What then did the government propose to do about this state of affairs? Well part of its response was to create a single law enforcement agency – the NSW Police Service – out of the separate law enforcement agencies.
After much debate through parliament in late 1861, the new legislation took effect in March 1862.
As far as the goldfields were concerned this meant the old mounted police with their semi-military style organisation was replaced by a police model based on the Irish system also then partly in place in Victoria.
This change was not entirely free from criticism though it wasn’t until several months after the act was introduced that it got a major public airing.
As one commentator wrote “The operation of the New Police Act has been such that few persons of any class in Gardiner’s [the bushranger] dominions — now extending from a little beyond Bathurst to the Victorian border — willingly afford help, succour, or information to the military gentlemen scouring the country.