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JUVENILE LIAISON

UK, 1975 (MIFF 1977)

Director: Nicholas Broomfield, Joan Churchill

Two police officers. George Ray and Lillian Brooks, work in a juvenile liaison section of the British police force They are attached to the Lancashire police and their job is to act as mediators between parents, young offenders and their schools. They are supposed to keep the children out of court by impressing the need to obey parents, teachers, and authority generally. This documentary observes the work of the police, and allows the audience no more information than that possessed by the two police officers as they interview children, parents and teachers. The children, aged from seven to twelve, all from working class homes, are in trouble for petty theft, truancy, or fighting.

The police tactics, although viewed as sympathetically as possible, appear disquieting. An Indian girl is interrogated over an apple which she stole and ate before returning the core. A seven year old, who is nearly autistic, is hauled off to the cells ('we can't hold them so we just lock them up for ten or twenty minutes'). The rationale for this efficient system of repression offered by the police, states: 'It is all worthwhile if it results in one or two less adult criminals'.

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