In my opinion, the police were partly to blame for not catching Jack the Ripper. Although it was their job to catch him and they should have done a much better job there were also many conditions that prevented them from catching him. They should have been way more efficient than they were and they weren’t experienced with the sort of case that they were dealing with as it had never happened in the area before.
The technology at the time was also very primitive and as a result, there was no way that they could have found out who he was without catching him murdering someone which was impossible in the ‘network of narrow, dark and crooked lanes’ or with a statement from a witness. This is proved in source H, ‘All the police can hope is that some accidental circumstance will lead to a trace which may be followed to a successful conclusion’. Also, there was absolutely no forensic science at the time and therefore no way of scientifically identifying the murderer through, for example, fingerprints or security cameras.
They were so primitive in technology at the time that they could not even distinguish what sort of blood was on people’s clothes, which stopped them from proving who the criminal was because if someone had blood on them they could just say that it was animal’s blood and the police could not prove otherwise. As the police were not allowed to offer a reward people were less reluctant to come forward to the police and help and the ones who did were very vague and unsure and used phrases such as “I think” throughout the description.
Another problem which stopped the police from catching the Ripper was that it was not known which of the killings was done by how many people. There are only five believed to be by Jack the Ripper and even if they had caught a killer for one of them there was no way of linking him to the others due to the lack of forensic science. The police mainly concentrated on trying to get the public to help them to find the killer. This is probably because the killer left no clues and there was no forensic science.
Their attempts included producing a leaflet which was not very good and did not have much response. They also put more officers on the streets to try and catch the killer while he was killing someone. Although there were many circumstances stopping them from catching the killer, they did a pretty bad job and did some things incorrectly like destroying some of the evidence, like the message on the wall near the murder of Eddowes about Jews, which should have been photographed, as it was probably the handwriting of Jack the Ripper.
They also did not release a lot of information about the case which might have reminded people of something that happened and they could have come forward. Their search for him also was not very thorough and they also believed him to be living in Whitechapel whereas he more than likely did not and they also believed he was a foreigner, which was not certain. They also concentrated on questioning people who dealt with bodies, like animal slaughterers, though source B says that ‘no mere slaughterer of animals could have carried out these operations’.
The police also arrested many people, mainly to show the public that they were doing something but due to there being absolutely no evidence, they had to be released. In conclusion, the police were not entirely to blame for not catching the killer, though they should have done a much better job. There were many circumstances that obstructed them from catching him, for example a lack in technology and also the place that the murders were taking place.
They also weren’t experienced in the sort of crime. If the murder were to take place nowadays, the killer would probably be caught because the police would be used to the type of crime and more efficient. They would have gained more response from the public due to programs like Crimewatch and the public would have been more informed because of the news. There also would be more evidence and clues because of forensic science.