Detective agency. The history of Scotland Yard.

Detective agency. The history of Scotland Yard.

In those days, when the book of Galton was published, on the banks of the Thames, two new large complexes of buildings with peaked frontons and fortress towers in the corners were already rising. They housed the new Scotland Yard, the main residence of the London police.

Once in this complex buildings, Scottish kings used to visit Scotland Yard – the Scottish Yard when they visited the London court. Hence the name Scotland Yard.

The fact that the British police is younger than the French, has its reasons. The exaggeratedly painful representations of the English on civil liberties to many foreign observers naturally led to the fact that the British public had until then seen in any form of police a threat to these freedoms until in the 1930s Londoners began to literally sink in the swamp of crimes, violence and lawlessness.

Because of this understanding of civil liberties, England for centuries had no public prosecutors, no real police. Maintenance of order and property was considered a matter for the citizens themselves.

An inescapable conflict with crime gave rise to even more undesirable figures: scammers and secret detectives – voluntary detectives for profit, revenge or out of love for adventure. When capturing a thief and convicting him, they received an award from the amount of a fine, and in cases of murder or robbery – reward in the form of a bonus.

Everyone could take on the role of informer, detain the criminal, bring him to the justice of the peace and blame. If this led to condemnation, he received his reward, which often caused the revenge of the associates of the convict. Prisons were only transit points on the way to the gallows or into exile.

Forty pounds, weapons and property of the convict – that’s the payment of the state and community for catching a thief. These “blood money” were a great temptation for all sorts of strange “detectives”, and the consequence was a strong corruption.

In 1826, there were whole districts in London, where they were robbed even during the day. There were 822 residents per criminal. 30 LLC man existed solely due to looting and theft.

The situation was so serious that Interior Minister Robert Peel finally decided to create a police force contrary to public opinion. On December 7, 1829, a thousand policemen in blue dress coats and gray linen trousers with black cilinders on their heads went to their police stations, stationed throughout the city.

Cylinders were supposed to demonstrate to Londoners that they were not soldiers, but citizens took over their protection.

However, after a few years it became clear that the security police, which carried the police form and acted officially, was not in a position to overcome the crime in practice, let alone uncover the already committed crime.

It took a few particularly violent murders, so that the Minister of the Interior in 1842, had the courage to take one more step. 12 policemen took off their uniform and became detectives. They occupied three small rooms in Scotland Yard. Writer Charles Dickens immortalized their activities, the word “detective” for a criminalist became a term and spread throughout the world.

In the very practice of solving crimes, at first, almost nothing has changed. Suspicious relations on the part of citizens against detectives gave rise to restrictions that were not in France and which only benefited criminals.

From August to November 9, 1888, the crimes of an unknown killer were shocked by the English public. All the dead were prostitutes. For the cruelty with which crimes were committed, the murderer was nicknamed Jack the Ripper. The crimes ceased as unexpectedly as they had begun, and remained undisclosed.

Of course, the indignation of the London public was natural. But should not the indignation be directed to the very generality? Did the murder of Jack the Ripper not show publicity from the most terrible side, to which persevering inviolability of personal liberties leads?

In any case, the shadow of the Ripper was hovering over London, when Galton was working in his laboratory on thousands of fingerprints. In 1892 his book “Fingerprints” was published. And, despite the great authority of Galton, it took a whole year for the Ministry of Internal Affairs to pay attention to it. A commission was appointed, which had to study both the Bertillonage and the fingerprint system and decide which of the systems should be introduced in England.

Members of the commission first went to the laboratory at the South Kensington Museum to learn about the method of fingerprints. The ease of identification with fingerprints was so striking that the commission more than once again repeated its visit.

However, the introduction of this method into practice caused difficulties associated with the fingerprint registration system.

If four basic groups of fingerprints (without a triangle, a triangle on the left and right, and also twists) were encountered in equal quantities, then it would be easy to distribute 100 000 cards with ten fingerprints in each so as to find any of them without much difficulty.

Unfortunately, the uniformity, unfortunately, was not observed. Arcs met much less frequently than all the other drawings.

This led to such a collection of cards in some boxes that it was impossible to quickly find the right one among them.

The Commission saw an exceptionally simple method of identification, which had to be abandoned only because the registration system had not yet been designed. So, to give preference to Bertiglionage – a more complex method, in order to find out after a while that Galton still solved the problem of classification?

While disputes were going on in London, Paris and the attic of the Palace of Justice turned, as one contemporary put it, into the Mecca of the Police Administration.

The Bertillon system marched victorious march through continental Europe. Chiefs of police of European countries, aware of the imperfection of their identification systems, went to Bertillon, without any idea of ​​fingerprinting.

They could not even imagine that thousands of kilometers from Europe, in the other hemisphere, meanwhile, events were happening that were destined to radically undermine their beliefs. But who in Europe thought in those days about South America, who thought of such a country, as Argentina, when it came to the use of science achievements in police work?

João Vucetich, a member of the police department of the province of Buenos Aires, was 33 years old when on July 18, 1891, he was instructed to equip an anthropometric bureau.

Having innate abilities for mathematics and statistics, Vuchetich enthusiastically treated everything new. For him it was not particularly difficult to create something like what Bertillon did: prisoners were measured and recorded. But no matter how new an anthropometric method is for Vuchetich, he, as his biographer put it, “did not touch the cell of Vucetich’s brain, in which his creative powers rested.” He was more interested in the experiments of the Englishman Galton.

The helpers of Vuchetich had barely mastered Bertiglion’s methods to some extent, and he had already made a primitive device for fingerprinting and had fingerprinted all the arrested people who had been brought to the bureau.

Completely independently Vuchetich came to four groups, which corresponded to the groups of Galton:
  1. imprints consisting only of arcs;
  2. fingerprints with a triangle on the right side;
  3. fingerprints with a triangle on the left;
  4. Prints with a triangle on both sides.
Groups of prints for the thumb, he designated the letters A, B, C, D, and for the other fingers – in figures.

So, if he took the prints of one hand, where the thumb had arcs, the index finger – the triangle on the left, the middle one – the triangle on the right, the nameless one – two triangles, and the small finger – again the arcs, then the peculiarities of the fingerprints of this hand could be expressed formula: A, 3, 2, 4, 1. The formula for the two hands was twice as long and had approximately that kind: A, 3,2, 4, 1 / E, 2, 2,3, 3.

Vuchetich arranged a card file so that the distribution of cards went according to the letters and numbers of the formula.

If there was a need to establish whether he was taking fingerprints from this prisoner, he needed to sign out the formula of ten fingers and look in the corresponding box of the card-box.

Further development of anthropometry became burdensome for Vuchetich.

Vuchetich made an attempt to convince his superiors of the advantage of fingerprinting. But in those years there was an opinion that everything coming from Paris is perfection. Disappointment from the fact that they do not want to understand him, so hurt Vuchetich, that he fell ill with a stomach ulcer, which tormented him until the last days of his life.

Secretly, he nevertheless continued to work and wrote his very next book, Identification System, in a very depressed state. Finally, in 1894, the advantage of dactyloscopy was so obvious that it had to be recognized. However, the supporters of Bertillon strongly opposed the introduction of fingerprinting. Therefore, only two years later, in June 1896, the Bertillo-Naj was abolished by police throughout the province and replaced by fingerprinting.

This decision made Argentina the first state in the world in which fingerprints became the only means of identification in the police service.

Gradually, most of the South American states, one by one, introduced the Vuchetich system into police practice: in 1903 – Brazil and Chile, in 1906 – Bolivia, in 1908 – Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Vuchetich did not even suspect what a triumph this was. He received too little information from Europe to realize how he beat the Old World. He had little chance of bringing his ideas to Europe. The ways in which scientific discoveries reached other continents went still in the opposite direction – from the Old World to the New. Information about its achievements ¬ have not even reached the United States.

Meanwhile, he himself saw other possibilities, which in other countries will be reflected only after decades. He was thinking about registering the entire population with fingerprints. His fantasies painted him even more distant picture. Long before the Europeans, he was thinking about international police cooperation.

Unaware of the discovery of João Vuchetich, the task of developing an acceptable fingerprint registration system was solved, however, a little later by the equally talented and inquisitive person Edward Henry, the working general police inspector in Bengal (India). In 1901, becoming president of the London police, he replaced the Bertillonge with fingerprinting.

An important role in the development of fingerprinting in England was played by a scandalous affair on the charge of Beck, when Adolf Beck was twice confused with the criminal Thomas and sentenced to imprisonment. And only otpechatki fingers have clarified this matter, as, indeed, in the case of the brothers Stratons, who brutally murdered the elderly spouses Farrov.

The Henry system found its distribution in Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, in the British colonies. At the same time, it began to spread in Europe and throughout the world.

Certainly, it can be called a human tragedy, when the inventor, the achievement of which has barely conquered the world, feels that there is already a new discovery that negates all his successes. It was this fate that awaited Alphonse Bertillon at the time when fingerprinting was already deeply rooted in England.

Someone else, perhaps, would have shown tact and not only understood, but would also welcome a progressive phenomenon, especially since his role and name have already become the property of history. Bertillon was and remains a man who paved the way for science in criminology.

He was and remains the creator of forensic photography and the world’s first forensic laboratory.

But his stubborn character lacked prudence. Before the eyes of Bertillon, the positions that, it would seem, had conquered its system of measurements, had collapsed in a victorious march.

He could still survive that his system was abandoned by Argentina and other countries of South America.

But here Henry’s fingerprint penetrated England into the European bastions of Bertillonage. Already in 1902 in Hungary, Austria, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, anthropometry established the place of fingerprinting.

It remains a mystery how long Bertillon seriously believed that the “little spot”, as he called fingerprints, would never become a reliable means of identification.

At the same time, he could not but attach some importance to fingerprints found on the crime scene. Since 1894, he still secretly began to take fingerprints of some fingers on the cards of his card index as “special signs,” namely, fingerprints of the large, index, middle and ring fingers of his right hand, and thereby tried to compensate for the lack of his identification system, which even he could not deny.

Bertillon considered the irony of fate, when in 1902 he had to become a participant in the investigation of the first murder in the continent, uncovered through the accidental examination of fingerprints taken from the scene of the crime.

However, even after this incident for Bertillon, fingerprints still remained only a tolerated application to anthropometry, until 1911 brought him to defeat, which would shock anyone else in his place. But nothing touched him.

August 22, 1911, the Parisian newspapers published a message, which in the eyes of many French people looked like news of the national catastrophe. On the eve of the salon Carré in the Louvre, the world-famous work by Leonardo da Vinci has disappeared the portrait of the Mona Lisa (it is believed that this is the portrait of the wife of the rich Florentine Francesco Giocondo, and they call him “Johkonda”).

To emphasize the improbability of an event, in Paris they even once said: “It’s the same as stealing a portrait of Mona Lisa.”

All French police were on their feet, all borders and ports were strictly controlled.

Hundreds of suspects were examined. Even psychiatric clinics were checked, because there were patients who pretended to be the lovers of the Mona Lisa. But suddenly the news came: Bertillon found the imprint of a human finger left on the glass of the museum display case.

It was true.

Bertillon really found a fingerprint. It seemed as though the story that happened in 1902 repeats itself. But history did not happen again. Dactyloscopic examination of numerous suspects has not yielded results. Then they stopped talking about the fingerprint.

In December 1913, almost 28 months after the theft, one unknown, named Leonard, suggested that the Florentine antiquary Alfredo Gehry buy a portrait of the Mona Lisa from him. When he was arrested, he uncovered the secret of the theft, which caused a new scandal.

Leonard himself stole the picture. His real name is Vincenzo Perrujia. He is Italian and in 1911 he worked for a while in the Louvre as a painter.

The fact that the thief did not encounter any difficulties was a disgrace for the protection of the Louvre. Even more disgrace was the fact that the thief could not be found for so long. It turned out that Perrougia was a loafer and a psychopath, whom the French police had repeatedly arrested. The last time he was arrested in 1900 for an attempt to rob a prostitute.

Then, according to the scheme established by Bertillon in 1894, he had the fingerprints of some fingers removed. But since in 1911 the number of fingerprints of anthropometric cards was too large to be viewed, Bertillon was unable to compare the fingerprints found at the crime scene with the dactoscopy data available to him. The theft, which could be uncovered for several hours, remained an inconceivable mystery for almost two years.

With the death of Bertillon (February 13, 1914), his measurement system also passed away. Instead of it, across Europe, including France, a fingerprinting tool became a police identification tool.

Detective agency. The history of Scotland Yard 2018

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