr MONRO carried out special investigations of a very difficult kind. We owe to him, more than any other single individual, the frustration of the diabolical dynamite conspiracy and the punishment of the desperadoes engaged in its execution." Mr MONRO has earned the position to which now he is appointed, and it is clear that the distinction which he has attained is due to him. He now stands at the head of a department from which much is expected. Its watchful and untiring zeal is required, and success can only be achieved by the combined action that a single head and a comprehensive mind can command.
It is a remarkable moment that Mr MONRO enters upon his new and most responsible duties. The whole department of which he is now the head requires reorganisation. The English detective system is perhaps the most complete and comprehensive in the world, and to perfect its utility in the control of crime it is not only necessary that the means at its disposal should be concentrated. It will be the new Commissioner's task to gather the threads of evidence into his hand. It will be his duty to establish workable relations with the great departments of State, and to act firmly and consistently with his colleagues. As the Times observes - "Mr MONRO, in any case, enjoys the great advantage of proved ability to work harmoniously with the HOME SECRETARY, and is equally fortunate in his relations with Mr ANDERSON, who brings to the Directorship of the Criminal Investigation Department marked ability and long experience." The whole machinery of the office is now placed upon a new footing, and the public have the best reason to believe that it will be reorganised upon a better and more capable basis of utility.