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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Police Officials and Procedures > General Police Discussion

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Old 04-22-2018, 12:43 PM
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The Station Cat The Station Cat is offline
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Default PC Thompson still making the news two years after his murder....

Found this in the Islington Gazette thought it might be of interest....


FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 1902.
THE COFFEE STALL DANGER.
The circumstances of the manslaughter of Mr Spicer in Eustont Road are so recent that importance is given to a cowardly attack upon two Police Constables at a coffee-stall in Caledonian- road, and for which one man was sent to prison and another was bound over to keep the peace. We hesitate to condemn any good thing because it is misused, and therefore in view of the advantages which the coffee stall offers to the early morning and night workers we are unwilling to condemn it because it. becomes the rendezvous of night prowlers who are professional outlaws or who belong to the rank and file of the homeless Hooligan ready out of pure devilry to engage in any war with peaceful citizens. That it meets a want in the earlier hours of the night is doubtful, for ordinary refreshment houses are open until past midnight, and the majority of early birds in the industrial world do not require breakfast until a much later hour, indeed, until five or six in the morning. It could not be said that a quarter-past three a.m. was a breakfast hour, and it was at that time that Police-constable Wagg approaching a coffee stall in Caledonian-road heard some men say "Here comes a rozzer " (i.e., a policeman). The expression was to say the least aggressive, and the constable had a perfect right to " Move on " men who thus showed their readiness to insult the officer of the peace, more; over they followed up the remark with a cowardly assault upon him, and another constable and a passing citizen who came to their assistance. Both the assailants described themselves as warehousemen who had returned from a holiday outing, and they told a singular story of the constable challenging them in the first instance to fight and one of them " obliging him." Mean- while, as in the Euston-road homicide, there was an absence of testimony from the coffee stall keeper, who ought to have been a good witness. The very fact that these men seldom remember or see anything that passes before their stalls is a presumption in favour of the terrorism that the midnight prowlers exercise over them. The principal assailant in this affray was sent to prison for six months, but his brother, who appeared to be an active partizan, got off with the binding over. Seeing that the licensing law closes even, a harmless fried fish shop at half-past twelve at night, it seems somewhat of an anomally that night birds who are turned out of refreshment houses can go direct to a coffee stall and defeat any intention the Legislature had in making the first restriction. A murder of a policeman in Whitechapel some time ago, the killing of Mr. Spicer since, and innumberable cases of robberies and assaults in the small hours directly arising from coffee stalls ought to raise the question of whether there would be any hardship in restricting the business of the coffee nab—which is a profitable venture that contributes nothing to rates and taxes—to reasonable hours in the early moring when the legitimate workman comes forth to his daily toil? There is no reason why the thief, the prostitute, the roysterers, the hooligan, or even the cabman—who has a regular " shelter" at his command—should be provided with inducements to remain in the streets at unholy hours, and they can make but a poor justification for legitimate refreshment in the first hours of the day. it seems to us that the coffee stall is the remnant of the old days of night houses, and that as the population has become the better for the abolition of those places, so a restriction should be put upon what remains of a bad old custom. Nightly disturbances, and the testimony of the police themselves that most of the people who use coffee stalls in the small hours are the enemies of law and order, should be enough to suggest proper restrictions as to hours sufficient to safeguard the early morning worker who has a right to his humble breakfast and who would in no way be inconvenienced by the prohibition of the sale of refreshments at hours when they can neither be called supper nor breakfast.
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