Jack the Ripper 1888 header image.


An image of a blindfolded policeman surrounded by criminals.

Sir Charles Warren may not have been the bungling Colonel Blimp that many commentators have portrayed him as, but he certainly had a fiery temper as well as decidedly fixed ideas about who should have ultimate control over his police force.

This made it difficult for him to easily assume the role of subordinate, which in turn brought him into confrontation with his superior, the Home Secretary, Henry Matthews. Ultimately one of these confrontations would lead to him resigning his post at the height of the Ripper scare.

At the start of the Whitechapel Murders Warren's Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Criminal Investigation, or detective, Department, was James Monro.

In addition, Monro was in charge of the Metropolitan Police's Secret Department, known as "Section D."

This department, was directly responsible to the Home Secretary, not the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, leaving Warren in the untenable position of having a subordinate officer over some of whose duties he had neither authority or influence.

In November 1887, Monro complained to Warren that he was overworked, and suggested that a new post, that of Assistant Chief Constable, be created to relieve the strain he was under.

Warren, perhaps understandably, suggested that Monro give up his Section D Duties.

Relations between the two men deteriorated at an alarming rate over the next seven months, and by August 1888 Monro had tendered his resignation as head of the Criminal Investigation Department.