West Mercia suspect photo

Above: A CCTV-still from a security camera in Home Bargains Worcester circulated by West Mercia Police over the weekend of 21-22 July 2018. Credit: West Mercia Police.

Travis Bickle in Shrub Hill

On Saturday (21 July) in Home Bargains, Shrub Hill Retail Park, Tallow Hill, Worcester, an attack occurred at around 2.15 pm. Two hours later West Mercia Police began to appeal to the public for information concerning the whereabouts of three men and in this regard the Force released and publicized a CCTV-grab suspect photo-image (above). By Monday morning (23 July) three men (aged 22, 25 and 26) were in custody in connection with the attack--an acid attack on a child--and the suspect photo had been removed from the West Mercia Police website. Circulating the picture had had the desired effect. The photo will be seen again in court during the trial and that will be it. The grab was current and "live" for about forty hours only.

The image, although now no longer current in any Police appeal, still remains worthy of some attention as a photograph. The principal notable quality of the picture is its low resolution and the intrusive jagged horizontal lines--the effect of grabbing only one frame of video, known as deinterlacing. The three men depicted might be any-guys-from-any-gym-anywhere, were it not for the middle suspect's attire and hairstyle: a pink-sleeve raglan t-shirt, "dog-tags" neckchain, aviator-style sunglasses, and a rat-tail mohawk. As a fashion look, these elements coalesce to produce a rather austere appearance, but this look is not original or authentic, rather it is studied, and rife with borrowed references from the US military, and US movies. The man's threatening look is influenced, above all (consciously or not), by the attire and appearance of Travis Bickle as he re-enters towards the end of Scorsese's 1976 movie Taxi Driver. As a movie-actor this thug doesn't get the full 70mm Panavision treatment, he only gets filmed on Swann Security 3-megabyte. It's still a starring role though.

(23 July 2018)