How much did the CID improve investigative policing in the years 1880-1950?

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How much did the CID improve investigative policing during the years c1880-c1950?

The CID was set up in 1842, to help aid the work of investigative police. However, only during the years c1880-c1950, did they really make an impact. The CID improved investigative policing by a fair amount, although this improvement was mainly due to the development in other factors, such as technology.

Technology played a big part in the work of the CID. During the time period of 1888, there was limited ways to catch the killer; they had to rely on catching the murderer by catching them in the act or finding a witness who had seen what happened. This method was unreliable but when developments in technology were introduced, it helped in the detection of crime. During the case of ‘Dr Crippen’, they used the Marconi wireless invention of the telegraph. “And was caught following the world’s first use of the telegraph to intercept a fugitive at sea”. (12) The usage of the telegram ensured that Dr Crippen was caught. This made the CID effective as they were able to catch the murderer of Cora Crippen. In addition, if there wasn’t a development in technology then perhaps Dr Crippen would have got away.

 Another use of technology was in the ‘Whitechapel Murders’. When Mary Kelly was killed, detectives took photographs of her at the scene. This shows that technology was improving, as was the detection of crimes as the CID was then able to infer from those photographs, therefore improving investigative techniques. Although photography was used, Mary Kelly was the only victim to have been photographed; therefore this indicates that the importance of photographing the scene “had not been fully understood at the time”. Along with technology, communication was also a crucial part of detection.

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Communication between the CID and the police was vital. Without communication between the two forces, no improvement in detection could be made. A key example of this was during Jack the Ripper murders. “I have to suggest that our CID should be in more constant communication with yours about the W[hitechapel] murders”. (4) This quote suggests that during the killings, there was little contact between the CID and the Police. As a result of this, the CID hardly improved investigative policing as if there is no communication then nothing would be solved. Having said that, developments in technology meant that ...

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