Victorian London - Police and Policing - Perception of - Detectives


APRIL 1863.

    April 1. RECEIVED intelligence of an audacious burglary with violence at Walker's Green. Consulted INSPECTOR WATCHER. Hired a cab, and in company with SERGEANT DQDGETT, had a pleasant drive to Walker's Green. Amusing fellow, DODGETT. Arrived and looked over the premises. Good sherry. MARY ANNE, the cook, much frightened. Comforted her officially. Housemaid just recovering from the effects of a blow from a life-preserver. Lady of the house had been very roughly handled. Asked our opinion. We informed her that we were certain that there had been a burglary with violence. She thanked us for the information. Received a couple of sovereigns. Drove back to town. Pleasant day. Saw the Inspector in the evening, informed him that DODGETT and myself were sure that an audacious burglary with violence had been committed at Walker's Green.
   April 2. Prosecuted our inquiries vigorously. Drove with SERGEANT DODGETT to Walker's Green. Observed something that had escaped our notice yesterday. Two large panels had been cut out of the front door, leaving an aperture of about three feet square. Measured it carefully with a piece of red tape. A man's head might have passed through it. Housemaid still suffering, but able to speak to DODGETT. Sharp fellow, DODGETT. The girl's arm is much swollen and the mistress's head still bound up. We are both of opinion that violence must have been used.
3. Walker's Green. Good sherry and refreshments. Lady of the house said that one of the burglars had light hair and was about five feet eight inches. We are on the track. MARY ANNE, the cook, hoped I wouldn't get into danger. CHARLOTTE, the housemaid, looked hard at DODGETT. Returning to town we saw a man answering to the description. Arrested him. Measured his head with the red tape. Locked him up.
April 4. Man examined. Said he hadn't done it. Asked him how it was he came to have light hair and be five feet eight? Was confused. Found out that he'd only just arrived from Birmingham where he had lived all his life. Cautioned and discharged him.
April 5. Saw a man in the street, very tall and dark-haired. DODGETT said that was his cunning. Took him up. Asked him why he hadn't light hair, and why he wasn't five feet eight inches? He was dum-founded. Turned out to be INSPECTOR WATCHER'S father-in-law. Apologised and discharged him.
April 6. Got him at last. Highly complimented on our sagacity by every one. Wrote to MARY ANNE saying how we were getting on. Man confessed to the burglary, and was locked up.
April 7. Man who said he did it now says he didn't. Had too much to drink, very sorry. Reprimanded and discharged. Letter from MARY ANNE saying that her mistress would be out to-morrow, and we must come down as she and CHARLOTTE had made a discovery.
April 8, 9, 10. Called every day at Walker's Green. See no reason to alter our opinion that an audacious burglary had been committted with violence. CHARLOTTE said she'd got something to tell DODGETT. Sly dog, DODGETT. MARY ANNE communicated her discovery to me. Nice girl - with considerable savings. Inspector requested us to report progress. Did so, and assured him that we had now no doubt as to the perpetration of a burglary, most audacious, with violence at Walker's Green. Arrested several people during the remainder the month. Measured all their heads with the red tape. Cautioned and discharged them.
    May. On the 1st of this month CHARLOTTE will become MRS. DODGETT.
    From information she received from me, MARY ANNE accepts my hand. Bother INSPECTOR WATCHER and the burglary with violence.

Punch, 1863


SCENE- A Police Station. Detective in plain clothes is sitting reading a newspaper. To him enter another Detective.

    1st Detective (pointing t o a paragraph in the newspaper). Seen this here? "Mysterious murder." (Reads particulars.) S'pose we shall be engaged in this.
   2nd Detective. S'pose we shall.
    1st Detective. This ain't bad is it? (Points to concluding lines of paragraph)."The police are actively engaged in investigating, &c. &c."
    Both (enjoying the joke). Ha! Ha! Ha!      [Exeunt separately

SCENE - Same. Time, next day. The two Detectives are now officially employed in the above-mentioned case.

    1st Detective (carelessly). Heard anything?
   2nd Detective (with indifference). No.
    1st Detective. S'pose something will turn up.
   2nd Detective. S'pose it will.
    1st Detective (pointing to concluding lines in a fresh paragraph headed "The Mysterious Murder".) "We hear that the Police are already in possession of a clue which will doubtless lead to the discovery of the murderer."
            [They dig one another in the ribs, wink and exeunt separately

SCENE - Same. Time, next day.

    1st Detective (actively engaged). Heard anything from anybody?
   2nd Detective (ditto). No, nothing from nobody.
    1st Detective. Odd. (Lights a pipe.)
   2nd Detective. Very. (Lights a pipe.)

Punch, December 19, 1863