Cover image for Policing and the media : facts, fictions and factions
Policing and the media : facts, fictions and factions
Leishman, Frank.
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Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Willan, [2003]

Physical Description:
vii, 168 pages ; 24 cm.
Focusing on the interplay between policing realities, public perception and media reflections, this text provides an accessible account of the relationship between policing and the media.
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HV7936.P8 L45 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Policing and the Media provides an up-to-date overview of the changing dynamics and dimensions of the relationships that exist on the British police-media nexus. Factual, fictional and factional representations of policing in the media are the major - and for a great many citizens probably the sole - influence in shaping their perceptions and opinions about crime, law and order, community safety, police efficiency and integrity, not to mention the efficacy of criminal justice and penal policy. This book deals with all three representations, noting the lines between such clear divisions are increasingly blurred and the concepts of reality, realism and representation, slippery and complex.

Author Notes

Frank Leishman is Professor of Criminology, and Head of the Department of Natural and Social Sciences at the University of Gloucester.

Paul Mason is a Lecturer in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Leishman and Mason argue that the television cop show has replaced the Western as the purveyor of the rules of society, of morals and ethics, and that the institutional arrangements that organize media forms (police television series and other crime shows) play a vital role in shaping and reflecting deep personal and cultural fears about crime and insecurity. The first section--on the content and effects of police media images--includes chapters on the changing role of the police, the use of media to professionalize their image, and past studies of effects of crime coverage. The three chapters in part 2 analyze popular police and crime television series, 1940s-present. The emphasis is on the evolution from solving crime and apprehending criminals to present complex plots, in which rule breaking is often an essential part of thief taking. The third section covers the shift of crime drama to infotainment, the staple of which is the "reality" cop show. The final chapter examines trials by media and media in the courtroom. Though the authors are British academics and their material is drawn mainly from popular British TV series, they do relate their analyses to American TV shows. The writing is crisp; insights are useful. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Lower/upper-division undergraduates; graduate students. R. Cathcart emeritus, CUNY Queens College

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vii
1 Introduction: reality, realism and representationp. 1
Part 1 Facts
2 Contents and effectsp. 7
Introductionp. 7
Contentsp. 8
Effectsp. 17
Conclusionp. 25
3 Proceeding in a promotional directionp. 27
Introductionp. 27
Policing and newsgathering--convergent construction work?p. 29
The professionalisation of police--media relationsp. 35
Dominance or dependence?p. 42
Part 2 Fictions
4 Patrol, plods and coppersp. 49
Introductionp. 49
From Toy Town to Newtown: Z Carsp. 54
Gentler touchesp. 61
Fitting The Billp. 62
More friends from the North: Copsp. 65
5 Thief-takers and rule-breakersp. 68
Introductionp. 68
Rule-breakersp. 69
'We're the Sweeney son and we haven't had any dinner'p. 72
Rule-breaking, but not always ground-breakingp. 76
Crime and criminalsp. 78
Portrayal of the policep. 81
The thin blurred linep. 83
Conclusionp. 86
6 The changing contours of TV coplandp. 87
Introductionp. 87
No more heroes?p. 89
Representations of police culture and diversityp. 93
Reiner revisited: continuing the dialecticp. 101
Part 3 Factions
7 That's infotainmentp. 107
Introductionp. 107
Cops on the boxp. 108
Police, camera, factionp. 110
The thin blue linep. 111
Crimewatch UKp. 113
Reality television: held in contempt?p. 116
Appeal and voyeurismp. 120
Panoptics and reality televisionp. 122
8 Trial by media - courting contemptp. 126
Introductionp. 126
Rough justice or storm in a chequebook?p. 127
Court in camera or cameras in court?p. 132
Officer and a gentle man? The case of Mark Fuhrmanp. 135
Camera-ready coppers?p. 137
Candid camera: other problems of cameras for the policep. 139
9 Summing upp. 143
Referencesp. 148
Indexp. 161