Police authority 'alarmed' over Coppers show
POLICE officers have been slammed for their behaviour after appearing on a Channel 4 TV documentary.
The programme called Coppers was broadcast on Monday night and followed police officers on patrol in Nottingham.
But the behaviour of some officers has now been criticised and two incidents have been referred to Notts Police's Professional Standards Board.
In one incident a female police officer is seen pulling a 14-year-old girl to the ground, while in the other a man in Exchange Walk is seen being pushed over by a male officer.
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Kevin Dennis, chief executive of Notts Police Authority, said members were "appalled by what appears to be a lack of respect between some police officers and members of the public."
He added: "The Police Authority was disturbed and alarmed by the behaviour of some police officers who participated in the first two programmes of Coppers. We have made representations to the Chief Constable about our concerns and we will continue actions to address and improve the culture and behaviour of Notts Police."
Jackie Alexander, head of the Professional Standards Directorate at Notts Police, said the force was taking seriously any complaint made in respect of the programme.
Notts Police Deputy Chief Constable Chris Eyre on why the force took part in 'Coppers'
A year ago Notts Police was approached by a television company interested in filming a series of programmes to show the realities of modern day policing and some of the very difficult and unique challenges our officers face on a daily basis.
The documentary makers had previously worked with other forces across the country on similar films. The programmes they make are, by their very nature, gritty and edgy. That's because they show the devastating impact crime can have on victims, the challenges we face in dealing with offenders – some of whom are violent towards police officers – and the huge pressures and strains officers find themselves placed under.
We saw this as an opportunity to show the problems encountered by a modern day police force and the professionalism of our officers in dealing with those challenges in a range of operational roles.
So far you have seen officers working to drive down burglary, dealing with high-risk offenders and protecting the most vulnerable in our society. You have also seen the challenges facing officers responding to emergencies and the courage shown last summer as they protected the city and our communities as violence and disorder spread across the country.
As a result of their hard work we now have the lowest crime rates in 30 years and we have seen a significant rise in public satisfaction rates, taking us from 36th to ninth in a league table of 43 police forces in England and Wales.
In future programmes you will see neighbourhood and other specialist officers and staff working to improve community safety, catch criminals and support victims.
While the overall public reaction to the first two episodes has been positive, there is no doubt some have found these programmes uncomfortable viewing and have expressed concern or disappointment in what they saw.
As these programmes have been broadcast I have taken the opportunity within the force to acknowledge the excellent work of many of the participants. I have also explicitly reinforced the values that underpin policing in the United Kingdom and my expectation that police officers and staff act professionally at all times and demonstrate their commitment to our communities through an unqualified respect for the dignity of those we serve and work with.
The series provides a unique insight and one which I hope will give a greater understanding of the challenges we face and a greater appreciation of our work in helping to create safe, confident and thriving communities
Ahead of Monday’s episode of Coppers, Alexander Britton looks at the strong reactions provoked by the first two shows
With its gritty portrayal of life on the front line of policing – including a focus on Notts Police – Coppers has proven to be a powerful series.
However, some of the Channel 4 footage has prompted strong words from Notts Police Authority, which oversees the work of the force.
Kevin Dennis, chief executive of the organisation, said: "Members of the Police Authority are appalled by what appears to be a complete lack of respect between some police officers and members of the public. The police authority was disturbed and alarmed by the behaviour of some police officers who have participated in the first two programmes."
He said two incidents shown in the programme last Monday had been referred to the Professional Standards Department at Notts Police.
In one, a female police officer pulls a 14-year-old girl to the ground, with her mother crying out: "That's my daughter."
The mother adds in an interview: "They should not have done that. She's only 14 – it was absolutely disgusting."
But another officer said: "Had her daughter not been intoxicated, had her daughter probably moved when we first asked her to move, that situation would never have happened."
In the second incident, a man is pushed to the floor in Exchange Walk, city centre, by a male officer.
An officer who was at the scene said: "He was going to carry on chirping offensive language like that, so I wanted him well away."
Mr Dennis said the police authority was not consulted during the making of the show. He said: "This was an operational decision of Nottinghamshire Police. We have made representations to the Chief Constable about our concerns and we will continue actions to address and improve the culture and behaviour of Notts police."
Meanwhile, the head of Notts Police's Professional Standards Directorate said she would be taking any complaint seriously.
Jackie Alexander said: "We acknowledge that the language and behaviour demonstrated by some of those participating in the programme do not meet the professional standards that we expect for all our officers and staff and we will be addressing this with the individuals concerned. We are also commencing work to ensure that everyone representing Notts Police clearly understands why such comments and behaviours are contrary to the values we hold."