1830 Regulations

The original rules and regulations of the Society give an indication of the closer tie of duties to the upholding of law & order than the now ceremonial acts undertaken at Perth, the 4th day of January 1830, on which day, the Honourable the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Council of the City of Perth being assembled, there was taken under consideration, the propriety of establishing proper Instructions and Regulations for the Society of High Constables, when the following were resolved and enacted; viz. 

In the first place - The Council confirmed the designation as, "The Society of High Constables of the City of Perth": - and also hereby enacted and declared, that the period of their service shall continue during the pleasure of the Magistrates for the time. 

2dly. The Office-bearers of the High Constables shall consist of a Moderator, a Clerk, a Physician, Chaplain and Solicitor, who shall be elected annually by the majority of votes of the Constables themselves, at a meeting to be held annually for that purpose, on the ... day of ... , at eight o'clock, evening. The Moderator shall be ex-officio President at all Meetings of the High Constables; and in cases of an equality of votes, he shall have a casting in addition to a deliberative vote. 

3dly. In order to ensure the punctual attendance of the High Constables, and to preserve order and regularity in all their proceedings at their own Meetings, they shall have power, by a majority of votes, which shall regulate all such matters, to frame such bye-laws and minor regulations as they shall deem suitable, applicable to themselves, and which, when so enacted, shall be binding on every individual member of the High Constables, who shall be bound to adhere thereto, and comply therewith in every respect. 


1 st. In cases of breach of the Peace, or violent threats of immediate mischief, or obstruction of a Constable in the execution of his office, as also in cases of felony which he has seen committed, or has information of, from others who are sure of the fact, every High Constable is authorised and required to seize and apprehend the person or persons so seen or suspected, and immediately thereafter to carry them before a Magistrate of the City, to be dealt with according to law. 

2dly. Any citizen presenting a regular written complaint against disorderly or riotous persons, either in the street or in a house, the High Constables may take them into custody, and commit them to the Police Office, until examined by the Magistrates, the Sheriff-depute, or his Substitute, or the officiating Judge in the Police Court, as the case may require; and upon any fray or disorder by day or night, or any other sudden accident that may fall out, either in the street, or in any disorderly house, the High Constables shall take all proper care and measures for separating the parties, and preventing any inconvenience that may happen, and shall seize and apprehend the party or parties guilty. 

3dly. If any person or persons liable to be apprehended, as suspected of having committed an atrocious crime, shall take refuge in any house, the High Constable shall follow, in order to seize them; and if the door shall be shut against the High Constable, and access refused, he shall take proper measures to prevent their escape; and he may, after displaying his Baton, and notifying who he is, and the purpose of his coming, and on being refused admission, force his way into the house, even to the breaking open of the door, in order to apprehend the accused; and if they shall fly beyond the bounds of a High Constable's charge, or beyond the jurisdiction of the Magistrates, the High Constable may follow and apprehend them; but no High Constable shall break open doors in pursuit of one who flies after committing a breach of the peace, or minor delinquency. - "Under the description of atrocious crimes seems to be comprehended murder; the inflicting of a dangerous wound; rape; assault with intent to commit a rape; robbery; theft committed by housebreaking, picking locks, or the like, or other aggravated theft; breaking into a house in order to commit murder, theft, or other felony. " - Tait's duties of a Constable. 

4thly. Every High Constable is hereby directed, when he shall seize and apprehend any person or persons as aforesaid, to secure or detain them in the Police Office, or Police Cells, till they can be conveniently taken before a Magistrate, or before the Sheriff-depute or his Substitute, or the officiating Judge in the Police Court, as the case may require; and to state verbally or in writing to the Magistrate the nature of the crime or offence with which they are charged, and any other information he may possess, including the names of the witnesses, or other means of proof 

5thly. That the High Constables of the City may be the more effectually enabled to execute their office, they are hereby empowered to call for the assistance of the Police Officers and Town Officers and the whole neighbours and inhabitants, who are hereby charged, as they shall be answerable, after the Baton is displayed, to assist them: And the High Constables are hereby directed, with all convenient speed, to inform the Magistrates, or Officiating Judge in the Police Court, or one or other of them, of such of the aforesaid persons as shall refuse or neglect to give their assistance. 

6thly. On the first alarm or suspicion of a riot, the High Constables shall assemble, as speedily as possible, (without waiting for a regular notice being sent them) in the Council House, which shall be understood to be the rendezvous on all such occasions, there to receive the necessary instructions from the Magistrates; and the High Constables shall at all times receive and attend to such instructions, in the discharge of their duty, as the Lord Provost or Magistrates may enjoin them. 

Regulations Regarding Fires

1. Upon occasions of Fire, the Moderator shall call out the High Constables, when it shall be their duty to preserve order, and to protect property; to keep the crowd away from the Engines, and those employed about them; and when necessary do all in their power to provide men for working the Engines. 

2.The High Constables shall not assume any management, or give any directions whatsoever, except in preserving order, protecting property, and keeping off the crowd. 

The Council approved of the foregoing Instructions and Rules, and appointed them to be observed by the Society of High Constables in the public discharge of their office, and that during the pleasure of the Council; and appoint these Instruction, with this Minute, to be printed, and copies delivered to the different High Constables. 


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