West Midlands Police As Film Censors?

Maybe I’m wrong here maybe I’m misguided but when did the police become film censors? Well in Birmingham it seems that they are they are now, West Midlands police have decided that the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) are not doing a good enough job of rating films and have decided to step in and stop the ‘controversial’ new film 1 Day being screened in the city where it was filmed.

1 Day, which is due for release on the 6th November and is directed by Penny Woolcock depicts a day in the life of two rival Birmingham inner city gangs. The cast are local to the Handsworth area and the film features rap and hip hop throughout. Mysteriously none of the major cinema chains in Birmingham are going to screen the film, Odeon cinemas have decided not to screen the film following advice from West Midlands Police. A spokesman for Odeon said, ”Odeon has taken the decision not to screen 1 Day at Odeon Birmingham, following advice from West Midlands Police”. Cineworld and Vue have also decided not to screen the film in Birmingham, although they wouldn’t comment why it has chosen to make this decision.

The director Woolcock, said, “Censoring this film is short sighted, shameful and lets a lot of people down. Even if 1-Day did glamorise gun violence, which it certainly does not, I do not think it is the function of the local police to go round saying what films should be shown and which ones shouldn’t. Let people decide for themselves”, she goes onto say, “We are finding it almost impossible to get bookings because cinemas said they had been approached by the police”.

The assistant chief constable of West Midlands Police said, “I would like to make it absolutely clear that West Midlands Police don’t have any powers at all to censor. Organisationally, we haven’t sent out a message to cinemas that they shouldn’t screen this film […but…] I have always been consistent in saying that I am concerned it glamorises gangs and the impact this will have on the people of Birmingham”.

So I’m a little confused here, it’s a film, a movie, its not real life. This film has been given a 15 certificate therefore it should be available in the cinema to anyone over the age of 15 – it isn’t up to the police to censor what we watch – or is it?

Film trailer:

Police response:

See article from bbfc.co.uk.

By: Louise

1 Day

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