19 October 1888
At the heart of the London police system the City Police presents upon the whole, perhaps, the best service of the kind - certainly one of the very best - in the kingdom. It consists of close upon 900 men, picked for their stalwart proportions, their respectability of character, and their general intelligence. They get slightly better pay than the metropolitan police; and as their recruiting is, of course, on a much smaller scale than that of Scotland yard, they are able to be more fastidious in their choice. When it is stated that since the beginning of the present year they have had 450 applications for employment in the force, and that the vacancies to be filled were under 20, it will be easily understood that Sir James Fraser is in a position to set up a high standard for the service. A man who has been accepted for the City Police has a right to congratulate himself on a good constitution, sound health, and unexceptionable character. There is no very formal educational test, but the Chief Superintendent, Major Smith, sees every man personally, and from his style of filling up papers, his answers to verbal questions, and from the antecedents and character of the candidate judges of his fitness for the service. It is said that the Chief Superintendent who thus passes every man individually into the force retains a personal and individual knowledge of him, a knowledge which it is easy to conceive must be capable of exerting an immense influence on the morale of the City Police. At the outset of his policemanship each man goes through just sufficient drill to enable him to march with his comrades, nothing further. Experience has shown that a man who has once learned to do this does not need periodical drilling to keep it up, and beyond the capability of moving if required in military formation it has never been thought necessary to give the drill and discipline of soldiers to City policemen. Nevertheless, as everybody knows, Sir James Fraser's men have to take their fair share in the management of London mobs, and have generally proved themselves thoroughly competent and efficient. The general organization of the City Police is pretty much the same as that of Scotland yard. They have practically only one "division," if that is an allowable expression, instead of two and twenty, and hence City policemen have numbers only and not letters on their collars. But they have, besides headquarters in Old Jewry, six stations in different parts of their jurisdiction, and except that there are no chief constables in the City force, the ranks are pretty much the same in both. There are two points in which the City has distinct advantage over Scotland yard. One is that in the City they have an admirable hospital for such of their men as are sick or injured. It would be unfair to bring a general charge of a tendency to malinger against the metropolitan police; but the men on sick leave constitute at all times an important percentage of Sir Charles Warren's men, and it is not unfair to assume that Dr. Brown, of the City Police, can be a good deal surer of the actual condition of his invalids when he has got them safely under keeping in the Bishopsgate street Infirmary, than the chief surgeon of the metropolitan police can possibly be when they have to be relegated to their own houses for medical treatment. It is a somewhat remarkable fact that out of nearly 900 City police there were yesterday in hospital only three. Another, and a far more important advantage the Old Jewry has over Scotland yard is, of course, the shortness of the beats that have to be patrolled. There is not a round in the City that a policeman should not get over in about fifteen minutes, while many of them can be patrolled three or four times in that period.
This is a fatal difficulty with the metropolitan men, and it would still be a difficulty if their numbers were doubled. Their jurisdiction, as most persons are aware, extends for about fifteen miles in all directions from Charing cross, and comprises nearly 700 square miles - 688.31, to be exact. It extends from Colney Heath, Hertfordshire, in the north, to Todworth Heath in the south, and from Lark Hall, Essex, in the east, to Staines Moor in the west. All the outer divisions are country districts, in which the beats are miles long, and have to be patrolled by mounted men. The recently issued report of the Chief Commissioner shows that for the whole of the 688 square miles within the metropolitan area only 1,537 are ordinarily available for day duty. Of course the beats are shortest and the constables are thickest on the ground in the central parts of London, so that in some of the outlying roads within the metropolitan area the appearance of a policeman is quite unusual, and the patrol really little better than a farce. Nevertheless, these outlying regions, which in many cases have little more to do with London than they have with Liverpool, take a certain number of men, and occupy a certain amount of the time and attention of Scotland yard. As it was recently urged in these columns, the proper remedy for all this is obviously not to attempt to make such an addition to the force as will render it possible effectively to manage the whole of this great area from Scotland yard, but to decentralize and to hand over local policemanship to local bodies.
The whole metropolitan police area is parcelled out into twenty two divisions. Supreme over all, and directly responsible to Parliament, is, if course, the Home Secretary. Next come "the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis," supported by three Assistant Commissioners, one charged with the administration and discipline of the whole force, another with civil business, and the third with criminal investigation. The twenty two divisions are grouped into four districts - East, West, North, and South. At the head of each is a chief constable, three of whom are military officers, whose principal functions would appear to be to draw salaries ranging from £625 to £800 a year, and to present to Scotland yard annually the reports of the divisional superintendents, with a brief and dignified preface, couched in optimistic terms and occasionally embodying practical suggestions of a remarkably astute and valuable character. Lieutenant Colonel Monsell, chief constable of the Eastern District, for instance, has one such suggestion shining forth in isolated brilliancy from his annual report of sixteen lines. He thinks that a "check should be put on the introduction and use of those covered carts in which the driver is under cover and absolutely incapable of seeing anything on the right or left hand." It is a valuable suggestion, undoubtedly; but it seems rather dear at £625. Next in rank beneath the chief constable is a superintendent in each division. This is the real local head, and probably if all of the twenty two superintendents could be got to express their private opinions of the practical utility of chief constables, it would be found by general consent to consist in the fact that the post presents a possible reward of superintendent virtue. As three out of the four of these exalted functionaries, however, have never been practical policemen, but have steeped straight from the army into their chief constableships, even this practical utility must strike many superintendents as somewhat slight and doubtful. The superintendent is at the head of the division, with a chief inspector as his factotum and locum tenens in his absence. Each division comprises so many sub divisions in charge of inspectors, and each sub division is again partitioned into a number of sections with a sergeant in charge of a small body of constables patrolling clearly marked beats.
"The method of working beats," says the Police Code, "must be frequently changed, and the police must be careful not to allow evil disposed persons to ascertain the system of working and the consequent hour of absence from a given spot. The beat should be walked over at about two and a half miles an hour; and in towns, constables on day duty should keep near the curbstone, and by night next the house." All persons are to be closely observed so to recognise and advertised for apprehension in the Police Gazette ot Police Information, and if any such are met they are to be stopped and questioned. Policemen must not loiter or gossip; the must move smartly and not slouch or look slovenly; they must answer all questions with civility and good temper; they must act quietly and discreetly, not interfering unnecessarily, but when need arises, showing firmness and discretion. "Above all, ladies, foreigners, and strangers should be treated with civility." The caution against allowing the system of beat duty to be known refers, of course, simply to the way in which beats are patrolled. It is not always to be done in the same way. A man must go first in one direction and then in another, so as to avoid any regularity of time. The same constable marches round a beat for a month, and then is moved on to another beat in the same section for another month. Thus he patrols the whole of his subdivision in course of time, and then comes back to begin over again, unless for any special reason he should be removed elsewhere, which is not usual except in the case of promotion to the rank of sergeant when he invariably goes to another division.
These are just the broad outlines on which the uniformed police force of London is managed, and what we have here given, taken in connection with what recently appeared in these columns on the detective police, may serve perhaps to assist the public in understanding the consideration of police matters which as it would seem must quite inevitably be undertaken very shortly.
SUPPOSED IMPORTANT ARREST
A REMARKABLE STORY
The City Police have under observation a man whose movements in Whitechapel, Mile End, and Bermondsey are attended with suspicion. A man, who is said to be an American, was arrested in Bermondsey at one o'clock yesterday morning, and taken to the police station. His conduct, demeanour, and appearance gave rise to great suspicion, and his apprehension and general particulars were wired to the City police. Following this a conference took place yesterday afternoon between a young man named John Lardy, of Redman's row, Mile end, and the head of the detective department at the Old Jewry, at which he stated as follows: "At 10.30 last night I was with a friend and a young woman outside the Grave Maurice tavern, opposite the London Hospital, when I noticed a man whom I had never seen before come across the road, look into each compartment of the tavern, and enter the house. He came out again directly, and carefully looked up and down the road, and then walked over the road to the front of the hospital, where two women were standing talking. They were, I believe, loose women. The man said something to them, but I did not hear his words. The women shook their heads and said, "No." I said to my friend, "What a funny looking man! I wonder if he is the murderer." My friend replied, "Let us follow him." We said good night to our friend and followed the man. When opposite the Pavilion Theatre he drew himself up in an instant, and carefully looked round. We believe that he saw us following him, and he disappeared into a doorway. We stopped for a moment or two, and he came out of his hiding place and went into a newspaper shop next door. During the whole time we saw him his right hand was in his overcoat pocket, apparently clutching something. He bought a paper at the shop, and folded it up on his chest with his left hand, and then left the shop, looking up and down the road as he did so, and carefully reading the placards outside the shop window. He afterwards started off towards Aldgate, and we followed him. When he got to the corner of Duke street (the street leading to Mitre square) he turned, and, seeing that we were following him, recrossed the road and walked back to Leman street and went down it. When he reached Royal Mint street he went into King street, which is very narrow, and my friend and I ran round to the other end of the street, hoping to see him come out there. Just as we got to the other end of King street we heard a door close, and we waited to see if the man reopened it, for we felt sure that he was the man, although we had not seen him go into the house. We both waited for 25 minutes, when we saw the same man come out of the house. He came up the street, and we stepped back and allowed him to pass, and he went in the direction of the Whitechapel road. He went away so quickly that we lost sight of him in the fog, which was then very thick. The time then was just after 12. When he reappeared from the house we noticed that he was very differently dressed to what he was when we first saw him, the most noticeable being his overcoat. At first he was wearing a sort of short frock coat reaching his knees only, but when he came out of the house in King street he had on a large overcoat which reached to within three inches of the ground. From what I could see he appeared to be between forty and forty five years of age, and from 5ft 11in to 6ft high. (A man 5ft 11in was placed before Lardy, who said, "My man was a little taller than you.") He wore a low hat with a square crown, but I cannot describe either his trousers or boots. He had the appearance of an American. His cheek bones were high and prominent, his face thin, cheeks sunken, and he had a moustache only, his cheeks and chin being clean shaven. The moustache was, I believe, a false one, for it was all awry, one end pointing upward, and the other towards the ground. His hair was dark, apparently black, and somewhat long."
From what has since some to the knowledge of the police it is inferred that on leaving King street, the stranger made his way over London Bridge into Bermondsey, where he was apprehended, and there is no doubt that the description of the Bermondsey and King street men tally in nearly every particular.
The Press Association says: From inquiries made at Mile end, we are enabled to give particulars on the most reliable authority concerning the receipt of certain letters and a parcel at the house of a member of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. A letter, delivered shortly after five o'clock on Tuesday evening, was accompanied by a cardboard box containing what appeared to be a portion of a kidney. The letter was in the following terms: "From Hell - Mr. Lusk - Sir, I send you half the kidne I took from one woman. Prasarved it for you. Other piece I fried and ate; it was very nice. I may send you the bloody knife that took it out, if you wate whil longer. (Signed) Catch Me When You Can, Mr. Lusk." The receiver was at first disposed to think that a hoax had been perpetrated, but eventually decided to take the opinion of the Vigilance Committee. Mr. F.S. Reed, who is assistant to Dr. Wiles, yesterday examined the contents of the box in the presence of several members of the committee, and declared the substance to be the half of a human kidney, which had been divided longitudinally; but in order to remove any reason for doubt, he conveyed it to Dr. Openshaw, who is Pathological Curator of the London Hospital Museum. The doctor examined it, and pronounced it to be a portion of a human kidney - a "ginny" kidney - that is to say, one that had belonged to a person who had drunk heavily. He was further of opinion that it was the organ of a woman of about forty five years of age, and that it had been taken from the body within the last three weeks. It will be within public recollection that the left kidney was missing from the woman Eddowes, who was murdered and mutilated in Mitre square. Yesterday two members of the committee took the parcel to Scotland yard, but the police authorities there referred them to the detectives at Leman street. At the latter place the officer who is directing inquiries took down the statement of the receiver. The box and its contents were left in the care of the police pending further investigations.
The following memorial, signed by upwards of 200 traders of Whitechapel, has been sent to the Home Secretary, through Mr. S. Montagu, M.P.:-
"We, the undersigned, traders in Whitechapel, respectfully submit for you consideration the position in which we are placed in consequence of the recent murders in our district and its vicinity. For some years past we have been painfully aware that the protection afforded by the police has not kept pace with the increase of population in Whitechapel. Acts of violence and of robbery have been committed in this neighbourhood almost with impunity, owing to the existing police regulations and the insufficiency of the number of officers. The universal feeling prevalent in our midst is that the Government no longer ensures the security of life and property in the East of London, and that in consequence respectable people fear to go out shopping, thus depriving us of out means of livelihood. We confidently appeal to your sense of justice, and ask that the police of this district be largely increased, in order to remove the feeling of insecurity which is destroying the trade of Whitechapel."
The force of police in private clothes specially selected to make the house to house search in the neighbourhoods of Hanbury street, Commercial street, Dorset street, Goulston street, Buck's row, Brick lane, Osborn street, &c., completed their labours yesterday. They have distributed many thousands of handbills, leaving them in every room in the lodging houses. The greatest good feeling prevails towards the police, and noticeably in the most squalid dwellings the police had no difficulty in getting information; but not the slightest clue to the murderer has been obtained. Another man was arrested yesterday on Whitechapel by the police on suspicion of being concerned in the East end murders. He is about 35 years of age, and has recently been living in Whitechapel. He was somewhat confused in his statements respecting his whereabouts lately, and was detained pending inquiries. At the adjourned inquest on Elizabeth Stride, who was murdered in Berner street, a nephew of the deceased will be called who will set satisfactorily at rest the woman's identity.
At the Guildhall Police Court yesterday afternoon, Benjamin Graham, 42, glassblower, of Fletcher's row, Clerkenwell, was charged on his own confession with committing the Whitechapel murders. Detective Rackley stated that about four o'clock on Wednesday afternoon he was at Snow hill police station when the prisoner was brought in by a man, who made a statement to him. He said the prisoner had told him that he had committed the Whitechapel murders. Witness asked him what he had to say, and he replied, "I did kill the woman in Whitechapel, and I shall have to suffer for it with a bit of rope." He afterwards said that as he was coming from Whitechapel he knocked a policeman down and got away. Prisoner, who was under the influence of drink, was seen by a doctor, and then taken to Bow Infirmary. Detective sergeant Bownes asked for a remand to enable the police to make inquiries as to his antecedents. Mr. Alderman Renals remanded him.
This evening the first real effects of the work of the Whitechapel Committee, of which Mr. R.H. Winter and Mr. J.L. Dale are the promoters and hon. secretaries, will be seen in the opening of Harlow House, at 34 Mile end road, as a refuge for women frequenting the East end.
The Lord Mayor requests us to say that he is not responsible for the ridiculous statements attributed to him in the foreign press, and now reproduced in England, in regard to the character of the population and the detection of crime in the metropolis, and that he utterly disclaims having made such statements ot entertaining any such absurd and contemptible opinions.
BALMORAL, Oct. 18.
Yesterday morning the Queen went with her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice to Abergeldie, and took leave of the Princess of Wales, who, with Prince Albert Victor and the three Princesses, left Abergeldie for the South at two o'clock.
Her Majesty, accompanied by Princess Beatrice, and attended by Miss Minnie Cochrane, drove in the afternoon to Braemar, and honoured Lady Cochrane with a visit at Kindrochit.
The Marquis of Lansdowne had the honour of dining with the Queen and the Royal family. Viscount Cross, G.C.B., has left the Castle.
We publish this morning an account of some of the principal features in the organization of the City and Metropolitan Police Forces.
Two hundred of the traders of Whitechapel have, through Mr. S. Montagu M.P., sent a memorial to the Home Secretary, setting forth that the Government no longer ensures the security of life and property in the East of London, and asking for an increase of the police force in that district.
If there had been no Whitechapel murders, the crimes at Tunbridge Wells, of which an account appeared in our impression of yesterday, might have roused the whole country. Nothing more shocking, nor more extraordinary, has been heard of for a long time - always excluding the great exception of the atrocities at the East end. Two youth at Tunbridge, aged seventeen and eighteen, are now under arrest on a confession made by one of them of a most deliberate and shocking murder, and of a series of minor crimes. Some few months ago, a Mr. Lawrence, who occupied a place of trust at the Baltic Saw Mills in Tunbridge, was found shot dead, and until the other day no clue could be obtained to the author of the crime. The police "prosecuted inquiries," with the usual result. The crime was in a fair way of being forgotten when the elder of the youths confessed to an officer of the Salvation Army that he had instigated, and his younger "mate" had committed, the deed. Gower, the elder, worked at the mills, and he had taken offence at some slight punishment inflicted on him by Mr. Lawrence. Dobell, the younger, had, as an act of friendship towards Gower, lured Mr. Lawrence to a lonely spot, and there put a bullet through his brain. The Salvation officer gave information to the police, and the lads were forthwith arrested. Gower had confessed, apparently in the belief that his friend was about to forestall him, and not from any motive of sincere repentance. Once in the hands of justice, he and his friend made a most cynical avowal of a number of other atrocities - robbery, arson, and attempted murder - which, in their mysterious nature, had startled the neighbourhood for some months past. These juvenile monsters seem to have been possessed of a veritable mania fro crime, and, to the last, as they were being removed to gaol, they uttered horrible threats against the life of a bystander in the crowd. Their natural depravity had found a strong stimulus in the penny dreadfuls of one sort or other which were found at their lodgings. The newspaper reports from the East end were not without their share in this deplorable result, for one of the youths, in writing a letter to a local journal descriptive of his exploit, had signed it "Another Whitechapel Murderer."
The letter was shown to the police, but they treated it as a mere hoax. If they had deigned to regard it as worthy of serious consideration, they might surely have run the murderers to earth in the limited area of Tunbridge Wells. These horrors may throw some light on those at Whitechapel, in the evidence they afford that motive in crime is sometimes quite a secondary consideration. Some exceptional natures are evidently born for vice, as others are born for virtue, and the lower ones appear to have an almost irresistible tendency to boast of their deeds. These boys were betrayed by their vanity as evil doers a good deal more than by their penitence. The impulse that led one of them to write the anonymous letter to the newspaper was probably just a shard to resist as the impulse that led him to fire the shot. This reflection will only enhance our admiration of the London police for the care with which they erased the Whitechapel writing on the wall. The readiness of the police to regard every unwonted appearance as a hoax is a hoax in itself - at their own expense, and, unfortunately, also at that of the public. The strangest example of this deplorable tendency was furnished by the well known Wainwright case. The man who gave chase to the cab in which Wainwright was carrying away the putrid remains of his victim had the greatest difficulty in persuading a constable to stop the vehicle. The first officer he addressed absolutely declined to listen to him, and pursued the even tenor of his beat, and of his reflections on hoaxes and on popular delusions, without once casting a look behind. As supplements to their more terrible crime, these young miscreants at Tunbridge Wells had fired three empty houses and several haystacks, and had broken into a house and stolen some caged birds which they afterwards sold. They left a dagger behind them in the house, and on some of their errands of violence they had appeared in public "armed to the teeth." It is impossible that they could have done all this without leaving some clue to their identity to those who know how to follow it up. Clearly, some of the officers at Tunbridge are ripe for promotion to the London force.
An alarming fire broke out at a few minutes to ten on the premises occupied by Messrs. H. Koenisberg and Son, furriers, 25 Commercial street. The building is a three storied one, and at the time of the outbreak about fifty workpeople, mostly males, were on the premises. The workshops are situated on the second and third floor, and, as the fire commenced on the ground floor, their lives were in great peril. The workpeople were first warned by the smell of smoke, and some of the, on running downstairs into the shop, saw the place was on fire. The alarm was quickly passed to the remainder of the inmates, and a mad rush to the stairs at once ensued. The only means of egress was by a small door in an iron shutter, which was drawn down over the front of the shop. This was quickly opened by those who were first to reach the ground floor, and who rushed pell mell into the street crying "Fire!" at the top of their voices. One or two returned and assisted some of the female operatives to escape by the doorway. Only those who made for the staircase at the first alarm were able to escape by this means, the blinding smoke driving back about fifteen or twenty. These clustered at the first floor windows, and uttered piteous cries for help. Aid was soon at hand. The Commercial road Fire Station is but a few hundred yards away, and within the briefest possible time an engine and fire escape were upon the scene. Had there been another minute's delay, some sad fatalities would have had to be recorded. The smoke was so dense that the inmates of the burning house were in momentary danger of being suffocated. The people in the street called out to them to wait for the escape, but just as the ladder appeared at the top of the street, being rapidly wheeled along by firemen, policemen, and others, a young girl named Grace Newson climbed out on to the coping, which is at a height of about 20 feet, and jumped to the ground. She was caught by the crowd, and escaped uninjured. A boy next risked the leap, but he had sufficient presence of mind to let himself hang down from the coping by his hands and then drop. He, too, was safely caught by people standing on the pavement. The escape and detached ladder were quickly put into position, and the firemen rescued the people with great rapidity amidst hearty cheers from the crowd. One fireman walked along the coping carrying a girl and a lad in his arms. Both were nearly unconscious, and as he passed his living burdens on to a comrade on the escape the plucky feat called forth loud expressions of praise from the onlookers. Another girl, evidently half crazy with terror, would not wait to be rescued by the escape, but following the example of Grace Newson, jumped into the street and escaped with a severe shaking, her fall being broken by the arms of people who were standing below. Scarcely had the last of those who were grouped round the windows been rescued ere a large quantity of fur which was stored on the first floor caught alight. The flames rapidly spread, and at a quarter past ten the building was alight from top to bottom, the inflammable nature of the goods stored on the different floors accounting for this. By half past eleven the fire was got under. So far as can be ascertained, all the workpeople escaped with their lives.
The well at the new police buildings at Whitehall, where it was thought some more remains might be found, has been pumped out, but nothing further has been discovered. Dr. Bond, divisional surgeon of the A Division, made a careful examination yesterday, at Millbank street, of the portion of the leg found on Wednesday, and on comparing it with the trunk already in the mortuary, he is of opinion that it belongs to the same body. It is, however, in a better state of preservation, and this is accounted for by the fact that it had been sufficiently covered with earth to exclude the air, whereas the trunk was only wrapped up in a skirt. Dr. Bond is also of opinion that both portions of the body had been lying where found for over six weeks, notwithstanding the statements made by people at the works that they were not there on the Friday or Saturday previous to their discovery, and the fact of the leg being in such good preservation is one point in his argument for holding this opinion.
At an early hour yesterday morning a private trial took place in Preston Park, Brighton, in the presence of a select company of gentlemen, of some bloodhounds now being exhibited at the Brighton Dog Show. The hounds used were Burgho, Babette, and Blueberry, belonging to Mr. Brough, and Buxom, owned by Mr. Craven, but bred and trained by Mr. Brough. Three trials were made, and took place under the personal direction of Mr. Brough. Each was deemed most satisfactory considering the fact that for the past two says the dogs have been on the show benches. In the first trial, which was a short one, Buxom distinguished herself. In the second Burgho and Blueberry were seen to especial advantage, and in the third Babette took up the scent well, notwithstanding that the line was purposely crossed by gentlemen on horseback. In two out of the three trials Councillor Daniels acted as the hunted man.