Examine the ways in which the relationship between the public and the police is presented in Hare's "Murmuring Judges".

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Examine the ways in which the relationship between the public and the police is presented in this extract and elsewhere in the play.

In Murmuring Judges, the second play in Hare’s trilogy which examines institutions, Hare presents the relationship between the police and the public as one of mutual dislike. Interestingly, Hare never openly shows the public to dislike the lawyers, who act as the antagonist throughout the play due to their uncaring attitude towards client, but it is omnipresent towards the police, who are shown to be more in touch with people. Here, Hare is perhaps consciously suggesting that the people dislike the police as they are the ‘face of justice’ and thus perceived by the public to be the ‘enemy’. Although Hare does present the police to hold some racist and prejudiced views, showing they clearly aren’t perfect, he does largely present the police in both Murmuring Judges and his research book Asking Around as trying to do a hard job in difficult times.

From our first introduction to the police, we see they are instantly disliked by the public. In Act 1 Scene 3, the first to involve the police, Keith states “you’re all bloody bastards” which immediately creates sympathy from the audience for the police. This sympathy is increased throughout the novel, where Hare generally presents the police as good people, an example of which is Sandra, who is shown as trying to enforce justice fairly in a corrupt system. The public dislike for the police is shown to be mutual though, “I’m not sure I care for the public that much”, which highlights the police frustration at the difficulty of their job, which is shown to be exacerbated by non-cooperative suspects, as shown through Keith’s repetition of “I’m not saying anything”. This furthers sympathy towards the police, as the public perception and the audience’s perception seem to be very different, as at this point in the play the police are presented as entirely honest.

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 Dislike for the police is also shown later in the play, “I bloody hate the sodding police”, but here the police are shown to have grown more tired of the public and are more irritated, “do you have any idea, you stupid arsehole, how bloody boring it is for us?” However, the public only further underlying frustration, as the Criminal Evidence Act of 1981 made policing more about paperwork, which created frustration amongst the police as for them it lowered their ability to do their jobs. In Asking Around, Hare states “[the police] are used to doing a great deal ...

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