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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Police Officials » Macnaghten, Sir Melville » MacNaughton's career « Previous Next »

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Rhobert Lewis
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Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 2:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

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1889 : Jun - Appointed Assistant Chief Constable (CID).

1890 : Promoted to Chief Constable (CID).

Is the last one right? Was there a rank of Chief Constable in the Met?
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John Ruffels
Username: Johnr

Post Number: 319
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 7:02 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello Rhobert,
There is a very interesting history to the Office
of Chief Constable (CID).
My entire knowledge of this subject is derived from a close reading of back-posts by illustrious Ripper researchers like Stewart P Evans, Martin Fido and Stan Russo. On the Casebook CD ROM.
They posted back in 2002! So you should purchase the VERY REASONABLY PRICED CD ROM on CASEBOOK posts( advertised on the Home Page of this site here).
I recommend this CD ROM to any serious new researcher. Some of the expert opinions aired thereon are irreplaceable. And do not appear in printed books on JTR.
I'll briefly try to paraphrase and summarise their information for you.
When James Munro was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Force, at Scotland Yard, London in 1886, he was also running a very secret subsection called "Section D". This was what today would be called "Special Branch".
He was so overworked, he wanted a discreet assistant to handle all his secret paperwork, and to liase with the heads of the 25 Detective branches in the Metropolitan Divisions plus liase with the three Assistant Commissioners.
Munro suggested the role of Chief Constable CID. He nominated a very experienced detective named Chief Inspector F A Williamson. Who was appointed to the post in 1886. However, so hardworked were all the genuine senior police, Williamson was frequently on sick leave.
A replacement was required, so in February 1888
Commissioner Warren, Munro's replacement, suggested a temporary Assistant Chief Constable CID to act in place of Williamson.
This appointment was delayed as someone high up,(Munro?) wanted Sir Melville Macnaghten, an indigo plantation manager from India and son of the former head of the huge East India Commission.
Some suggest Munro nominated Macnaghten as he was a "toff", and would pander to ex Army General Warren's regimental requirements, while Munro (still running the spies) got on with his important work.
Macnaghten didn't turn up to take up his position till June 1889. Interestingly, after Warren had been given the 'heave-ho' and Munro was back as Commissioner!
Munro gradually became slightly disenchanted with Macnaghten, and suggested Frederick Howard, an experienced ex India policeman for a post others were nominating Macnaghten for, (Chief Constable CID). When Munro resigned (again), one of his reasons, along with police pensions, was disregard for his nominee Howard, over Macnaghten.
Despite Munro's resignation, Howard still got the job, and Sir Melville survived and prospered. Whilst other senior ranks were falling like flies from over-work, Macnaghten just took over temporarily in their positions. First Chief Inspector Williamson, then as Assistant Commissioner CID(unofficially)for Anderson.
In 1903 he belatedly acquired Anderson's position officially, after Major Henry retired, and finally became Assistant Commissioner CID. He filled that post till his retirement in 1913.

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