The Decline Of Scotland Yard

The Decline Of Scotland Yard

  By VennerRoad, 10th Nov 2016

The phrase Scotland Yard was once recognisable worldwide as a term of excellence in the detection of crime. Today, it is a laughing stock.

Undercover police mischief-maker Mark Kennedy.

Scotland Yard - technically New Scotland Yard - is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police. More generically, the phrase alluded to British police detectives, who were undoubtedly the finest in the world. In the old days, these resourceful sleuths pulled off some spectacular successes, especially investigating murders. True, there were those who got away, most notably Jack the Ripper, but let us look at just three cases that were solved before every detective had a computer on his desk, before CCTV monitored our every move, and when no one outside of academe had heard of DNA.

July 1864 saw the first murder on a train; 69 year old Thomas Briggs was beaten to death by Franz Müller on a late night run from Fenchurch Street to Chalk Farm. The crime came to light almost at once, and a hat found at the scene proved to belong to the murderer. The case attracted considerable publicity and a handsome reward; a week after the murder, Müller was identified, but by this time he had boarded a ship for New York. Scotland Yard detectives boarded a faster ship and met him as he disembarked, walking towards a new life. Extradited to England, he stood trial, was convicted, and hanged outside Newgate Prison, one of the last public executions in this country.

By contrast, in March 1988, a young woman named Debbie Linsey was found murdered on an Orpington train after it arrived at London’s Victoria Station; she was the victim of a frenzied knife attack. One would have imagined that in the late 1980s when much of Central London was reasonably well covered by CCTV that someone would have been brought to book, but the case remains open, even though advances in DNA profiling led to renewed hope of its being solved in 2002.

The year 1949 saw some truly inspirational detective work when Donald Hume was arrested for the murder of his partner-in-crime Stanley Setty. Hume was a remarkable individual who could have earned an entry in the Dictionary Of National Biography; instead he is now remembered as a double murderer.

During World War Two, he avoided military service due to medical reasons, not that he wanted to; quick tempered, he was always looking for a fight, but while his countrymen went off to die in Europe, he made a lot of money, not all of it illegitimately, among other things he was an inventor in a small way. Although he hadn’t had the best start in life, by 1949 he was married with a baby daughter, but his fortunes faded and he entered into a partnership with Setty, stealing high value cars to order. Hume murdered Setty in a dispute over money, dismembered him, then dumped his body from a light aircraft over the English Channel thinking he had seen the last of it, but the torso was washed up in the Essex marshes.

Even so he might have got away with it, the torso had been in the water for so long that it was impossible to identify, or one might have thought, but Superintendent Fred Cherrill came up with a brilliant idea. Removing the skin from the fingertips, he stretched them over his own fingers and created some readable prints. Setty’s fingerprints were on file from a conviction for dishonesty many years before.

With that inspiration, and tracing the £5 notes stolen from the victim (high value in those days), the trail led inevitably to Hume. Although he avoided the hangman by a combination of outrageous lies and equally outrageous luck, he was given a twelve year sentence. On his release he confessed to a tabloid then fled to Switzerland where he murdered a taxi driver.

In 1955, police in Coventry pulled off some masterful detective work to bring a child killer to book. On June 8 that year a ten year old girl named Evelyn Higgins was kidnapped by Ernest Harding. The only thing they had to go on was a description of his car, a Flying Standard Nine, 1937-8 model. A microfilm of the numbers of all 9,617 Flying Standard Nines produced in those years was sent up from Scotland Yard, and they got their man, although sadly the poor girl had already been murdered. Harding’s trial opened on July 20, he was convicted, and hanged at Birmingham on August 9. They didn’t hang about in those days.

Contrast this with the Operation Midland fiasco which saw Scotland Yard detectives chasing a mythical VIP paedophile ring that was said to have murdered three boys, for the best part of two years before they finally conceded they had been had. On the way, their insane informants roped in Leon Brittan, Cliff Richard, Elm Guest House, and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all. Yet with a relatively brief investigation, the BBC was able to expose this wild goose chase for the farce it was.

When the police aren’t chasing elderly celebrities or dead politicians for imaginary crimes they are hounding law-abiding citizens for thought crimes. In the 1990s they spent much of their time dancing to the tune of the leaders of Anglo-Jewry; on one occasion the Metropolitan Police even issued a warrant for a cartoon character. Britain’s even more repressive so-called race relations laws have given them further scope to persecute law-abiding citizens, while policing so-called hate crime, and the persecution of Islamist idiots like Anjem Choudary are safer alternatives to chasing real criminals who might just be armed and shoot back.

Probably the nadir of so-called policing in Twenty-First Century Britain was the antics of undercover police officers like Mark Kennedy who spent literally years hanging out with environmentalist and so-called animal rights activists who if they committed crimes at all were small potatoes indeed - civil disobedience and minor acts of criminal damage. Between this and Operation Midland, the once insuperable Scotland Yard is now an international laughing stock.

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