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Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century.

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Introduction

Question 1. Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century. In the nineteenth century, London had many problems with crime; there was a major increase in murders and street crimes. By 1840, criminal offences had risen from 5000 to 20000 in just 40 years; this became increasingly difficult for the newly found Metropolitan Police Force, which was set up in 1829 by home secretary sir Robert Peel. Before the Metropolitan Police Force was set up, crime was often kept down by watchmen and parish constables, who patrolled the streets of the towns and cities, this was probably successful as they were locals and knew the area and people well. Police work had started to improve by the nineteenth century and that had brought the crime rate down, during this period, the roles of the police had started to transform as they were not just there to deter crime, but also there to solve crime. During the 19th century the police were not very liked as they had a very bad reputation for handling protests and riots. Punishment was also changed during this period, capital punishment was abolished for most crimes, but still stood there for murder and treason but other than that, other means of punishment were introduced. On the whole, the police force changed dramatically in the way crime was handled, punishment for criminally and the jobs of the police. The 'Metropolitan Police Force' when first formed was divided into 17 divisions, each division had a superintendent, 4 inspectors and 144 constables, they was to carry out the roles of the watchmen and constables, their duty was to guard the streets to prevent crime and tackle major disturbances. Each officer was to be of good health, between the ages of 18-35, at least 5"5 tall and had to be literate. It took the public some time to get used to the police force and their reputation went up and down. ...read more.

Middle

She suffered from a haemorrhage cause by severance of the artery. The ripper's fourth victim was Catherine Eddowes; she was also murdered on the same day as Elizabeth Stride. She was never married but had 3 children; she was 43 years of ages at death. When found, her face was totally mutilated. Her throat and neck was severed and was cut open from the neck to the groin. The last known victim of the ripper was Mary Jane Kelly; she was approximately 25 years old when she died. Little is known about her, only information given by people she knew. The surface of her abdomen and thighs were removed, many parts of her body were removed and placed next to her and face was totally mutilated. The natures of these murders were very gruesome and unpleasant. The murderer wasn't after sex, or after money, he just wanted to kill these women in the most gruesome way. This then lead to ideas that the serial murders were all a conspiracy to get rid of the prostitutes on the street. During these murders, the police received many letters claiming to be written by the serial murderer. The majority of the letters received were regarded as being fraudulent written by newspaper people to try start stories or people who was trying to provoke even more commotion. Most people believe that the letters sent were all a ruse to get the police frightened but others believe that a select few are genuinely from the murderer himself. On one occasion, the police force received a letter and also part of a kidney supposedly taken from one of the ripper's victims. The newspaper followed the activities of the ripper; this issue had a lot of press coverage and the results of the actions and inquiries taken by the police were also reported. People were now scared of leaving their house in occurrence that they may encounter the ripper, this was a result of the lies made up in the newspapers about the ripper. ...read more.

Conclusion

The police were only experienced in preventing crime and not solving crime, this meant that they did not know what to do and what not to do. When the police found out that there was a killer on the loose, more men were sent out to prevent them but then realised that they should try to solve the murders rather then trying to prevent them. During the hunt for the killer, the police forces made handbills to give to every house in Whitechapel, this made sure that everyone could try and help with the tracking of the murderer. The handbills did not help; this was because there was not any relevant information given to the people as to how the suspect he looked or a description etc. The people of Whitechapel had no idea of who they were supposed to be keeping an eye out for. Jack the ripper was never caught, this was because the police force were very amateur and in their infancy. The police force was just developing at the time of the murders. They did not have the scientific knowledge or methods they have today. The killer was very sly and smart. He left very little evidence at the crime scene with no leads for the police to follow up. The police wasted a lot of time chasing up hoax letters made up by the public and the local newspapers. They had very little help from doctors and witnesses as their evidence contradicted each other. The killer was very skilled and quiet; he was very smart in turning the two police forces against each other. Because the two police forces were in competition with each other, they kept things from one another and they did not help one another in the search. With the forensic sciences and modern technology there is today, the ripper would have had a better chance at getting caught. Whitechapel was just unlucky that this serial murderer was in the time period where the police forces were amateur and forensic sciences had not yet been discovered. Tien Chau Nguyen Jack the ripper coursework 1 ...read more.

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