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Jack The Ripper - Law and Order in the late 19th century

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Introduction

Jack The Ripper -GCSE History Coursework Law and Order in the late 19th century 1) A regular police force was established in 1829 for a number of reasons. Before 1829 large disturbances could not be handled, such as riots. There were only special constables and watchmen, who knew the area well as they were locals. However, they had other jobs so only worked part time. The army would have to be sent in for large disturbances, which the public loathed, as they had ed coats. The Navy, seen as the national heroes, had blue coats, which the Metropolitan Police adopted. These new policemen were not sectioned out as the previous police so worked coherently. The new police were brought in to deter crime and drunkenness as well as control large demonstrations and riots. 2) The new police force did not bring about radical changes in law and order as many of the new recruits were dismissed for drunkenness etc. The new police started to become unpopular due to their crowd control methods. The Bow Street Runners continued for years afterwards, so the force did not work together completely. Many areas in Britain did not have a Metropolitan Police Force. Many policemen were unskilled and earned less than skilled workers (95p a week). A policeman could not take time off, take in a lodger, sell vegetables from his garden, have a dog, chicken or more than two pigs. A policeman could not even vote. Class based prejudice emerged as policemen favoured the middle and upper class and discriminated against the lower classes. The Bow Street Runners refused to co-operate with the Manchester police force. This was common as people argued who was in charge, showing poor structure of the system. This, combined with their draconian actions, caused them to be viewed as people who "stalks along, an institution rather than a man." 3) The setup of the CID, or Criminal Intelligence Department made a considerable improvement to the police. ...read more.

Middle

Clues such as writing on the wall were found which added more evidence. 4) The letters did not have a particularly massive impact on the investigation, as the there was a massive flood of letters and few were sure whether to believe the "from hell" letters or "Jack the Ripper" letters. Hysteria was whipped up in all ranks however as Jack The Ripper was seen as a inhuman cannibal. 5) The Ripper chose prostitutes as they had no choice but to wander the streets very late and alone, waiting for potential clients who could have actually been the Ripper. They were also desperate for a bed for the night and therefore would trust anyone. It is for this reason alone it is suspected the Ripper chose prostitutes, not because of any grudge he had against them. Conclusion 1) Factors in the control of police Factors out of control of police Lack of cooperation between police units Police not used Lack of well trained policemen Lack of previous experience with such cases Not enough policemen Whitechapel was a poorly lit area with many side streets Evidence was leaked Media exaggerated incident Evidence was destroyed Lack of technology, eg computers, fingerprinting, etc Lack of morale due to pay and expectations Poverty stricken area with high levels of victims (prostitutes) Poor methods such as decoys, etc Not enough government funding High publicity meant investigation did not go as smoothly as hoped Public hysteria and fake letters Coursework Questions 1) Describe law and order in London in the late 19th Century In 1829, the country was on the brink of civil war, so in a last attempt the government passed 'The Great Reform Act' to reduce the corruption in the force. A sweeping reform of electoral procedure was made. The police became the keepers of peace, as previously the red coated army, who were hated by the public. ...read more.

Conclusion

There was no motive, so the only thing police could rely on were eyewitness accounts of what the killer looked like; and eventually they were forced to go door to door asking who Ripper was. This is because in most cases, the victim knows the killer, while Jack The Ripper was opportunistic; he randomly killed his victims with no clues or warning beforehand. There was also no money motive involved, which was what the police were used to. False leads and cover ups were also prevalent and confusing for the police; these tend to link most strongly to the letters, which were only to be discovered false later, and the links to the Polish Jewish community further confused the police, despite the fact newspapers such as 'The Jewish Chronicle' tried to dispel this. Many people claimed to be Jack the Ripper, and evidence was hidden between Metropolitan and City police. Added to the fact that police burnt all the evidence, we have few links remaining. In conclusion, I believe it is primarily down to the fact that the police were not used to such crimes, as well as the media, for not catching Jack the Ripper. Since the police had never dealt with such crimes before, they were even further hampered by the media clouding the situation. However, the final theory is that perhaps Jack the Ripper was caught, in the form of Aaron Kosminski. Police senior Macnaghten describes him as "insane, owing to many years indulgence in solitary vices. He had a great hatred ... of the prostitute class, & had strong homicidal tendencies; he was removed to a lunatic asylum about March 1889." The fact that all major investigation stopped after this point, as do the killings, is a strong indicator of this. Finally, I believe that the factors contributing towards failure were the media and police, but there is also a possibility that Jack the Ripper was caught, but not publicly, as to avoid racial backlash. ...read more.

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