Inside Scotland Yard with Trevor McDonald
Scotland Yard, the internationally famous symbol of policing, has almost 200-years of history filled with notorious names and infamous crimes.
In this two-part series, Sir Trevor McDonald explores the Metropolitan Police Service’s landmark investigations and is granted access behind the doors of its headquarters’ most sacrosanct rooms and meets some of the people who shaped the Met’s history.
The work of the Scotland Yard Detectives is documented in an extraordinary room inside the building, called The Crime Museum, which was created in 1875 to house exhibits from Scotland Yard’s most important cases. Sir Trevor takes a look at the ropes that hung notorious murderers, the Ricin pallet that killed a Russian dissident, and the apparatus used by the man dubbed the Acid Bath Murderer.
Sir Trevor discovers that across all the Met’s homicide squads in London, they deal with scores of murders a year, and visits Soho where he meets a former Met Detective who went 15 months without a murder on his patch and was then faced with 15 in one day.
Visiting the Met’s Heritage Centre in West London, Sir Trevor finds out that there were teething problems in the early days of the Met, which is evident as he looks through some early Discipline Records, dating back to those early days in 1829. It transpires that in the Met’s first six months of existence about half of the officers were dismissed, with drunkenness being the single biggest cause, and with one officer even being dismissed for milking a cow while on duty.
Sir Trevor also takes a look back at some of Scotland Yard’s most high-profile cases, including that of serial killer Dennis Nilsen, a former Metropolitan Police Officer, who plucked his victims from various pubs around London, and renowned East End gangsters The Krays.
He also finds out how Scotland Yard quickly adopted the new developments in DNA technology and how the fingerprint still remains as a significant string to the detectives’ bow.
Sir Trevor also meets Norwell Roberts, who tells Trevor what it meant to become Britain’s first black police officer in 1967 and how it paved the way for more diversity in the Met’s police force.
In this first episode Sir Trevor gains access into the notorious crime museum dubbed the ‘black museum’, home to body parts, nooses and murder weapons, as well as unearthing police disciplinary records dating back to 1829. Sir Trevor also finds out about early policing forensics, DNA and fingerprinting, and early surveillance techniques, first unearthed when police were trying to identify suffragettes. Trevor also learns how the force proved the crimes of serial killers Dennis Nilsen and ‘The Acid Bath Murderer’.