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Chief Insp. Swanson, and his assignment at Central Office.

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  • Chief Insp. Swanson, and his assignment at Central Office.

    I wonder if anyone with insight might be able to clarify just what the parameters of Swanson's responsibilities may have been after Warren assigned him to be responsible for "the whole Central Office work", from 15th Sept. 1888.

    My first query is, does this mean that he is expected to read and access every report coming in from all the Met. divisions across London, as well as all the C.I.D. offices (desks?) within those divisions?

    On the other hand, possibly a more practical expectation is to just be responsible for reports and communication relative to the Whitechapel murder investigation which pass through Central Office, but if so, who determines what is relevant and what is not, before it reached Swanson?

    Thankyou.
    Regards, Jon S.
    "
    The theory that the murderer is a lunatic is dispelled by the opinion given to the police by an expert in the treatment of lunacy patients......."If he's insane
    " observed the medical authority, "he's a good deal sharper than those who are not".
    Reynolds Newspaper, 4 Nov. 1888.

  • #2
    Hi Jon

    As I understand it, Swanson was the controlling hand in the investigation in the Whitechapel murders and not just a rubber stamp or desk jockey. Thus I should expect that he himself determined what he would see, and that his subordinates were instructed to make sure that he saw every report.

    I hope this helps.

    All the best

    Chris
    Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
    https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

    Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
    Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

    Comment


    • #3
      Jon:

      I'd like to add the fact that Swanson interviewed J.T. Sadler, personally, in 1891.
      He was quoted as saying that the Ripper was dead in 1895 (Pall Mall Gazette, May 7, 1895)...that he would be approached at that time seems to say that he was head honcho.

      In 1896, when the last of the letters we have at our disposal which was allegedly sent by "Jack The Ripper" reached Scotland Yard, he requested a report from Inspector Henry Moore about the missive.

      Not sure if these are the things you are seeking, buddy....but just in case.
      To Join JTR Forums :
      Contact [email protected]

      Comment


      • #4
        Thankyou Chris, Howard.

        We know Warren chose Swanson to handle all the communications concerning the murders, and to be "the eyes and ears of the Commissioner".

        That being the case I had to wonder who decided which communications were murder related, and which were not, and who filtered these out from the considerable mass of daily reports & frequent communications coming in from the 22 divisions across London?

        One circumstance that sparked my query is the case of Joseph Isaacs, who was wanted in connection with the murders from about the 10/11th Nov. and yet, Isaacs was apparently arrested over this weekend and appeared in Court at Barnett ('S' Division?) on the 12th, and was subsequently sent down for 30 days.
        Yet, Abberline apparently knew nothing about this, which suggests neither did Swanson.

        Which caused me then to question whether Swanson was expected to handle all reports & communications for the entire divisions, or whether there were limits not detailed within Warrens initial communique.
        Regards, Jon S.
        "
        The theory that the murderer is a lunatic is dispelled by the opinion given to the police by an expert in the treatment of lunacy patients......."If he's insane
        " observed the medical authority, "he's a good deal sharper than those who are not".
        Reynolds Newspaper, 4 Nov. 1888.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Jon,

          The last paragraph in Warren's memo reiterates the responsibility in question:

          Every document, letter received, or telegram on the subject should go to his room before being directed, & he should be responsible for its being directed when necessary. This is [to] avoid the possibility of documents being delayed or action retarded. -The Ultimate JTR - Evans and Skinner

          What couldn't be foreseen at that time was how enormous this investigation would become and what had to be a plethora of suspects to assimilate files on and keep up with.

          Basically, it appears Isaacs slipped through the cracks; the officials at Barnett not knowing he was being sought at H Division. I believe it is more than coincidence that after this, in January, a directive was apparently sent out to all divisions to send reports of any suspects detained within their jurisdictions - as evidenced in the missing suspects files chapter in the Ultimate JTR.
          Best Wishes,
          Cris Malone
          ______________________________________________
          "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

          Comment


          • #6
            lack of information

            Hello Cris. Good observation.

            "Basically, it appears Isaacs slipped through the cracks. . ."

            So Swanson lacked information on this person?

            Interesting.

            Cheers.
            LC

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Lynn,

              Either Abberline didn't forward the information on to Swanson, or Swanson received it and didn't distribute a memo to other divisions and/or jurisdictions to 'be on the lookout' for this particular individual.

              Events moved so quickly from Sept. through Nov. that something like this was bound to happen. Swanson was sometimes working 18 hour days, seven days a week from Sept. through Dec. dealing with an investigation that had expanded to the Thames Division checking dock records to coordinating with the City officials and their investigation.

              Once they got some breathing room, they appear to have tried to coordinate the various divisions more effectively in January. Hence, all of these sudden reports on January 18th and 19th from A, G and other divisions regarding who they had investigated.
              Best Wishes,
              Cris Malone
              ______________________________________________
              "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cris Malone View Post
                Hi Jon,

                The last paragraph in Warren's memo reiterates the responsibility in question:

                Every document, letter received, or telegram on the subject should go to his room before being directed, & he should be responsible for its being directed when necessary. This is [to] avoid the possibility of documents being delayed or action retarded. -The Ultimate JTR - Evans and Skinner

                What couldn't be foreseen at that time was how enormous this investigation would become and what had to be a plethora of suspects to assimilate files on and keep up with.

                Basically, it appears Isaacs slipped through the cracks; the officials at Barnett not knowing he was being sought at H Division. I believe it is more than coincidence that after this, in January, a directive was apparently sent out to all divisions to send reports of any suspects detained within their jurisdictions - as evidenced in the missing suspects files chapter in the Ultimate JTR.
                Hello Cris et al.

                Yes we can see today how complex the investigation was just in terms of the number of suspects, the documents relating to each murder, the witness statements, inquest testimonies, etc., etc. It's a situation in which it's very hard to see the wood for the trees, particularly for one man to try to sort it all out and make sense of it. A lot of what was seen undoubtedly amounted to red herrings and false leads which make it little wonder that apparently little was able to be done to determine who Jack could have been, the possibility that Swanson/Anderson were right -- that it was Kosminski, or Macnaghten correct that Druitt did the deeds, notwithstanding.

                All the best

                Chris
                Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

                Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Indeed, Chris.

                  Scotland Yard had never dealt with something on such a rapidly escalating scale before (including the bombings) let alone the unique aspect of this series of murders.

                  Warren was actually a brilliant organizer, despite the controversy with Monro over command and control of CID. His military background had taught him the vital importance of communication and quick response during a crisis. And his memo appointing Swanson is clear as to what he was trying to achieve. Warren hoped that it would be a model in the future.

                  Although many of the internal communications are missing from the investigations of the 1888 murders, the remaining files on the Pinchin St. Torso investigation are quite extensive. If one desires to get an idea of how CID operated during the Whitechapel murders, a reading of that chapter in the "Ultimate" is very revealing.
                  Best Wishes,
                  Cris Malone
                  ______________________________________________
                  "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    bound to happen

                    Hello Cris. Thanks.

                    "Events moved so quickly from Sept. through Nov. that something like this was bound to happen."

                    I have to agree. There were so many suspects and "confessions" both.

                    Cheers.
                    LC

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thankyou gentlemen for all your input.

                      Warren does make particular reference to 'the murders', and we know not all the divisions were involved in 'the murders'.

                      Warren: "I would not send any directions anywhere on the subject of the murders without consulting him..".

                      He also write, "the whole Central Office work in this case..." - ie; the Whitechapel murder case, not the whole Central Office operation.

                      Warren also points out, "I find that a most important letter was sent to Divn. yesterday without his seeing it".

                      Which division?
                      It is as if Warren is so focused on the Whitechapel murders being the responsibility of 'H' Division & Scotland Yard that he forgets to identify the particular division, is it assumed by everybody concerned?


                      The thought has occurred to me that possibly Swanson's responsibility was limited to all communications, reports, telegraphs, etc. only between 'H' Division and Central Office.
                      This would be a much more manageable assignment, rather than every communication, report, telegraph across all 22 divisions.
                      Regards, Jon S.
                      "
                      The theory that the murderer is a lunatic is dispelled by the opinion given to the police by an expert in the treatment of lunacy patients......."If he's insane
                      " observed the medical authority, "he's a good deal sharper than those who are not".
                      Reynolds Newspaper, 4 Nov. 1888.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Swanson was responsible for all communications involving the investigation. Even a division superintendent had to submit any queries or reports made by him to Swanson's office, as is noted in the reports on the Pinchin St. torso investigation.
                        Best Wishes,
                        Cris Malone
                        ______________________________________________
                        "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

                        Comment

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