(Disclaimer: this is a post resurrected, zombie-like, from my extensive drafts folder)
My wife normally has control of the television, which doesn’t really matter since most of the programmes I like to watch do not come on until she has gone to bed. The programmes she likes to watch, and which I normally attempt to ignore include several which usually end up in my being told off for shouting at the television screen.
I’m sure this type of programming will be familiar to most: The reality Cop-CCTV propaganda newsreel. These programmes are usually to be found on Sky or more often Bravo, and feature mainly Goon Squads of police being followed around by a camera crew with clips of CCTV footage in between. There is always a voice-over telling you how to interpret what you’ve seen, which is often a completely different impression to the one you’d get by watching alone (this is why I get told off). Sometimes, they are shown quite correctly breaking up fights between drunks outside nightclubs, but this then often descends into goading the friends of the arrested into further anger so that they can be arrested too. Sometimes it is justified, more often not. Sometimes, they are merely harrasing people in the street in broad daylight.
If it were not for the voiceovers, these programmes could be easily mistaken for expose’s on the actions of the police but instead they are just fodder for the unthinking classes, each of them presumably cheering on the police in the own homes while assuming it will never happen to them.
It will, eventually. The recent and barely-publicised case of Myleen Klass should serve as a warning to all that you do not need to be a criminal, or even an antisocially-drunk friday nighter to ‘come to the attention’ of the authorities. The police and their dubious attentions can arrive at your door at any time, and for any reason.
But I digress. The purpose of these programmes seems clear: the normalisation of police thuggery. Just as sustained propaganda offensives have managed to denormalise smokers, drinkers, fat people, people who have kids, people who don’t have kids, people who take photographs, people who drive 4x4s, people who like immigration, people who don’t like immigration and people who just want to be left alone, a sustained propaganda offensive in this case is seeking to normalise the target-seeking innocent-busting modern copper. “Well, he must have done something,” the programmes seem to say. “They must know he’s a troublemaker or they wouldn’t be carrying on like this. They carry on like that in every segment though. They always antagonise the ‘offender’ until he snaps and they can make an arrest. The programmes normally end with a quick run-down of the outcomes, usually cautions or fixed-penalty notices. Very rarely does it go to court. To me, this speaks to the weakness of the cases against these prime-time tv ‘offenders,’ but to most people it probably just adds to the “oh they always get away with it” opinion, which inevitably leads to the “well, maybe the police should have more powers” attitude. As it is surely intended to.