Since my last report the Society's activities have continued at its usual hectic pace.
Rex Greig and his team have continued with their devoted task towards restoring the FJ Holden with the milestone now being reached with the vehicle ready for upholstery and other associated equipment now to be installed.
With the sad passing of Bob Potts, Jim Sykes has taken on the role of being guest speaker and promoting the history of South Australia Police to a number of community and school groups. The Society have in recent times, received a number of letters recognising Jim for his commitment, and as President I endorse the comments and thank Jim for filling the void and helping out the Society in this respect.
I am pleased to report that the Society have recently obtained a pair of handcuffs, believed to be issued by the late Commissioner of Police - Inspector Tolmer, and possibly used during the gold escort era of the 1850’s. The handcuffs were donated to the Society by the Conquest family, who advised that in 1890 the then Inspector Tolmer lent a pair of key-styled handcuffs to a Fritz Conquest for use in a play being conducted by the Mitcham Drama Society, with the instructions that the handcuffs were to be returned to Mr Tolmer at his convenience. However, before Mr Conquest could return the handcuffs, Inspector Tolmer died and the handcuffs were subsequently kept within the Conquest family. The handcuffs are of significance to the Society as they are unique in their design and the only pair of handcuffs of this type held within the Society and their design is consistent with the type of handcuffs known to have been used during the gold escort era. The Society is indebted to the Conquest family for handing over the handcuffs for safe keeping by the Police Historical Society.
Mrs Julie Reece and one of her students addressed the June meeting, Ben Huxtable, from the Mt. Barker High School. Mrs Reece is a high school teacher at Mt. Barker and spoke of her experiences in initiating and conducting two school group tours to ANZAC Cove and to the SOME district of France. Ben Huxtable, who was a student at the school presented his experience from a student’s perspective and those who were unable to attend the evening, missed a very interesting and moving address.
Mrs Reece outlined details of a book which, through the Mt. Barker High School is being written of the personal reflections and extracts of letters from early diggers who fought in both campaigns. If the book is anything like the presentation made, at the June meeting by Mrs Reece and Ben, then I am sure the book will be very worthwhile. An order form for the book is enclosed with this copy of the ‘Hue & Cry’.
Following the recent sad passing of our life member and former president Laurie McEvoy, Laurie’s wife Fay has asked me to express on her behalf and that of her family, their sincere appreciation for the condolences offered by the many members and friends of the Society, following the sad passing of Laurie.
Our July meeting guest speaker will be speaking on the topic of ‘History of Railway Stations in South Australia’. Along with our previous guest speakers, I know will be an enjoyable evening.
I look forward to seeing you at our July meeting.
COVER OF HUE & CRY
NOEL ROY LENTON, QPM.
NOEL ROY LENTON. QPM.
(by R. E. Kilimier)
In July 1957, Brigadier J. G. McKinna, was appointed Commissioner of Police following the sudden death of Commissioner Ivor Bren Green. John McKinna had been appointed to the newly created position of Deputy Commissioner in January 1956, by the Playford Government. He had not been Commissioner Green’s nominee for the position and relations between the two were strained. This was not helped by the fact that prior to his appointment as Deputy Commissioner, he had been appointed by that Government to review the Police Service. His appointment can only be construed as intentional by the Government, to bring about needed change in the existing lack lustre administration and anachronistic organization.
Green as a former public servant, without policing experience, had relied heavily on the Public Service component of the Force for advice. This undue influence was soon to be curtailed. McKinna’s military experience had obviously convinced him of the value of the Staff role for that purpose. For the Police, the establishment of a Staff unit of experienced police officers removed from the operational Line function and dedicated to advising the Commissioner on a variety of matters; and to provide a strategic and organizational planning capacity, was a new innovation. It was to have immediate consequences. This new unit was titled the “Planning and Research Branch,” and reported directly to the Commissioner. An inspired choice saw the appointment of a comparatively junior officer, Inspector Noel Roy Lenton, to head the Branch.
Noel Lenton was born on 11th June 1916, the son of Roy Mandeville Lenton and his mother Elizabeth Daisy nee Kirkpatrick. His father a Regular Army Officer served with the 39th Battalion in the First World War, being wounded in France. He also served
throughout World War 2 and retired in 1 948, in the rank of Lieut. Colonel.
Noel received his secondary education at Woodville High School. After gaining his Leaving Certificate he applied to join SAPOL as a Junior Constable. While waiting for acceptance he studied Commercial Law at Adelaide University and played cricket for that institution. This ceased in October 1935 when he joined C Troop as a Junior Constable. Amongst the Junior Constables of that era, were Ray Whitrod, Jack Vogelesang, Steve Tobin, Laurie Hansberry and Eric Meldrum, each of whom also went on to make their mark in the Police Service. The unemployment effects of the Great Depression were still being felt, and qualitatively SAPOL benefited from the availability of the high quality recruits of that period, selection being highly competitive.
Sworn in during 1937 at the age of 21 years, Lenton was posted immediately to the Vice Squad, an unusual start to his operational career. After a comparatively short period he was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Branch where the bulk of his service was to ensue. He was one of the “new breed” of vigorous younger detectives, and showed, a natural introspection and intellectual curiosity, which was unusual in police of that period. This was coupled with a practical approach to his duties. and his abilities aided by shorthand and typing skills were soon recognised and utilised. From the beginning he had an innate understanding of the law as it applied to police work, with the ability to use this effectively, and perhaps rarer, the ability to interpret and explain it. During his career he wrote numerous training précis which also proved of considerable value to students preparing for police examinations, as well as their day to day activities.
He also had the foresight to equip himself more widely for the future by studying externally in management subjects and other matters, as well as internal courses. This example, with a few like minded contemporaries, triggered the commencement of external studies for police. His results in these studies confirmed his reputation as a high achiever. This, at a time when conventional thinking, strongly supported by the stance of the Police Association, promoted the notion of a “Practical Policeman,” meaning eschewing anything perceived as not directly related to a narrow policing role. That view was to die a hard death, delaying acceptance of police as professionals in the wider community.
Commissioned on 31 May, 1954 at the then young age of 37 years, the new Inspector served in the City Division as a uniformed Watch and Duty Inspector until his appointment to the Planning and Research Branch on 27 May 1959. He was to serve in that capacity until 1964.
At the time of his appointment the Police were faced with the challenge of meeting the demands posed by an exploding population growth due to the unprecedented post war rate of immigration to the State. Force administration had been moribund for some years. With the possible exception of the mobile patrols introduced in Commissioner John’s time, a long serving member would have recognised little difference from the time lie joined.
A long overdue first initiative, was the abolition of the separate Foot and Mounted Branches. Each had existed with their own seniority lists, and transfer between each Branch was a rarity. The Mounted Cadre had been created in 1951 for metropolitan duties, and the last police horse outside Adelaide was withdrawn from Mannahill in 1950. The separate existence of these two branches was no longer purposeful, and created many administrative problems, as well as denying members wider opportunities. Despite this, there was considerable opposition to the merger from country members, but the move went through. Few would question its wisdom today.
Incredible as it may seem, the Department of that era had little in the way of centralised personnel records. The main record for an individual was the “Record Sheet” which followed a member to the Divisional H.Q. of the station to which he was posted. It had scant information, and relied on Divisional Clerks to maintain the record, mostly from details (such as courses passed etc.), published in the Police Gazette. An early initiative of the P & R. Branch was to institute Personnel Records for each member with the incremental recording of information relative to the member from enlistment to retirement. Additionally an official annual appraisal report for each member was introduced for the first time, and these records were included.
The Personnel function became an important aspect of the activities of the Branch, and members were encouraged to discuss their career interests, and in the pre Welfare Branch era, their personal end family problems. The Branch also took aboard the administrative details of promotions and transfers. This then was the genesis of the Personnel Branch, which later developed into its separate entity.
Another initiative was the production of a new General Order Book, a major undertaking. This replaced the former “Regulation and Instruction” Book compiled by Sergeant Instructor A. A. Fleet in the 1930s. The new manual became the Force “bible for many years.
For years the accommodation for police at Angas Street had consisted of a miscellany of unsuitable buildings, cramped and sub-standard. A substantial new building was required and it fell to the Branch to identify the requirements for the Architects’ brief as well as the case for the Public Works Standing Committee. This was a major project and the resulting building was the envy of interstate Forces for many years. It was to be demolished in 2001 to provide for a Federal Court building.
Fort Largs was also a significant acquisition at this time. This enabled an increase in recruiting to meet the expanding Force requirements. A total review of training took place. Fort Largs was elevated to the status of an “Academy” and the term Junior Constable was replaced with that of Cadet. A new 5 Phase programme was introduced. This provided for 3 internal Phases within the Academy, with two external Phases. The new training syllabus was developed entirely within the Branch and not, as often believed, by the Academy Staff.
A further review related to police uniforms. In Commissioner Green’s time, the Patrol type tunic had been replaced by an open neck style garment and tie with an alternative but similar khaki type for summer wear. The last was not popular. A review by the Branch saw the end of the khaki uniform and adoption of a blue summer uniform which allowed the tunic to be discarded. The tie was retained with a long sleeve shirt. For the first time a standard trouser belt was introduced. Also brought into service was a military style, blue garberdine overcoat which reached down halfway between knee and ankle. Another innovation was the adoption of a chequered cap band, the first of its kind in Australia, and subsequently adopted widely elsewhere.
But perhaps the most far reaching effect of Lenton’s leadership was his analytical ability encompassing the methodology of what was then known in managementjargon as “Work Study.” This utilized Kipling’s 6 Serving Men by questioning;
"WHAT is being done,
WHY is it being done,
WHO is doing it
WHERE is it being done
WHEN is it being done
HOW is it being done?”
This analytical approach also followed the precept of Lord Kelvin, the pioneer of electricity who said, “When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers you know something about it. When you cannot express it in numbers your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.”
Lenton’s pioneering contribution in SAPOL circles was the use of quantitative techniques on which to base decision making. This proved particularly important in allocating scarce manpower resources in the face of the increasing demands upon police and the resulting competing demands from stations and units for increases in manpower. Hitherto the allocation of staff was often a subjective decision based on the persuasiveness of the applicant, often to the detriment of others, with real needs. The solution was to establish generous median times for taskings and enquiries with verifiable counts, allowing work loads to be established on a comparative basis. This lead to the prioritizing of demands and allocation of staff on a rational basis.
This analytical technique was applied to other problems. One example will suffice. For many years, police and particularly those at Metropolitan stations were flooded with enquiries associated with parking offences. These resulted from Council Inspectors booking offending vehicles. Prosecution required evidence that the owner or another person had driven and left his vehicle in contravention of the by-law. Police were required to follow these up, a time consuming process, particularly where it involved an employee of a business. It could also require police court appearance, in a defended case.
The extent of the problem was established, the solution of ‘Owner Onus” being proposed to the Government. This was radical in concept at the time and took some persuasion to get Government approval of the necessary legislation drafted by the Branch. This was the first application of “Owner Onus” in South Australia and has since extended to many other regulatory aspects.
During this period, problems arose about Vice Squad operations. To their credit, junior members of that unit had reported their concerns that their work was being rendered ineffective through the disclosure of their intended operations to illegal bookmakers. Lenton directed and took the lead role in the investigation which disclosed a corrupt association between the Head of the Vice Squad, Senior Sergeant R. F. (Blueboy) Soar and one, Jack Broadstock, a former West Adelaide footballer and illegal bookmaker. Both received gaol sentences. This investigation e epitomized his interrogation skills.
An aspect of Lenton’s approach to his responsibilities, was the thoroughness of his research and preparation in any endeavour. This writer once witnessed his appearance at a Promotional Appeal. The appellant had Nelligan Q.C. a luminary of the Bar at the time as his counsel, but this did not avail against the argument and skill of Lenton, the Commissioner’s representative. His ability to marshal and develop argument, was also evident in his preparation and presentation of salary claims on behalf of his fellow Commissioned Officers. It is not surprising that on various occasions he was to serve as Acting Deputy Commissioner.
In 1960 he was awarded the Queens Police Medal for Distinguished Service. He was the first of the “New Breed” of younger Commissioned Officers to be honoured in this way.
This then, shows some of the activities of the Branch under his direction. His leadership style was consultative but decisive, coupled with a quiet determination which was not overtly obvious. He was always approachable and encouraging to those of us who were junior members of his staff at this time.
In 1964, he was promoted and appointed Officer in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Branch where he served with exceptional ability until his retirement on 30 June, 1976. In 1964 he also had the unusual experience of leading armed detectives in a difficult operation to locate and shoot three lions which had killed an attendant, after escaping from an animal park.
Shortly after Commissioner Salisbury’s appointment, he was recommended for promotion to Assistant Commissioner. This promotion was denied him by D. A. Dunstan the Premier of the day. This was a miserable and unwarranted venting of the Premiers spleen against an outstanding officer, and stemmed from Dunstan’s antagonism to the McKinna administration; particularly arising from the civil unrest during the Vietnam War. During this very difficult and turbulent period for police, the Premier had publicly espoused the view that protesters could break the law where they felt it was justified. McKinna properly supported the Rule of Law, to allow citizens to go about their lawful pursuits without let or hindrance. This, and other factors over a long period, had widened the gulf between that Govrnment and the Police. Dunstan was well aware of Lenton’s influence on Departmental policy and close association with McKinna. Also Lenton had represented Commissioner McKinna at the Royal Commission arising from the protest activity during this period. The downfall of the Dunstan Government followed the Salisbury Affair, but his mean spirited action and its timing, effectively prevented Lenton from reaching the very highest ranks of the Service. This would certainly have been the case, but for this unjustifiable action.
However Lenton had the confidence of Commissioner Salisbury, who succeeded in advancing him to the rank of Senior Chief Superintendent.. It was in that rank (now Commander rank) in which he retired. With another, he was the first to hold that newly created designation, a product of the 1973 reorganisation.
His retirement could have allowed him more time to pursue his sporting passion of golf, which was to eventually see him complete 36 years as an accomplished member of the Kooyonga Golf Club. However this was not to immediately eventuate, as his services were sought by the Crown Law Office, as a special investigator. He was to remain there for 5 years.
He now lives quietly in deserved retirement. However the Lenton legacy to SAPOL continued. Firstly by the meritorious service of his younger brother Laurence Vernon Lenton, and Noel’s own son Dean each of whom reached senior rank. The Lenton family service was also continued by Laurence’s two sons, until their recent retirements.
I have commented elsewhere, that certain individuals in each era have made outstanding contributions to the progress and effectiveness of the Police Service. Noel Roy Lenton Q.P.M., was one such person.
The Officer in Charge,
Commissioner's Office, Adelaide. Police Station
T H E S O U T H A U S T R A L I A N
P o l i c e G a z e t t e.
PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY.
This publication is issued for the information of the Police only, who are directed to obey all orders
hereby conveyed, and to use their) utmost exertions /br the apprehension of the parties and the
recovery of the property herein and before described.GEO. HAMILTONCommissioner of Police.
No. 45] ADELAIDE, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 1879.
MEMo.—Officers in charge ci stations
will receive from
. Commissioner of Police.
L. J. H. Colver, A. Bruce, A. S. Bluntish, A. M. Dowleans,
W. C. Burton, W. G. South, and S. A. Clendinnen, to be second-class police troopers from 1st instant, inclusive.
constables C. C. Duncan,
A warrant has been issued for the arrest
of the undermentioned offender:—
no hair on face, wore dark. paget coat, dark tweed trousers
and soft felt black hat, a watchmaker by trade, but has
recently been employed as an assistant at Hill & Co.’s
booking office, Adelaide, for indecently assaulting Elizabeth
Jane Rabbish, at the Criterion Hotel, King William Street,
Adelaide, on the night of the first instant.—(C.24.)
Vide Police Gazette, 1879, page 108—
Vide Police Gazette, 1879, page 190—
Escaped from the Parkside Lunatic Asylum, on the 1st instant, Lavena Casaidy (a lunatic), aged 22 years, height aft. 4 in., fair hair, stout build, wore grey wincey dress, and leather boots.
The undermentioned expiree has arrived from Western Australia:—
Frederick Carter, a gun polisher,
aged 43 years, height aft.
CRIME & PUNISHMENT BEFORE 2000.
Scotsman, Frank McCullum was transported to Australia in 1850, to serve a seven-year sentence for snatching a potato from a pushcart.
It has been said that the early London “bobbies” wore top hats lined with steel — not to protect their heads in case of attack, but so that they could stand on them when looking over a wall or through a window above eye level.
|The “HUE & CRY” is
Published by the South Australian
Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/— Box 1539 S.A. 5083
G.P.O. Adelaide 5001