Film: 5408

Social History | 1970 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

The work of the Police force in Britain in the 1970's.

Swearing in of new constables at Gipsy Hill Police Station; a typical day; re-enactments of crime; handbag theft etc.; interviews with suspects; mugshots and fingerprinting; policeman talking to local schoolchildren; investigations; car crash; C.I.D.; Domestic violence - battered child; tracing stolen cars; administrative work; policeman in court; Brixton riots; Crime prevention; policeman being beaten up violence against the police.
Swearing in of new constables as both men and women stand in classroom and together read aloud their declaration. Zoom out over rooftops of city. Pan right across rooftops to red brick Gipsy Hill Police Station as titles "Metropolitan Police presents 'Police station'". Soundtrack of recited declaration from the new constables, changes to message over police radio. Gipsy Hill police station as cars pass on road outside. Uniformed constable, wearing police pith helmet, walks into station entrance with police noticeboard in foreground. Missing persons poster, stolen car poster £5000 reward poster, royal crest and name "Gipsy Hill" over station doorway. Uniformed police officer walks into the station followed by elderly mother berating teenage son. They approach counter with police sergeant behind counter and woman starts to make her complaint. Zoom out along counter to reveal police constable handing magazine on the police force to two teenage schoolgirls in school uniform. he then moves away from the counter to speak on a telephone. Behind him a plain clothes officer, possibly C.I.D., speaks to a uniformed constable. Constable walks through doorway to another room . Police officer without jacket, speaking on telephone and then to another uniformed officer whilst still talking on the telephone. Uniformed officer walks in third room and passes two constables talking about their day. "He asked me to call him a taxi , so I said, "You're a taxi, sir!"
He walks over to the officer without a jacket, standing behind a desk with a typewriter on it. He reports that a blue Triumph car with a 'suspicious foreign-looking bloke' sitting outside "Jack Shaw's place" The other officer tells him to put it in the daily record book and he leaves. He walks behind another officer who is reporting to officer at desk that an assault victim wishes to drop the incident and take no further action. The other officer claims that it was a waste of time.
Uniformed constables and officers on parade, standing in small room holding notebooks, whistle and truncheons. On command, they are seated in rows of chairs in front of desk with uniformed sergeant and another officer in his shirtsleeves. Sergeant calls one constable's number and gives him his assignment: Panda patrol Austin panda car in station yard. Dark blue police van as prisoner escorted up steps to station. At top of steps the escorting constable is forced to restrain the prisoner and a short fight ensues (reconstruction). The sergeant calls out another number and gives another officer his assignment and patrol route. Reconstruction Battered Triumph parked on street with flats in background as one teenaged boy jumps on its roof and another wrenches at the bonnet. Young woman holding hand of small child and boy carrying ball walk past. The teenagers jump off the car and grab the ball and start to throw it around a group of teenagers who have appeared. This is an example of youths causing trouble with the residents and this is what the officer on this patrol must look into. Sergeant gives another officer assignment to speak to lady who witnessed a car theft and. Hand tries door handle. Reflections in window with net curtains of two youths breaking into a car. The curtains part to reveal elderly lady watching (reconstruction). Another officer is given panda duty and asked to keep and eye on the park, scene of a handbag snatch. Reconstruction of scene as man in blue flared jeans and denim jacket jumps up from sitting on park bench and grabs at the handbag of a passing woman. She resists. Male witness watches from a distance with concern as man runs off, leaving woman on the ground. Officer in shirt sleeves in briefing room has further information on this suspect. Photofit pictures on the table. Close up of photofit which officers will take with them after the parade. Officer sits at a computer and gives details of a suspect to be taken to the interviewing sergeant. Constable hands information to sergeant with suspect who has cuts and bruises on his forehead and cheek. Constable stands in the background. Suspect complains of the treatment he has received. It is to be assumed that this man is the same one who was escorted out of the police van and attempted to escape, seen earlier in the film. The sergeant accuses him of trying to run away. The man claims he has done nothing. The sergeant picks up a very nasty weapon - worn like a knuckle-duster with small spikes on a leather strap and a knife sliding out from inside the clenched fist - and suggests that the man used it to threaten someone. The suspect has a record for violence. The suspect says he was turned on by an assailant. The sergeant says that the suspect's injuries were sustained when his head hit the wall whilst trying to run away. The suspect says he will complain. The sergeant sits behind his desk and says he will give the suspect a leaflet on how to complain. Suspect says that the weapon is not his. The sergeant then charges him. The suspect's mug shot, face on. Charge is read on soundtrack over pictures of mug shot. Officer taking mugshot with camera. Suspect as he turns to his left. Constable as he takes suspect's fingerprints. Good shots as he rolls suspect's finger in ink, presses it on sheet, close up of fingerprint. Constable as he leads increasingly more agitated suspect to his cell, with 'detention room' on sign on door. Sound of the suspect shouting.
Young children listening in school classroom as officer talks to children about the police. Question and answer session with the children over how many policemen in London. Answer : 22,000.
Old lady in garden as she looks up to policeman climbing ladder to first floor window of house. The window is unlocked and as officer looks into bedroom, there are belongings everywhere. Evidence of break-in or burglary by a bogus window cleaner. Female constable in soft police cap, black gloves, handbag and shirt, shows photo-fit of mugger or handbag snatcher to group of women on an estate. As the police woman walks away, a young woman with two children follows her and offers some information about a possible suspect. Block of flats. Rooftops of terraced houses. Male constable wearing helmet walks down dark corridor in house, followed by scruffy man in his twenties, complaining about police harassment. The officer appears to be meeting the man because he is checking if everything is alright but the man objects. He follows the constable to the door. He is wearing a black leather jacket and jeans with white paint all over them. As the policeman leaves he slams and kicks the door behind him and says "Sod off!". He walks into the front room, which looks like a squat. The word 'Freedom' is scrawled on the wall and there is a bookcase, a chair and a mattress on the floor. A man is sitting in the chair and a girl is slumped on the floor leaning against the wall under the window. The policeman can be seen through the window leaving the premises. The girl asks "What did the pig want this time?" The man passes the man wearing the black leather jacket a bottle.
Policeman walks along street with garden of house he has just left strewn with rubbish. Road full of equipment and pipes for digging up the road. General scene of decay - not very pretty urban area. White police car with siren on as it races around corner and overtakes car. Turns left off main road and stops on corner where a red car has had a serious accident. Policeman races out of car to pavement where a lady in a blue dress is on the floor attended by another policeman. The sign "College Road" is on the railings behind. The policeman on the scene points to one man in the background who is lying on some bent railings. This man is dead. According to the officer, the man behind the wheel of the car is nearly dead. An ambulance is on its way. The officer who has just arrived runs over to the car - all of its windscreen is smashed and there is glass everywhere. He attends to the man slumped behind the wheel. Another officer checks the pulse of the man assumed to be dead lying on the knocked over railings. he has blood across his cheek. The officer runs to help with the man still in the car.
Dead Alsatian dog, covered with blood, lying on its side in yard as seen through glass panelled door. Inside the living room, dog's owner talks to a constable. He says he would not have called the police as the burglars did not take anything but they did kill his dog. The policeman is sharp with the man and the man warns him that he knows his divisional commander. Two plain clothes men walk past outside the window. They are C.I.D. and the constable excuses himself to go and meet them. As soon as the constable is gone, the man sits down and reaches for the telephone. The constable tells the C.I.D. man that the man is being difficult and that he cannot understand it. The man speaks furtively as the constable shows one C.I.D. man the dog, whilst the other C.I.D. officer comes to see the owner. he hurriedly finishes his telephone call. The C.I.D. officer starts to question him over why this has happened. The man thinks someone is trying to get at him. View of the corner of the house and the patio as the constable and C.I.D. officer approach the dead dog. The C.I.D. officer says that the dog's owner , the man inside the house, is a known villain. Inside the man tells C.I.D. that his neighbour did see a blue Triumph car pulling away with part of the number plate 'TCF'.
More rooftops of terraced houses with sound of women shouting. Woman shouting. Standing at window whilst constable seated in her home. She moves towards him shouting. He is holding a badly bruised and crying infant. She tells the constable he can take the child away after he accuses her of hitting the child. Policeman talking into radio whilst holding child with other arm. Woman sitting on sofa, still talking. Zoom out from window of house with this scene still continuing. Rooftops. Another woman shouting as policeman inspects her garden. A neighbour's cat appears to be using her garden as a toilet and the lady is unhappy. The cat's owner appears at a window of the flat next door, holding a book that says that cats are allowed to go anywhere. The policeman tries to calm them down and explains that the complaint is a civil, not criminal, matter and therefore they should speak to their solicitors.
Rooftops as police radio message to go to scene where two West Indian youths have allegedly stolen two transistor radios. Two black youths, one wearing black flares, red jacket and red woolly hat and the other wearing blue flared jeans, stripy T shirt with '88' on it and black leather jacket run over railway bridge. Constable sees them and stops them. Road sign 'Mount Villas' in background. There is no chase. The actually stop because he asks them to. he asks what they are carrying. They say that he is harassing them because they are black. The policeman replies "I don't care if you are black, white or purple. You fit the description of two coloured lads..... and I want to know what is in that parcel." The youth in the red jacket says the policeman needs a search warrant. The policeman says he can stop and search anyone. The parcel is not the radios and the boys have a receipt for what they have bought, which is, incidentally, difficult to tell what the parcel really is. The policeman says everything is alright. "you've got a receipt, you bought it. No need for all the hassle and fuss and 'because we're black' and there's nothing in it so no sweat, no hard feelings is there?" Long shot of the policeman and the two boys as a train passes along the railway track. This is a good clip relating to attitudes and alleged racism within the police.
Two C.I.D. officers and the female police officer go to the address of the handbag snatch suspect. The C.I.D. officer knocks on the door. When the door is opened, the policewoman puts her foot in the doorway. The man who answers the door has long, shoulder length dark hair, beard and moustache. He is wearing a denim jacket and jeans. he asks what the police want. When they mention the handbag snatch, he bolts back inside the flat, followed by the two officers. He jumps off the balcony about six feet from the ground, to make his escape but is caught by the C.I.D. officer waiting, who pushes him to the ground. Long shot of the side of the flats as the man is taken away, and pan left across to reveal more of these flats in the estate. Inside a panda car, an officer radios in the registration number of a blue car. Fingers operating computer keyboard. Information appears on screen. The car is lost or stolen. Officer in the control room relays this information to the radio in the panda car. The panda car pulls over the blue car. The officer gets out and approaches the driver, who is a young white male. The driver says it is his friend's car. The policeman expresses doubt and the driver escapes out of the passenger door and runs away, hotly pursued by the officer who catches him and wrestles him to the ground. Zoom out over rooftops as driver is led back to the panda car. Blue Triumph police car races through streets to hurt child in abandoned building, Woman passer-by points to rubble of partly demolished house. Boy lying in rubble on first floor, blood on face. Policeman reaches him with first aid kit. Exterior of Gipsy Hill police station. Officer on telephone regarding contacting injured boy's father. Another officer on telephone assuring woman that an officer will attend her as soon as one is available. Officers at front desk dealing with enquiries from the public. C.I.D. officer consults uniformed colleague about the man whose dog was killed. He tells them about the part identification of the number plate and the uniformed officer remembers an entry made earlier in the film in the daily record book. The C.I.D. officer goes to check on this and the other officer continues typing on a typewriter. A sergeant briefs another officer on events in the station. A doctor has been to see the prisoner who was allegedly assaulted and a stray dog has had a litter of puppies, to which the colleague replies "Silly bitch!" - not very charming. The orphan's box has a collection of £28.30. They walk off together smiling. Track left across counter to black man speaking to officer, possibly about his passport? Another officer is speaking to an old man who claims to have witnessed the handbag snatch. The officer consults the sergeant and the old man is escorted to the waiting room ready to speak to C.I.D. The policewoman and two C.I.D. officers bring the protesting handbag snatch suspect into the station. Sergeant and another officer look through large ledger to account for where all the officers are. Royal crest. Police constable standing in the witness box at a magistrate’s court. The prosecution asks if the constable planted drugs on the accused. The officer tells the judge that he found the drugs on the suspect who admitted that they were his. The accused is a very dishevelled man who behaves nervously and looks as if he is on drugs. The prosecution continues its case. The sergeant and other officer look at the ledger and discuss the whereabouts of a constable working on a rape case. Door opens to reveal policeman with clipboard. The old lady appears worried and shuts the door on him. He shouts through the letter box that there is nothing to worry about as the old lady is trying to hurry up the stairs. A neighbour in the house next door calls down to the officer telling him that the old lady downstairs is sick. He promises to look in on her later. Sergeant and officer talk about an officer who has gone to a demonstration:
Brixton or Southall riots 19?? - Footage - news?- of crowds as young white youth carrying Union Jack flag kicks and hits old white man. It looks like a National Front demonstration. Lines of policemen attempt to hold back crowds. One policeman tackles youth as others attack. Policeman wounded in face led away by three other officers. Crowds running as chaos breaks out and police trying to hold them. Injured man on floor as man puts bandage on his head. Film returns to the police canteen and one officer with dressing on his head and arm in a sling says he will never go on a demonstration again. Track past policemen playing cards. One constable sits down to have his tea and is called to C.I.D. C.I.D. officer in large office questioning handbag snatcher suspect. The suspect has admitted taking the bag but says he did not hit her. C.I.D. officers discuss the owner of the blue Triumph who has previous form for assault and assaulting a police officer. C.I.D. asks for six uniformed officers to assist them. Uniform can only spare two officers and C.I.D. stress that it may be dangerous. Cut to youth slashing sofa with a knife. Another youth tearing up a book and smashing a lamp. Room of people watching film show on a screen. Projector seen in the picture. They are watching a film of the two youths destroying the house. A photograph is smashed, as is a television screen. The audience watch as the youths smash china and one crudely draws breasts on a painting of a woman, in black pen. Another rifles through a dressing table drawer. One smashes a clock. View of the back of the audience's heads as the film of this demonstration is seen on the projection screen. Laughing, the three youths leave the scene and the audience watch the logo for the Metropolitan Police Crime Prevention Service appear on the screen. The light s go on and the audience talk amongst themselves. The three policemen holding the meeting sit behind a desk. The Crime Prevention Officer addresses the crowd, made up mostly of the elderly. An elderly man stands up and says that it is no use calling the police as they, quote, "Only let the thieving buggers off!" Another policeman answers this remark by explaining that the police can only uphold the law and that sentencing is up to Parliament and the Magistrates Court.
Policewoman interviews the female victim of the bag snatch to discover if the woman was hit accidentally or on purpose. The woman has a large bruise on her right cheek. She starts to cry. The policewoman explains that it does matter what they charge the suspect with, otherwise he may be let off at court. The policewoman offers to get her a cup of tea. At the front desk, the sergeant reprimands a black man for not getting to the station on time and thus breaking the conditions of his bail. The man claims his car broke down and the policeman says he will overlook it this time. The officers continue their business at the station.
Night and policeman at door is told to "Shove off!" by a boy's father. The boy is a witness to a crime but his father does not want to be involved. He slams the door in the policeman's face. Panda cars arrive at site of raid. Exterior at night of police station. Police radio as voice reports that he is being attacked. Constable pushed against a wall by his assailants. His face is bleeding. One man punches him. The radio command centre calls for assistance to all officers. The C.I.D. cars waiting for the raid hear the call. The police station do not know the attacked officer's position so must wait and hope that he radios in or that another officer finds him. Three men attacking and beating up the constable.. An elderly couple see and the man tries to help but his wife pulls him away. C.I.D. begin the raid. The police at the station are depending on someone having seen the attack and calling the. The elderly male calls 999 from a telephone box, despite his wife's protestations that they do not have to get involved. The police co-ordinate efforts to reach the officer. One officer leaves the station in a panda car. C.I.D. go to house and capture the man who owns the blue Triumph. The three attackers leave the policeman on the road bleeding. The last man kicks him and says "Take that you pig!" before running away. The attacked policeman bleeding, reaches for his radio. The control room have reports of the position of his attackers. The credits run over pictures of the city lights at night and the soundtrack of the police radio which reports that the attackers of the policeman have been apprehended.


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