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COI Collection Vol 1 - Police and Thieves [DVD]

 Exempt   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £8.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

COI Collection Vol 1 - Police and Thieves [DVD] + Coi Collection: Volume 4 - Stop! Look! Listen! [DVD] + COI Collection Vol 6 - Worth the Risk? [DVD]
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Product details

  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Feb 2010
  • Run Time: 291 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002XWV3DQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,270 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description


Established in 1946, the Central Office of Information (COI) was a successor to the wartime Ministry of Information and was responsible for producing thousands of films which celebrated Britain, its people and their achievements.

This first volume in the COI Collection explores the subjects of policing, crime, delinquency, and the justice system. A variety of styles and genres - including story documentary, public information shorts and cinemagazines - were employed to delivery crime prevention messages and bolster recruitment. Highlights include: Children on Trial (1946), an approved school drama set in a progressive and enlightened system; Youth Club (1954), which proposed a solution to keeping Britain's young people out of trouble; Help Yourself (1950), a no-nonsense crime prevention film; Man on the Beat (1956) and The British Policeman (1959), in which the local bobby comes armed with a friendly smile. Together, these films provide a wonderful record of British life in a seemingly more innocent age.

Special features

  • Fully illustrated booklet including comprehensive contextualising notes and essays from academics and film historians
  • Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)

UK | 1944-1977 | black & white and colour | English, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 291 minutes | DVD9 x 2 | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | Region 0 PAL DVD

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from the COI 30 Mar 2010
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The COI have many decades worth of information and documentary film and this helps show official approaches to crime and policing since the end of the war. They are particularly insightful - many examples such as Children on Trial show that as far back as 1946, rehabilitation rather than punishment was seen as a more constructive. This barely-post-war period was shown as quite realistically bleak and was probably quite unusual for the time.

Further films, such as Unit Beat Policing from 1968 is quite revealing, showing that more than 40 years ago it was already understood that just putting more and more police on the beat had almost no effect on reducing crime. More recent films like the Public Information Film "Snatch of the Day" provide a bit of comic relief - any child of the 70s can remember this one being shown endlessly on TV.

All in all this is a great collection of COI films that show how well they were made and how Britain has changed over the decades. They are an essential document in our social history. Highly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Colin Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
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This collection of fourteen films, produced by the central office of information (COI) covers four subjects: policing, crime, delinquency, and the justice system.

The first film "Children On Trial" was made in 1946, during the first year of the fledgling COI, which itself was created to replace the wartime ministry of information, in this 60 minute film, the message is that rehabilitation is the way forward in addressing the problem of teenage delinquency.
The 1950 "Probation officer" is in part a recruitment film, aimed at enlightening prospective recruits to the service, by pointing out the modern and progressive aspects of the profession.

Also in 1950, the film "Four Men In Prison" shows the effects of prison life on four different offenders, one is a first time offender serving a short sentence, another is a hardened criminal who is familiar to prison life, while another is a mentally sub-normal youth who steals, and the other is facing corrective training to prevent him becoming an habitual criminal.

The 1959 film "The British Policeman" follows a police constable on his 8-hour shift. From the early 70's "Anything Can Happen" is a 20-minute film that was shown in schools, to help improve on the shortage of police officers at the time.
The 1975 film "Challenge For A Lifetime" is another police recruitment film, which emphasises the more exciting aspects of police work, rather than the more mundane side.

This collection of films is another fine example of the many informative and educational collections released by the BFI, filled with nostalgia, the films are a fascinating social history record.
The picture and sound quality is good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime Ain't What It Used To Be 23 Nov 2012
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As usual the enjoyment of these archive films stems from seeing just how differently things were done in the past, even 50 years ago the world as we know it today was so innocent by comparison.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb selection 20 July 2011
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Wonderful collection from BFI - some long documentaries as well as a nice selection of shorts. All very informative. Pity my school careers advice was terrible and I didn't see any of the documentaries, but if I had I would have seriously considered a career in policing.

Really hope the BFI continues to release more and more of these documentary series from the 40s through to the 80s - there must be zillions of films / documentaries moldering away in the archives
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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This is a collection of officially produced films that seems a bit stilted by today's standard, but are really charming reflections of how things were in days gone by.
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