Officers ‘frustrated and furious’ at the lack of balance in TV documentary

Police officers at Avon and Somerset Constabulary have expressed their “frustration and fury” at the lack of balance in the portrayal of policing in the Channel 4 documentary series ‘To Catch A Copper’.

Feb 6, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Avon and Somerset Police Federation has been canvassing the opinions and views of officers following the first episode of the documentary that was screened last week

More than 400 responded to a survey about the series and the Federation said the overwhelming response from its members was that of anger – with officers saying they felt “let down” by the force.

The second episode of the series aired on Monday (February 5).

Among the comments about the documentary from frontline Avon and Somerset Constabulary officers were: “I feel disappointed that the force has put me in the position of having to defend myself as a good police officer;” “I feel the backlash from this will be devastating and has made me think of leaving front line policing;” and “I cannot believe that the decision was made to allow the filming of this programme.”

Avon and Somerset Constabulary took the decision in 2019 to invite documentary-maker Story Films to start filming with its Professional Standards Department, including its Counter-Corruption Unit.

The force said the aim was to “shine a light on an area of policing which acts as a guardian of the high standards expected of those who take the oath to serve and protect”.

The documentary follows the “challenging and complex” work of the officers and staff who investigate their colleagues.

Chief Constable Sarah Crew said it was “really important that we are open and transparent”.

However, she admitted that parts of the documentary had been “uncomfortable”.

Avon and Somerset Police Federation vice-chair Iain Prideaux said the comments from officers came as “no surprise” and were “difficult to read”.

“Morale has been severely dented and even officers’ family members have said how concerned they feel toward their loved ones,” he said.

“Police officers have no issue with being held accountable for their actions, we are the most accountable of public services. But whilst putting policing under a microscope there should always be ample fairness and balance.

“The Federation will continue to speak up for our good officers. We do it today and will continue to do so.

“Our colleagues come to work every day to make a difference. And actions that can take place in seconds can be poured over for years by those with hindsight – including in this documentary series.

“Colleagues deserve due process in all legal and conduct proceedings. There should not be a presumption of guilt but an open mind, free from bias and a thorough examination of all available evidence.

“We continue to ask that there be more balance in the coverage and commentary around our colleagues.”

Related News

Select Vacancies

Commissioner

City of London Police

Chief Constable

Humberside Police

Copyright © 2024 Police Professional