chapter  6
25 Pages

Criminal investigation and the media

WithRob C. Mawby

The public police have consistently promoted their image as crime fighters and investigators despite crime fighting being neither their primary activity nor their most impressive quality. As Martin Innes (2002: 67-8) has summarized, sociological studies examining how police officers construct their social world converge with the literature on the mediated representations of

policing to suggest that the dominant image is one of the crime fighter: a ‘myth’ that has served to legitimate the police role to both sections of the public and to police officers themselves. This myth is regularly debunked through studies of what the police actually do (Bayley 1996; PA Consulting Group 2001). Nevertheless, Innes (2002: 68) identifies that the police detective function and the investigation of serious crime retain a central role in terms of ‘how policing is symbolically constructed’.