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

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  #291  
Old 08-15-2017, 12:42 AM
John G John G is offline
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Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post
I have never said that "the Code should be read literally". I have said on countless times that Mizen was not told by the carmen that the Nichols case was a criminal case, therefore he could not possibly have known that the Nichols case was a criminal case and the Code was not written for psychic police officers.



I have never at any time insisted that the Code should be given "a literal interpretation". It was you who introduced that concept. The Code should just be read in normal English, in which language it has a plain and simple meaning.



The premise of that sentence is mistaken because you have evidently misunderstood my opinion.
Okay, if you accept the Code shouldn't be read literally then there can be a number of opinions as to how it should be interpreted.

Your interpretation is that this was not a "criminal case", for the purposes of the Code, because PC Mizen had not been told it was a criminal case.

However, I would still maintain that is a flawed argument as it could lead to absurd results.

Thus, hypothetically PC Mizen is informed by a witness that an assault has taken place. Your interpretation means this is now a criminal case and particulars should be taken. However, when Mizen investigates he discovers that the witness has got the wrong end of the stick, it was just a couple of people larking about, so not a criminal case after all and particulars did not need to be taken.

Or a drunk approaches him and gives a rambling account which involves being witness to a murder. Mizen questions the drunk and determines he's talking complete nonsense. Nonetheless, based upon your interpretation of the Code this is still a criminal case.

That's why I still maintain that it could not have been intended to define a criminal case simply on the basis of a witness saying or intimating it was thus.

In order for the Code to have efficacy an officer must have been expected to exercise sensible judgement in deciding whether to take particulars. And simply because a witness says that he's seen a woman lying down, possibly dead, rather than, say, lying down, therefore maybe the victim of an assault or murder, or perhaps an accident, doesn't seem to be a sensible reason not to take particulars.

Particularly when Mizen' s superiors might elect to apply the Code literally, i e . Nichols was murdered, therefore a criminal case, therefore Mizen should, under a strict interpretation of the Code, have taken particulars.
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  #292  
Old 08-15-2017, 01:11 AM
Elamarna Elamarna is offline
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Originally Posted by drstrange169 View Post
Just catching up, with street names, the one that interests me is Cross's claim in the Morning Advertiser,

"I went down Parson street, crossed Brady street, and through Buck's row."

No Parson in the area, ever, as far as I can tell.

Closest is Pereira Street, next to Foster. It was called Park Street, Park Street/ Parson could be a mishearing.

What intrigues me is the term, "I went down", On the map Pereira would be consistant with "down", but, of course, "down" can mean along! I've checked if Cross describes going "down" Buck's Row, he doesn't.

So, all in all I'm wondering if he did, in fact, go down Pereira?
Hi Dusty

I touched on that issue in part 1. Its my route #3.
It's of course possible he went this way, but it's far from the fastest route he could have used and one of the least direct.

probably just completely misheard and reported as was Mizen's Campbell street.

Steve
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  #293  
Old 08-15-2017, 01:12 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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John, you seem to be utterly obsessed with the idea of people "larking about" and giving false reports of criminal offences to police officers.

I'm sure the Code wasn't drafted with that in mind but it doesn't matter. When a criminal offence is reported he takes down the particulars and he is following the Code. There is nothing absurd about it.

If he is certain that there is in reality no criminal offence then he (obviously) doesn't need to take particulars but it's a risk if there turns out to be one and he hasn't followed the Code.

But that's the type of risk that faces all police officers all the time. People DO falsely report crimes today and we know that this has led to massive police investigations, huge waste of public money, and all because the police can't now be seen to ignore or dismiss any reports of offences, especially sexual ones. So yes strict rules CAN lead to absurd results but in 1888 all the constable had to do was take the particulars when a crime was reported to him.

When Mizen was approached by the two carmen no crime was reported, so no particulars. I refer you to Pierre in this respect.
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  #294  
Old 08-15-2017, 12:41 PM
Pierre Pierre is offline
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[quote=John G;425553]

Quote:
Okay, if you accept the Code shouldn't be read literally then there can be a number of opinions as to how it should be interpreted.

Your interpretation is that this was not a "criminal case", for the purposes of the Code, because PC Mizen had not been told it was a criminal case.

However, I would still maintain that is a flawed argument as it could lead to absurd results.

Thus, hypothetically PC Mizen is informed by a witness that an assault has taken place.

Your interpretation means this is now a criminal case and particulars should be taken. However, when Mizen investigates he discovers that the witness has got the wrong end of the stick, it was just a couple of people larking about, so not a criminal case after all and particulars did not need to be taken.

Or a drunk approaches him and gives a rambling account which involves being witness to a murder. Mizen questions the drunk and determines he's talking complete nonsense. Nonetheless, based upon your interpretation of the Code this is still a criminal case.

That's why I still maintain that it could not have been intended to define a criminal case simply on the basis of a witness saying or intimating it was thus.

In order for the Code to have efficacy an officer must have been expected to exercise sensible judgement in deciding whether to take particulars. And simply because a witness says that he's seen a woman lying down, possibly dead, rather than, say, lying down, therefore maybe the victim of an assault or murder, or perhaps an accident, doesn't seem to be a sensible reason not to take particulars.

Particularly when Mizen' s superiors might elect to apply the Code literally, i e . Nichols was murdered, therefore a criminal case, therefore Mizen should, under a strict interpretation of the Code, have taken particulars.
Murder was a rare cause of death in Whitechapel in 1888.

Pierre
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  #295  
Old 08-15-2017, 06:13 PM
harry harry is online now
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Pierre,
I am sure that it was also very rare for a policeman to be approached,about 3.45am,and informed that a woman might be lying dead in a public place.Rare enough,that he should consider it important to extract the names of those reporting such an incident,and enter those names in his notebook.
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  #296  
Old 08-16-2017, 12:42 AM
John G John G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post
John, you seem to be utterly obsessed with the idea of people "larking about" and giving false reports of criminal offences to police officers.

I'm sure the Code wasn't drafted with that in mind but it doesn't matter. When a criminal offence is reported he takes down the particulars and he is following the Code. There is nothing absurd about it.

If he is certain that there is in reality no criminal offence then he (obviously) doesn't need to take particulars but it's a risk if there turns out to be one and he hasn't followed the Code.

But that's the type of risk that faces all police officers all the time. People DO falsely report crimes today and we know that this has led to massive police investigations, huge waste of public money, and all because the police can't now be seen to ignore or dismiss any reports of offences, especially sexual ones. So yes strict rules CAN lead to absurd results but in 1888 all the constable had to do was take the particulars when a crime was reported to him.

When Mizen was approached by the two carmen no crime was reported, so no particulars. I refer you to Pierre in this respect.
Hello David,

I think your missing a very important point. This was clearly a high profile case, and as Steve has pointed out at least one newspaper was highly critical of Mizen.

In such circumstances Mizen's superiors could potentially have elected to throw him to the wolves, so to speak, by applying the Code literally, and under a strict interpretation he was certainly guilty of misconduct, whether he had been negligent or not.

If he was acutely aware of this he may well have been motivated to be somewhat economical with the truth when informing the inquest what Cross had reported.

And I don't accept that an officer was expected to be little more than a bystander in these cases; nor do I accept that it was intended that members of the public should be the final determinater of what constituted an accident or criminal case.

No; an officer must surely have been expected to exercise his judgement in a sensible way after interviewing the witness. For instance, what about situation where a witness informs an officer, "there's a woman lying, possibly dead. Maybe she was a victim of an assault or an accident. Who knows?"?

Considering the fact that the Code, on the face of it, imposes a strict liability, I would have thought a prudent officer would take particulars in every case where an accident and crime may potentially have occurred.

Last edited by John G : 08-16-2017 at 12:48 AM.
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  #297  
Old 08-16-2017, 01:42 AM
Pierre Pierre is offline
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[quote=John G;425758]

Quote:
Hello David,

I think your missing a very important point. This was clearly a high profile case, and as Steve has pointed out at least one newspaper was highly critical of Mizen.

In such circumstances Mizen's superiors could potentially have elected to throw him to the wolves, so to speak, by applying the Code literally, and under a strict interpretation he was certainly guilty of misconduct, whether he had been negligent or not.
Allow me.

1. This was clearly NOT a "high profile case" 31 August when Cross spoke to Mizen. So David is not missing anything.

It was a simple case of Mizen being wanted by a policeman in Buck´s Row where a woman was lying dead or drunk. No crime. Nothing extraordinay in Whitechapel. Just the thing the police had to handle every day. Normality.

The rest came AFTER that.

2. "...at least one newspaper was highly critical of Mizen": The newspapers, be it their journalists or the people they interviewed, in this case Paul, was "highly critical" of many things.

Quote:
If he was acutely aware of this he may well have been motivated to be somewhat economical with the truth when informing the inquest what Cross had reported.
Mizen had not any reason for being "acutely aware" of the following when he spoke with Cross:

throat cuts
abdomen cuts

Tell me John: Were these cuts pictured in his head when he spoke to Cross or were they not?


Quote:
And I don't accept that an officer was expected to be little more than a bystander in these cases;
It is nowhere in the Code that "an officer is expected to be little more than a bystander in these cases, i.e. the cases where some woman lying on the street is reported as lying there, being dead or drunk."

It is in the Code that he shall take particulars if a crime has been committed or is reported?

Quote:
nor do I accept that it was intended that members of the public should be the final determinater of what constituted an accident or criminal case.
This idea is an idea from our own time. The critical grand idea that "the public should be" "the final"" (!!!) determinator is hyperbolic and perhaps serves your purpose to criticize Mizen from some democratic point of view or a feeling of general justice, but it was really just a simple matter of reporting particulars when a crime had occured in 1888.

Quote:
No; an officer must surely have been expected to exercise his judgement in a sensible way after interviewing the witness.
Indeed, and so he did.

Quote:
For instance, what about situation where a witness informs an officer, "there's a woman lying, possibly dead. Maybe she was a victim of an assault or an accident. Who knows?"?
Exactly. And since noone knew that, there was no activation of the rule of taking particulars.

Quote:
Considering the fact that the Code, on the face of it, imposes a strict liability, I would have thought a prudent officer would take particulars in every case where an accident and crime may potentially have occurred.
And I refer you to David: Mizen was not psychic, so the phrase "potentially" is not relevant.

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  #298  
Old 08-16-2017, 01:50 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John G View Post
I think your missing a very important point. This was clearly a high profile case, and as Steve has pointed out at least one newspaper was highly critical of Mizen.
I'm not missing anything John. I assume you are referring to the LWN report of 2 September. That was not a newspaper being "highly critical" of Mizen, it was Paul criticising him for continuing to knock up. No-one was criticizing Mizen for not taking any particulars. As I've said, this is a modern obsession not a contemporary criticism. And it is a modern obsession based on a misunderstanding of what constables were required to do.
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  #299  
Old 08-16-2017, 01:57 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Originally Posted by John G View Post
Considering the fact that the Code, on the face of it, imposes a strict liability, I would have thought a prudent officer would take particulars in every case where an accident and crime may potentially have occurred.
But what validity do your thoughts have John? Can you give me any examples of police constables from the 19th century taking particulars in such circumstances, just in case an accident or crime "may potentially have occurred"?

I'm sure you can't and you must be wrong. If the Code had wanted constables to take particulars in every case where a crime or accident "may potentially have occurred" it would have said so. That it makes no requirement means that you must be wrong.

Of course, had it made such a requirement it would have made no sense because in effect it would have required a Constable to take particulars on every almost single occasion he spoke to a member of the public. One minute you are going on about the absurdity of taking particulars when someone is drunk or larking about, the next minute you tell me with a straight face that a constable needs to take particulars just case a crime "may potentially have occurred", thus imposing an impossible burden which the drafters of the Code cannot possibly have intended and which Mizen's superiors, or the public, cannot possibly have expected him to carry.
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  #300  
Old 08-16-2017, 02:01 AM
Elamarna Elamarna is offline
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It seems we are debating should and could.

And the answers are clear I believe.

Should Mizen have taken names?

No absolute need to, in the circumstances it was not a requirement.
If sent by another officer, that officer should have taken details.
If not, well as David and Pierre have said he was not informed of a crime.


Could Mizen have taken the names?

Of course he could have, and it may have beeb sensible to have done so, has John suggested, if he intended to respond to the incident, but there was no need to.

And there is no evidence to suggest that he would be unduly critised for not doing so.


Steve

Last edited by Elamarna : 08-16-2017 at 02:04 AM.
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