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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Police Officials » Warren, Sir Charles » Letter from Warren to Whitechapel Board of Works - 3rd October 1888 « Previous Next »

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Chris Scott
Chief Inspector
Username: Chris

Post Number: 921
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2004 - 6:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

On 2nd October 1888, the Whitechapel Board of Works passed the following resolution:
"That this board regards with horror and alarm the several atrocious murders recently perpetrated within district of Whitechapel and its vicinity and calls upon Sir Charles Warren so to regulate and strengthen the police force in the neighbourhood as to guard against any repetition of such arocities."

Warren's reply, dated the following day, reads as follows:

In reply to a letter of the 2nd. inst. from the Clerk to the Board of Works for the Whitechapel District, transmitting a resolution with regard to the recent atrocious murders perpetrated in and about Whitechapel, I have to point out that the carrying out of your proposals as to regulating and strengthening the police force in your district cannot possibly do more than guard or take precautions against any repetition of such atrocities, so long as the victims actually, but unwillingly, connive at their own destruction. Statistics show that London, in comparison to its population, is the safest city in the world to live in. The prevention of murder cannot directly be effected by any strength of the police force, but it is reduced and brought to a minimum by rendering it most difficult to escape detection. In the particular class of murders now confronting us, howeverm the unfortunate victims, appear to take the murderer to some retired spot and place themselves in such a position that they can be slaughtered without a sound being heard. The murder, therefore, takes place without any clue to the criminal being left.
I have to request and call upon your board, as popular representatives, to do all in your power to dissuade the unfortunate women of Whitechapel from going into lonely places in the dark with any persons, whether acquaintances or strangers. I have also to point out that the purlieus about Whitechapel are most imperfectly lighted, and the darkness is an important assistant to crime.
I can assure you, for the information of your board, that every nerve has been strained to detect the criminal or criminals, and to render difficult further atrocities. You will agree with me that it is not desirable that I should enter into particulars as to what the police are doing in the matter. It is most important for good results that our proceedings should not be published, and the very fact that you may be unaware of what the Detective Department is doing is only the stronger proof that it is doing its work with secrecy and efficiency.
A large force of police has been drafted into Whitechapel district to assist those already there to the full extent necessary to meet the requirements, but I have to observe that the Metropolitan police have not large reserves doing nothing and ready to meet emergencies; but every man has his duty assigned to him, and I can only strengthen the Whitechapel district by withdrawing men from duty in other parts of the metropolis. You will be aware that the whole of the police work of the metropolis has to be done as usual while this extra work is going on, and that at such times as this extra precautions have to be taken to prevent the commission of other classes of crime being facilitated through the attention of the police being diverted to one special place and object.
I trust that your board will assist the police by persuading the inhabitants to give them every information in their power concerning any suspicious characters in the various dwellings, for which object 10,000 handbills - a copy of which I enclose - have been distributed.
I have read the reported proceedings of your meeting, and I regret to see that the greatest misconceptions appear to have arisen in the public mind as to recent action in the administration of the police. I beg you will dismiss from your minds as utterly fallacious the numerous anonymous statements as to recent changes stated to have been made in the police force of a character not conducive to efficiency.
It is stated that the Reverend Danial Greatrex announced to you that one great cause of police inefficiency was a new system of police, whereby constables were constantly changed from one district to another, keeping them ignorant of their beats. I have seen this statement made frequently in the newspapers lately, but it is entirely without foundation. the system at presnt in use has existed for the last twenty years, and constables are seldom or never drafted from their districts except for promotion or for some particular cause.
Notwithstanding the many good reasons why constable should be changed on their beats, I have considered the reasons on the other side to be more cogent, and have felt that they should be thoroughly acquainted with the districts in which they serve.
And with regard to our detective department, a department relative to which reticence is always most desirable, I may say that a short time ago I made arrangements which still further reduced the necessity for transferring officers from districts which they knew thoroughly.
I have to call attention to the statement of one of your members, that in consequence of the change in the condition of Whitechapel in recent years, a thorough revision of the police arrangements is necessary, and I shall be very glad to ascertain from you what changes your board consider advisable, and I may assure you that your proposals will receive from me every consideration.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Charles Warren.
Metropolitan Police Office
4 Whitehall place
October 3, 1888.
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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1174
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 3:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Re: the above letter. I have been trying to find the location of the Whitechapel Board of Works> Its location is interesting in that it backs onto George Yard and was just a stone's throw from the site of the murder of Emma Smith. In the plan below, 1 is the site of the Smith murder and 2 is the site of the Tabram murder in George Yard

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Natalie Severn
Chief Inspector
Username: Severn

Post Number: 699
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 6:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thankyou for this Chris,Tomorrow i am going to study it carefully because I have begun to think that both were possibly ripper victims.Again many thanks

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