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Friday, 8 September, 2000, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Snatch 'glamorises' cinema crime
Snatch: Shows organised crime as "bit of a laugh"
Organised crime is being glamorised by British films such as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, according to a top ranking intelligence officer.

John Abbott, director general of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), has accused film makers of deliberately showing organised crime as a "bit of a laugh", carried out by "cheeky chappies".

It's not glamorous; people involved in organised crime are exploiting local communities for their own selfish ends

John Abbott
Snatch is British writer/director Guy Ritchie's follow-up to Lock Stock, and is expected to be another box office success.

Mr Abbot also said it was surprising the media treated Gangland killer Reggie Kray as a hero rather than a murderer on his hospital death-bed.

His comments were made in the NCIS annual report which was published on Friday.

'Ruthless and very real'

He said: "From David Bailey's portrait of the Kray brothers, the exotic exile of Ronnie Biggs to the current genre of films such as Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Gangster Number One and Snatch, there has been a concerted attempt to show organised crime as `a bit of a laugh' carried out by colourful personalities and `cheeky chappies'.

"In the world of organised crime victims get injured and die, sometimes in horrible circumstances.

"They get kidnapped. Violence is used to settle debts, ensure obedience and eliminate competition.

"In this ruthless and very real world people get threatened and killed.

"It's not glamorous. People involved in organised crime are leaches on our society exploiting local communities for their own selfish ends."

Ronnie Biggs
Media criticised for glamorising criminals like Ronnie Biggs
Mr Abbott called on film-makers to display a sense of social responsibility while balancing the desire to make money and the impact their products could have.

Snatch, starring Brad Pitt, tells the tale of a group of small-time London East End villains who get involved in a diamond heist that goes wrong.

It co-stars former footballer Vinnie Jones, musican Goldie and EastEnders star Mike Reid, and was premiered in London last month.

London Film Festival director Adrian Wootton said that while he understood Mr Abbott's sentiments he did not feel that gangsters were overtly glamorised.

"People are entertained and interested in watching gangster films. I am not sure whether directors are consciously ratcheting up violence," he said.

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