BBC's popular reality show Traffic Cops is not so far from what a stereotype-inclined American might imagine if told, "It's like Cops, but British." Traffic Cops may not be a montage of helmeted and mustachioed bobbies puffing after pickpocketing orphans on cobblestoned streets. But to American eyes, the constables of Traffic Cops do seem terribly proper and polite.
Compared to the show's ever-controversial American cousin, there's very little shouting, wrestling, cracking of skulls, or brandishing of firearms. In fact, to viewers used to such shenanigans in our cop shows, Traffic Cops (and its spinoff, Motorway Cops) can seem downright boring.
Sure, you get the occasional familiar chase-run-tackle sequence. But thanks to strict national restrictions on engaging in high-speed chases, pursuits often end with cops taking down a plate number and letting the fugitive drive away.
This might sound like a pleasant alternative to American civil libertarians, but there's a sinister twist that sours the picture: mass surveillance. The really boring thing about the...