Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper – Controlled assessment Alan Milne ‘The police investigative methods were to blame for not capturing Jack the Ripper’. To what extent do you agree with this statement? I think that policing methods were to blame for jack the ripper not being caught because they were heavily influenced by the public, media and press this shows us that they were scared and intimidated by them and had to control them as riots may of broke out.
Although I think they were to blame, people could argue that they weren’t as people believe that they tried everything with what little technology they had and other resources they had. The first reason why I think they were to blame is that they were heavily influenced by media, press and the public this meant that they had to take extra caution when taking in suspects (e. g. eather apron who was taken in by the police as the public were after him) as it could have been taken the wrong way and a public up rage could occur which would of made life harder for the police, as they were focusing all their attention on that which was a waste of their time, however they did try and tackle these problems by carrying out I. D parades, interviews and door to door methods but most of these were ineffective as they were held weeks after the murders, and because it was the norm to be drunk at the time people would often forget about the murders appearance, “only 65% of people doing I. D parades would remember the person”. Bloody Britain) Another tactic the police used was their own officers dressing up as women or using known prostitutes to act as decoys so they could catch the killer red handed, this may have worked if they carried on using it, but something that was a problem were the locations of the murders which were badly lit and Whitechapel was full of networks of small alleys, lanes, and streets which made it very easy for Jack to commit the murder and run away/ get away extremely quickly, the police attempted to solve this problem and sent more police officers out a quote to support this is “They followed up every lead, however tenuous, they drafted in extra men who were to remain in Whitechapel on high alert” (Crime archive/Val Horsler) this suggests to me that they had an effective method but didn’t use it to their advantage as much as they could of done e. g. have police patrolling but others observing areas on streets corners making it another reason for them to be blamed another quote is “No-one could say that there wasn’t enough police patrolling the east end” (The star – Newspaper) there may have been a lot of officers but the location of the murders and the narrow lanes did not help them in any way as they just couldn’t cover the whole of Whitechapel.
Evidence that the police found was often washed away or moved from the crime scene as they thought that it would cause public/social disorder this was a major fault for the police as it could have been the key to catching the killer or it could have helped them in their investigation, a quote to support this is “Today the whole crime scene would be cordoned off and the victim remained there until examined by forensics, whereas in the Whitechapel murders police believed that they should get the body, evidence away as it causes social disorder” (Definitive Jack – Richard Jones Historian) this stresses the point that the police could not have their own decisions and were very weak as it seems to us that the public controlled them. The police force was very weak as they didn’t use methods that had great potential to their advantages. Another reason is because people that they asked to examine the body doctors / surgeons they were giving the police conflicting information. “Police had conflicting information from coroners and doctors” (Jack the ripper) this made it extremely difficult for the police to progress as they didn’t have accurate information from one person, also technology was very poor so they couldn’t have a concrete way or decision of how one of the women died.

Another reason why they were weak is because a lot of immigrants lived in London but didn’t speak English so police had more pressure on finding the killer but couldn’t get further as they couldn’t co-operate with anyone, on the other hand if they did have an interpreter not much co-operation would of occurred anyway as people were often drunk, violent and the public didn’t really like the police anyway so door to door and interviewing methods were poor as they didn’t co-operate. When the police had the chance of using blood hounds they should of kept using them as they were effective proven by the police today, but the public and media pressure swayed them to not use them as it was seen to be stupid and dangerous if the dogs were to attack an innocent person.
Dogs in the police force were not used for another 70 years, this could have helped them catch Jack or lead them to clues. If the police had access to fingerprinting and blood testing I think that jack would have been caught and the police would have had a better reputation from the public and media. In conclusion I think that the police were to blame because they couldn’t think for themselves and didn’t trust their own ideas and let the public, media and the press control their actions. Also if they didn’t move evidence from the crime scenes or bodies then I think that they could have caught Jack and if they would have trusted the dogs it could have helped them a lot more.

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