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Jack the Ripper Coursework Q4. Use sources F and G, and your own knowledge, to explain how the police tried to catch Jack the Ripper. Police methods in the 19th Century are very different to those used today. There were two separate police forces investigating the Ripper murders, the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police. These two forces didn't work together during the investigation. They didn't share evidence or disclose information to each other. They hindered rather than helped each other. The main way the police tried to catch criminals in the 19th Century was to get information from the public. Source F is a police notice published after the murders of Elizabeth Stride and Kate Eddowes. This shows that the police would hand out leaflets to the public appealing for information. "Should you know of any person to whom suspicion is attached, you are earnestly requested to communicate at once with the nearest Police Station." This leaflet is vague because it doesn't describe the Ripper at all and doesn't give any information about him. ...read more.


They would take statements from witnesses and then follow up on this. The problem with this is that witness statements tended to be contradictory and didn't identify conclusively what the Ripper looked like. The police also did door-to-door enquiries to ask people for information. The problem with this is that Whitechapel was a rough area at the time and was rife with criminals. If a policeman knocked on the door of a criminal, they wouldn't answer the door and would probably run away. They would also ask people whether they recognised the handwriting from the "Dear Boss" letter that the police received. The problem with this is that a lot of the population in Whitechapel were illiterate and they wouldn't have been able to read the letter so it wouldn't mean anything to them, thus they wouldn't be able to recognise it. The police also used information they took from the body of the dead person. They did post-mortems to work out how the person was killed. ...read more.


They also used plain-clothed officers to try to catch him. The problem with this is that a plain-clothed officer couldn't ask too many questions without arousing suspicion with the public. The Ripper could always kill a plain-clothed officer who confronted him and run off without the fear of anyone knowing about the murder until he was found. This delay would give ample time for the Ripper to escape. They also investigated tip-offs they received from the public. Unfortunately these tip-offs were few and far between because the police weren't generally trusted. Also, the ones they did receive can't have been very useful because they never caught the Ripper. In conclusion, the main ways the police tried to catch Jack the Ripper were by appealing for information from the public and taking evidence from the crime scene. There were various ways the police used the public as a source of information: putting out notices appealing for information, taking statements from witnesses, door-to-door enquiries and asking whether people recognised handwriting. The methods used to gather evidence from the crime scene were correct but due to the lack of technology, these methods didn't gather very much information. ...read more.

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