Law and order in London

1. Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century. (15)

The police was enforced to ensure minimal violence and crimes that was occurring, in order to make London a much securer environment. Even though the police had a good knowledge of the local troubles and their local area, they were not capable in dealing with larger disturbances, for example: riots. To solve this scenario the army was called in. however due to their ‘heavy handed’ methods the community tremendously disliked them.

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In 1829 Robert Peel set up the metropolitan police force. The force tried to distance themselves from the army by wearing blue uniforms instead of the army’s red. This was because they had a bad public image however the metropolitan’s reputation was no better. This police force did not get very far as corruption and drunkenness became an issue among officers.

Then the CID was set up. This consisted of detectives dealing with crimes, who followed these instructions: ‘the body must not be moved, nor anything about it or in the room or place interfered with, and the public must be excluded.’ They found that this had many advantages as in 1884 John Toms was convicted of murder by police because they matched a torn piece of paper from his pistol in the wound of the victim. This was the beginning of forensic science.

These points above prove that it was extremely difficult to police a rough area like Whitechapel, where even the police often walked in pairs for protection. There was an estimated 1,200 prostitutes in Whitechapel and most residents were heavy drinkers. The police tried to limit these factors however; the residents believed these were the ways of life.

2. Why did the Whitechapel murders attract so much attention in 1888? (15)

The Whitechapel attracted so much attention because of the brutality of the murders. Some of the victims having had all their flesh and internal organs removed only created more panic and scandal in London. Also knowing the fact that these murders were caused by a serial killer just made people more interested as it is the basic human nature to be curious

3. Why were the police unable to catch Jack the Ripper? (20)

There are several reasons as to why the police were unable to catch Jack the Ripper. Firstly the police weren’t used to solving crimes, as they were more there to prevent them. Also the form of murder made it very difficult, as it was the first time they were dealing with a ‘serial killer’ and the police had no experience.

This murderer was very diverse and difficult to catch. He killed his victims without motif or connection. The murders took place at night when it was pitch black (as they didn’t have street lamps). Whitechapel was full of back allies and side streets. This didn’t help as it made it more difficult for the police to patrol. The murders were taken place on the weekends, which in itself made it harder to chat him. This was because there were many distractions such as drunkenness, which was a common problem there.

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