Sunday, 24 March 2013

Roger Graef - Documentary Maker

Do you remember those Police documentaries on the BBC in the late seventies/ early eighties?  They were made by Roger Graef and showed the Police in a light totally alien to the Z-Cars & Dixon of Dock Green cosy image.  In the first, a detective broke down in tears after being transferred back into uniform.  What I remember him saying that when asked if he wanted the film crew to leave the Chiefs` office but he said no, that he believed they should see everything.  A sentiment not shared by many others.

    The one episode that did cause a huge furore was the interview of an alleged rape victim.  One responded that her story was "The biggest load of bollocks I have ever heard."  The men who attacked her led her out of a pub, but the plod responded with why she did not cry out or scream or anything.  They did not consider that she was probably paralysed with fear.  She did not press charges, although this could very well have been as a result of the "interview" with the Police.  The manner in which they conducted the interview would have had cavemen and rapists applauding out loud.  All were hauled across the coals by superiors and it did lead to a complete change to how victims were treated.

    Another documentary involved detectives hunting armed robbers.  What was notable was that they were effing and blinding all over.  Later they said it was to make it unshowable.  And here I was thinking that they reacted like all people who can turn the air blue.  Clean up TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse thought that coppers might say the odd swear words under pressure, but it is ridiculous to think that being a copper transforms them into a super moral person where language is concerned.

    Roger Graef also wrote a book about Police in which he interviewed numerous officers from many different forces, and it turned out to be an eye opener in which ordinary uniformed officers wielded considerable power simply by their standing in the local masonic lodge.  An ordinary Pc gave the real orders in one station because he was the local lodge Grand Master, and another Pc was a driver for a ranking detective, who it seemed, took some of his orders off his driver because he was the Deputy Grand Master!  When this Chief retired, his driver gave him a thorough slagging off at his leaving party and nobody DARED to stop him.  Truth does hurt, particularly at that time in Britain.