Many wonder why the police never managed to catch Jack the Ripper and the metropolitan police were criticized by various magazines including punch who published an image of men playing blinds man’s bluff with the words ‘turn around three times and catch whom you may!’ printed at the bottom. This satirical image was used to humour the public through the dark days of 1888.
At the time, the metropolitan police were poorly paid and worked excessively long hours. For those police forces that weren’t local, finding their way around the complex streets of East End London proved to be a difficult task alongside the fact that local people were occasionally hostile and reluctant to co-operate with the police.
Criminal activity in the east end of London in 1888 normally consisted of petty offences which involved public drunkenness or disorder, however the reputation that was built up of the East End terrified police to the point where they decided to go in pairs to a crime scene. All districts were divided into timed beats accompanied by fixed routes which meant in basic terms that no matter where an incident or a victim was, the police would always be close by.
A lot of time during the investigation, the police were following leads and trying to decode and differentiate real letters from hoax letters as well as experimenting with various bloodhounds to try and track down the murderer. Unfortunately, forensic science had not yet been invented so the police could do very little more than interview several witnesses, observe the evidence and flood the district with police officers for a small portion of hope that the metropolitan police force could catch this malicious serial killer.
Although suspects were identified, both abroad and in Britain, the police never found enough reliable evidence to uncover the true identity of Jack the Ripper. The most common suspects consisted of surgeons, butchers and medical students as well as various members of the local Jewish community.
If you’d like to find out more about the story of this ruthless killer, then come and join us on the Jack the Ripper tour for a mind-blowing, heart-racing experience that will put you right back into 1888.