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The Dirty Squad Hardcover – 6 Apr 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (6 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316853216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316853217
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 388,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Michael Hames' compelling memoirs open with the carnage of the 1983 Harrods bomb, which ironically did much to further his career in the police force because of the bravery and resolution he displayed in the aftermath; it also coincided with his second divorce. Three marriages and a heart attack would seem a high price to pay for the rigours of public service but such is the policeman's lot. Hames' long career culminated in a five-year term as Head of Scotland Yard's Obscene Publications Branch (OPB)--aka the Dirty Squad--and a grapple with the tentacular world of hardcore pornography. His personal mission was to deliver a wake-up call about the prevalence of child pornography; by the time of his retirement in 1994, he'd succeeded in redefining the role of the OPB so that 90 per cent of its activity was directed against paedophiles.

A sketchy personal history serves only as the skeleton on which to hang fleshy anecdotes. Tales of arresting Boy George for drugs, a friendship with Spike Milligan (originating in dog excrement, so to speak), and the obligatory MP in a brothel story are solid saloon bar patter, but the bulk of the narrative involves sex offenders, a depressingly familiar clothes line of dirty washing. Cases such as the man who intended filming a baby put in a tank of piranhas are too horrendous to contemplate, but more complicated ones, such as Operation Spanner, when a group of men were convicted for consensual, if extreme, sado-masochism, demand a more satisfying analysis. Hames perhaps wisely realises that he's too close to provide this, and the individual moral absolution gained by a pedantic adherence to the letter of the law offers an essential tool of survival, along with counselling, alcohol and punch-drunk filing cabinets. He sees his book as cautionary to both parents and paedophiles: respectively, be on your guard, and we know what you're up to. As a timely bridge between the eras of the card file and the computer file, it offers a sobering insight into dirty work past, and inevitably still to come. --David Vincent


A well-paced book of recollections...factual without fuss. It imparts a sense of urgency that demands- as it holds- the reader's attention. (IRISH TIMES)

This absorbing biography offers a compelling insight into the life at the sharp end of the police force... Hame's strength of character comes through in this reconting of a long battel against often apalling cases. (SOUTH LONDON PRESS)

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I had run all the way from Chelsea Police Station to Hans Crescent. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
an outstanding insight into a specialist branch of the Metropolitan Police and it's various operations to bring paedophiles to justice. It is written with passion by the branches former head and gives a varied and detailed account of some of the cases with which he has been involved.Some accounts can be quite disturbing as you realize the length's and depths that these people go to carry out thier abuse. Overall, a compelling book which I found hard to put down and one that I would recommend highly for reading along with the likes of Paul Britton.
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Format: Paperback
I feel that Hames's memoirs are slightly stilted at the beginning, when they describe his early days as a new recruit with the Metropolitan Police. However, when he begins to talk about his work in vice and with the Obscene Publications Branch, his enthusiasm and commitment become clear.

The book has a high sexual content (as you would imagine) and can at times be disturbing. Yet, some of the details about the cases he investigated are fascinating. They highlight areas of weakness within the law, explore the mind set of some of the people committing these crimes and describe Police undercover operations and procedure.

A riveting and yet disturbing read without ever slipping into sensationalism, and of some relevance for Psychology students looking for a little relevant background material.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
An interesting and insightful read into work carried out by the Obscene Publications Branch lead by Michael Hames. There is a lot of graphic detail in this book so not for anyone who is squirmish!

The books starts with a biography of the author, and this feels somewhat wooden and awkward at times, however bear with it, as the interesting stuff comes later. That's not to say I don't like biographies, but this felt a little rushed and forced at times and I was glad when the focus was on the crimes rather than his personal life.

Overall, any true life crime fan will enjoy this, and appreciate the hard work that has gone into solving the cases involved. Not quite a 5 star rating but this is due to the writing style and awkwardness of the author, the rest of the content is gripping.
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