Courts and Criminal Justice – Police Records
Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds a range of records relating to police in the State of Victoria. In 1853, following a Legislative Council Select Committee inquiry, a single integrated Victoria Police VA 724 was established under the control of the Chief Commissioner of Police. The majority of records PROV holds about Police in Victoria from that time to the current day can be found in the series created by this agency. Prior to 1853, various separate police forces had operated, including the Melbourne City Police, Border Police, Mounted Police, Water Police, Native Police, Gold Escort and Goldfields Police. See the entry for VRG 10 Police on PROV’s online catalogue at www.access.prov.vic.gov.au for more details about the 1836-1853 period.
Selected Series in PROV Custody
The following is a selection of record series in PROV custody. For the full list of series created by Victoria Police please refer to the entry for Victorian Agency VA 724 Victoria Police and Victorian Record Group VRG 10 Police on PROV’s online catalogue. Full descriptions of each series may also be found on PROV’s online catalogue at http://www.access.prov.vic.gov.au.
VPRS 937 Inward Registered Correspondence 1853 – 1894
This series contains correspondence received by the Office of the Chief Commissioner of Police. It includes correspondence from within the Police force and from members of the public. Some examples of correspondence include reports by police officers concerning inquests, reports of missing persons, pauper deaths, requisitions for police stations and reports of criminal acts.
This series is arranged in a chronological sequence within records classification categories. Refer to the entry for VPRS 937 on PROV’s online catalogue for further details and an explanation of the records’ arrangement.
VPRS 807 Inward Correspondence Files 1894 – 1935
This series is the subsequent series of VPRS 937. Correspondence may be accessed by reference to VPRS 10257 Index to Correspondence, 1901 – 1920 and VPRS 675 Register of Correspondence, 1894-1918. Control records for the period 1920 – 1935 are not in PROV custody. Some correspondence may also be registered in Units 6 and 7 of VPRS 841 Register of Inwards and Outwards Communications 1864 – 1919.
VPRS 675 Register of Correspondence 1894 – 1918
Correspondence registered within this series can be found in VPRS 807 Inward Correspondence Files.
VPRS 10257 Index to Correspondence 1901 – 1920
This series is an index to correspondence registered in VPRS 675 Register of Correspondence.
VPRS 676 Register of Letters Sent (Outward Correspondence) 1853 – 1895
This series records summary details of the outwards correspondence of the Office of the Chief Commissioner.
VPRS 1775 Register of Police Salaries and Wages 1905 – 1925 and
VPRS 1776 Pay and Allowance Registers 1925 – 1930.
These series record fortnightly pay and allowances to police officers (sworn members). Neither VPRS 1775 or VPRS 1776 is rich with information as most of the details recorded are about the payment of salary.
VPRS 1785 Salary Cards 1929 – 1961
This series records fortnightly salary payments to sworn members (i.e. police officers) of Victoria Police. There are also some entries for unsworn members, such as those for temporary employees, or positions such as the Government Representative to the Police Classification Board (under the provisions of the Police Regulation Act 1948). There are also cards for policewomen, all of the rank of auxiliary police woman or APW.
VPRS 55 Police Muster Rolls 1871 – 1973
This series comprises monthly lists of officers in attendance at Victoria Police stations. Records are arranged chronologically by date, and entries within each volume are arranged alphabetically by the name of the police station.
VPRS 4402 Records of Public Servants 1884 – 1925
The series was created by the Public Service Board (VA 886) and contains details of public servants in the Victorian Public Service including those employed in the Office of the Chief Commissioner of Police and the Police Department. Information recorded includes details of length of service, salaries and wages and other employment details.
VPRS 2071 Register of Police Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Retirements 1904 – 1953
This series records Victoria Police appointments, promotions, resignations and retirements. The contents include the officer’s surname, initials, date of appointment and comments in relation to promotion, resignation or retirement from the police force. Arrangement is by the number assigned to the officer upon appointment to the force.
Victoria Police Gazettes 1856 – 1969
Victoria Police Gazettes were sent to each police station in Victoria. They contain notices and listings of crimes, persons wanted, persons released from gaol, ships’ deserters, escaped convicts, missing friends and in later years, photographs of wanted persons, and details of police officers promoted, deceased or dismissed.
Victoria Police Gazettes are available in the Reading Room of the Victorian Archives Centre (VAC) and do not have to be ordered. Please note that police gazettes commenced in December 1853. They are available for the period 1857 – 1969 in hard copy in the VAC Reading Room reference library, and on microfiche at the Ballarat Archives Centre for the period 1853 – 1870. Victoria Police Gazettes can also be consulted at the State Library of Victoria and at some libraries and genealogical centres.
PROV Reading Rooms have a number of microfiche series relating to police records that do not need to be ordered. These include:
Victoria Police Gazette
1853 – 1870 (BAC)
Victoria Police Gazette Consolidated Index
1859 – 1863 (VAC)
Victoria Police Index to Members of the Force (Victoria Police Historical Units)
1853 – 1953 (VAC)
Accessing the Records
Open records can be ordered through PROV’s online catalogue for viewing at the Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room. See PROVguide 20 Searching for Records Online and PROVguide 21 Ordering Records for information.
Note that many of the more recent police records that contain information of a personal or private nature about individuals are subject to a 75 year closure under Section 9 of the Public Records Act 1973.
Researchers may also find references to police in the court records held at the Victorian Archives Centre and the Ballarat Archives Centre. Please see the entry for VRG 4 Courts on PROV’s online catalogue for more information. Records of some of the police stations are also held by PROV; see VRG 10 Police. For more information about the history and related records of police in Victoria see the entry for VF 10 Police on PROV’s online catalogue.
Additional Victoria Police records are available for research through the:
Victoria Police Museum
World Trade Centre, Lower Concourse Level
637 Flinders Street
Melbourne VIC 3008.
Web: www.police.vic.gov.au (go to About Victoria Police, then Museum)
Tel: 03 9247 5214