HENRY MILLER - Head Constable 1844
In April 1844 Henry Miller was appointed the Head Constable of Liverpool. He had succeeded Michael Whitty who was extremely popular with the people of Liverpool. Miller had a hard act to follow.
Initially 54 men applied for the position. That list was reduced from 54 to 3 by the Watch Committee. Henry Miller had been an acting superintendent with the Glasgow police for the previous eight years. The other two men were a Captain Whitty (i), who had 13 years Army service but no police experience. The final candidate was Mr Shepperd, also a former army officer and who had been Superintendent in the Lancashire County Constabulary since its formation four years earlier in 1839. His brother-in-law was Captain Woodford (ii) , the Chief Constable of Lancashire. By a vote of 19 to 3 the Watch Committee appointed Henry Miller.
On the afternoon Saturday 20th April 1844 Henry Miller was sworn in as Liverpool's Head Constable at the Police Courts before Liverpool's Mayor, Thomas Sands, and the towns Chief Magistrate Edward Rushton. Henry Miller was accompanied by his predecessor Michael Whitty.
Within six months the local newspaper (Liverpool Albion 25th October 1844) was expressing concern about the leadership of the Force. It readers were told that the Watch Committee had convened a sub-committee to look into the state of the force generally and whether the printed rules and regulations were fully carried out.
A minute of the Watch Committee on 24th October 1844 records .....
"The Daily Board (iii) of yesterday think it their duty to report to the committee, on the earliest opportunity, that the Head Constable has been guilty of a flagrant disobedience of orders, given to him by the chairman in the presence of three members."
It transpired that the Watch Committee had agreed to a request from the Commissioners for Birkenhead for Liverpool Police to supplement (iv) Birkenhead Officers at the opening of a new dock at Birkenhead. The Head Constable was told to send 50, under the charge of an experienced Superintendent, with the necessary number of Inspectors. Mr Laycock one of the Commissioners of Birkenhead, wanted Liverpool's Head Constable to supervise his Officers. The Liverpool Watch Committee refused the request in the belief that Miller would be needed to oversee the expected high volume of passengers at the Pier Head who would be travelling to and from Birkenhead. Miller was aware of the Watch Committee position but together with two Senior Officer went to Birkenhead and remained their till mid afternoon. The Watch Committee felt this was insubordination and neglect of duty by Miller that was highly prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the force. The two Senior Officers who had absented themselves from Liverpool was a Superintendent and Mr Hewitt the foreman of the fire-police, who remained in Birkenhead the whole day. The Head Constable said that Hewitt's absence was without his, Miller's, permission. The absence of these men meant there was no-one to take the command and make the necessary arrangements in the event of a fire.
It was a resolution of the Watch Committee :-
"That this committee, having taken into consideration the evidence taken yesterday, concur in opinion as to Mr MILLER'S inefficiency to fulfil the duties of his situation, and it is further resolved that his services be dispensed with, but that he be allowed to resign forthwith. Resolved also, that the secretary be directed to transmit a copy of the above resolution to Mr MILLER, the Head Constable."
Miller penned his resignation to the Watch Committee as he waited in Liverpool's Central Station for the train to Scotland. In his letter he stated how he had left his position in Glasgow, a position he had held for eight years. He went on to say how much the move had cost him financially. He finished his letter by saying he hoped "to leave behind no unkind feeling, I entertain none,"
After accepting his resignation. The Committee agreed to give Miller an extra six months stipend to help defer his removal expenses.
In the day that Miller resignation was reported in the local newspaper. An article appeared relating to the Birkenhead Festival that lavished praise on the actions of the local police assisted by the Liverpool Police under the command of Head Constable, Henry Miller.
Despite the fact Miller has resigned in December 1844, in January 1845 the Glasgow Herald had articles regarding Millers departure from Liverpool. Miller said he was disgusted how he had been treated. He felt his good character had been injured and that he had been treated with a want of common courtesy and respect.
The Liverpool Watch Committee had full and comprehensive report on what they saw as Miller incompetence and failings to perform the duties of his office. The report stated Miller failed to follow the printed rules and regulations for the good conduct of the force. He had not attended the bridewells and stations, as required, at various times during the day and night (v). It was recorded that the general discipline of the force had declined under Miller's leadership. That he had selected young and inexperienced inspectors (vi), Miller had kept himself aloof from the superintendents and inspectors. His general conduct and demeanour was such that it prevented discussion with his subordinates, that acts of insubordination and dissatisfaction, by Officers, in the discharge of their duties had been more frequent under him than before. Miller asked of the copy of the report. As he had resigned the committee refused his request.
In March 1845 Miller was appointed Governor of the Glasgow prisons and superintendent of the other prisons in Lanarkshire, with a salary of £650 a year.
In April 1848, he was appointed by the Glasgow Municipal Police Board to the office of Chief Superintendent of Police, with full powers under the Act. He resigned from Glasgow police in December1848.
On 24th September 1873 the Glasgow News announced the death of Henry MILLER.
Shaun R. ROTHWELL
BA (Hons) PGDip