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NCJ Number: 91448 Find in a Library
Title: Holding the Blue Lamp - Television and the Police in Britain
Journal: Crime and Social Justice  Issue:19  Dated:(Summer 1983)  Pages:44-51
Author(s): A Clarke
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article traces the evolution of concepts of policing in Britain as portrayed in police television series from the 1950's through the 1970's.
Abstract: The 1950 television series entitled 'The Blue Lamp' presented the police hero as a uniformed constable on foot patrol who interacted with neighborhood residents as a friend, based his policing on an intimate knowledge of the people and problems in the neighborhood, was a perfect reflection of departmental policy, and received the thanks of criminals and victims alike for acting in their best interests. In this series, crime was overcome through police-citizen cooperation and the moral and professional ardor of the beat police officer. Subsequent series moved away from a focus on the uniformed beat police officer to the work of specialized plainclothes units who tested their skills against sophisticated and vicious offenders. Little attention was given to the relationship between the police officer and the ordinary citizen. The 1970's saw the inauguration of a number of police series, notably 'The Sweeny,' which portrayed plainclothes officers as combatants in a war on crime that cannot be won by following restrictive departmental policy but rather through heavyhanded, often violent means justified by their effectiveness in catching, debilitating, or killing the criminal. This latter portrayal of policing is a justification for authoritarian policing that cares little for human rights, particularly rights that interfere with police efforts to counter crime. Ten footnotes and eight references are provided.
Index Term(s): Crime control policies; England; Police policies and procedures; Television programming
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