Cop

a journalist infiltrates the police

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Pub Date 2 Dec 2021 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2021

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Description

The story of a French journalist who infiltrated the country's police force, revealing a culture of racism and violence in which officers act with impunity.

What happens behind the walls of a police station? In order to answer this question, undercover journalist Valentin Gendrot puts his life on hold for two years. He decides to undertake training and become a police officer. Several months later, Gendrot is working in a police station in one of the tough northern arrondissements of Paris, where relations between the law and locals are strained.

Gendrot hides nothing. He witnesses police brutality, racism, blunders, and cover-ups. But he also sees the oppressive working conditions that officers endure, and mourns the tragic suicide of a colleague.

Asking important questions about who holds institutional power and how we can hold them to account, Cop is a gripping exposé of a world never before seen by outsiders.

The story of a French journalist who infiltrated the country's police force, revealing a culture of racism and violence in which officers act with impunity.

What happens behind the walls of a police...


Advance Praise

‘An explosive new book by an investigative journalist has drawn fresh attention to police brutality and racism in France … chronicles the author’s training and the six months he spent as a police officer in one of Paris’ poorest districts … its vivid portrayal underlines how France’s history of racism and present-day police tactics have remained relatively unexamined.’

– Matt Bradley , NBC News


‘A journalist who spent almost six months undercover in a Paris police force witnessed racism, almost daily violence, and a culture of impunity for officers who mistreated civilians … The book’s release follows a period of increased criticism of police in France.’

– Jamie Clifton , Vice

‘An explosive new book by an investigative journalist has drawn fresh attention to police brutality and racism in France … chronicles the author’s training and the six months he spent as a police...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781913348885
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 3 members


Featured Reviews

Cop is a quick read which jumps out of the starting gates and never lets up. Rather than inject his ego into the story, Valentin acts as the everyman and records the events unfolding in front of him with a neutral gaze. He is neither overly sympathetic nor harshly critical of his fellow officers. Rather, he understands that they are people, ordinary people, put in a difficult position. His comments on domestic abuse and the almost complete lack of training that officers receive is a strong point, he quickly realises how difficult it is for officers to jump in and resolve very difficult issues such as domestic violence. The book offers no great revelation but, where the interests lies, for me at least, is the detail it offers of everydau France in the modern age. An interesting read and Gendrot deserves praise for embedding himself in his story in this way. His writing and research carries on the tradition of the new journalism style.

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Cop is the story of Investigative Journalist Valentin Gendrot's undercover infiltration of the French police. Wanting to see for himself the inner workings of an institution appearing to be riddled with racism and notorious for thuggish violence with no comeback for those involved Gendrot finds himself arriving at some surprising conclusions. Gendrot finds joining the ADS, France's equivalent of Britain's PCSO's , scarily easy. A few minutes online with an invented back story and that's pretty much it. The main qualification is that applicant should be under 30 and Gendrot finds himself working alongside a former neo-Nazis and a man with a long list of criminal convictions who after a few weeks training are let loose on the streets with powers of arrest and loaded guns. While Gendrot witnesses some appalling excesses and behaviour he also learns of the siege mentality of the police in France who feel constantly under threat ,demoralised ,underpaid and ill-equipped. As he finds himself slipping into their mindset and experiencing their frustrations he's in many ways sympathetic. This is a gritty and shocking read that sadly I doubt did much else than confirm many people's views of the police in France rather than come as any great surprise.

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