The day begins just before 0630. We enter through the back door of a police station in the suburbs of a Northern town, the designated headquarters for a large police search operation to be carried out today across a number of homes and businesses. The station is a low-rise office block with added extras (such as cells) and if you're familiar with the recently defunct TV show The Bill, its interior won't come as a surprise: it's a series of neon-lit, low-ceilinged corridors with offices and briefing rooms leading off them. On the walls of the corridors there are noticeboards, with charity sponsorship forms and admonitory messages ('You can't talk your way out of a situation you've behaved yourself into') pinned to them. Highly visible around the station is a series of posters bearing the slogan, 'Enforced marriage: it's not cultural, it's wrong.' The classrooms all contain whiteboards and flip charts. Walking past one room, I glimpse a flip chart with a seesaw drawn on it. 'Risk' and 'Benefit' sit at either end, in perfect equilibrium. Through another doorway I see a whiteboard carrying a highly detailed street plan of the local area.
LRB 18 November 2010 | PDF Download