Crimewatch:an exemplar of the spectacle of class justice
The crimes presented in the Crimewatch television programme by glamorous personalities placed in lavish sets are portrayed, essentially, as entertainment. The programme is reported to have viewing figures of around 6 million.
“Crime”, in the context of the Crimewatch spectacle of dramatic reconstructions, is almost always presented as being committed by individuals or small groups of individuals against other individuals or groups.
The most serious crimes against humanity, in terms of numbers of people affected or numbers of deaths or serious injuries, are never put across as part of the Crimewatch spectacle. For example, although we are shown details of a particularly vicious rape of a UK citizen, and treated to theatrical self-congratulation by celebrities and the police when an arrest is made, we must wait in vain for the following:
• Pictures of dead and horrifically injured children in wars involving the UK military, with requests for information about the immediate perpetrators and their superiors. There is no hotline number to call with information about war criminals.
• Dramatic reconstructions of incidents on construction sites and in factories which have resulted in multiple injuries and deaths, with pictures of the employers allegedly responsible for such crimes.
• Information about the activities of arms manufacturers, the construction of weapons of war and the consequences of their use.
• Requests for the identification and tracing of those responsible for research, development and production of instruments of torture.
Who are the real criminals? Individuals whose background and upbringing has resulted in actions labelled as crimes by the state? Or those in power whose cynical manipulations and amoral choices have caused mass murder? Or both? The Crimewatch spectacle never addresses and least of all attempts to answer these questions.
The following possibility should be considered: Crimewatch publishes photographs of war criminals, arms manufacturers, tax avoiders, landlords and employers whose crimes may make those actually featured on Crimewatch sink into insignificance.