BBC News – Do cop shows tell the truth about policing?

BBC News – Do cop shows tell the truth about policing?.

Interestingly, I have had quite a few people say to me ‘That isn’t how it’s done on the television’, or ‘Is what they show on the television really true?

Well No.  Lets face it – it’s nothing like it – even the ‘reality’ programmes show a small glimpse, they are edited a lot and doesn’t show the paperwork being done, it doesn’t show the reality of not getting a meal break, officers don’t solve murders in an hour, and then they don’t go and have a pint after to celebrate.

A real day often consists of officers getting left over jobs from the previous shifts, paperwork, e-learning, meetings, training, lack of support, minimum staffing, cars off the road as they have broken down, dealing with people who really shouldn’t have called us in the first place, and off late probably most shifts, and on top of that anything else that we have thrown at us.

I think that if we did show how it really was that it would be mind blowing and I am sure there would be a few people who had something to say.

Why aren’t they out of the station?

That’s because of the tremendous amount of paperwork we have to do.  Think of a basic shop lifting offence.  Get sent to the job, arrest the person, take them to custody, go back to the shop, take a statement from the people who saw the theft, seize anything for PSE, seize any CCTV, take crime details, then head back to the station, book in the PSE, put the crime on the system, write a statement of arrest, fill in the appropriate form (depending on whether it’s a handover or you are doing the interview), print off previous convictions, go over to custody, fill in more forms, interview the suspect, then charge (if appropriate), go back to the station and do the file which consists of a further large amount of paperwork and form filling, then update the crime.  This is often done in-between dealing with other emergencies such as RTC’s,

Most experienced officers would be able to do this in roughly 2-3 hours and that depends on the circumstances, it could take anywhere up to 5-6 hours depending if the DP (detained person) is sober or doesn’t need medical attention or a solicitor etc etc.

After this is done and say the person gets charged and go to court, the officer will be sent the file back to do additional work on it ready for the court date, particularly if the DP goes ‘not guilty‘.

For a shift, dealing with a DP can take up half the shift quite easily.  In the meantime, if there is only minimum cover, it means that other jobs are not getting the attention they need or deserve.  They then stack up for the only other unit(s) and more gets passed on from shift to shift.

so why aren’t there enough officers?

The answer is simple, because there aren’t.  With the new Winsor report this is certainly not going to get any better as they are looking at getting rid of police officers, not recruiting more.  They are also looking at getting rid of officers in custody and replacing them with Security companies, so when you book someone in to custody they would be booked in by a security officer who has not had any experience of the law, no experience of dealing with DP’s, no experience of dealing with people under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act – yes of course, they will be trained, but experience? Not unless they are ex-police retired off because they couldn’t pass the fitness test or medically retired, or just those who just can’t live without some kind of policing in their life. (me? I’ll be out of there like a shot and will be doing a lot of travelling – A LOT!!)

More civilians in the offices will mean more officers on the street surely?

Nope, not necessarily.  A lot of the time Police Officers are in offices because they have the knowledge and experience to do that particular job, and therefore they are needed there, or they are officers who are doing a project or job in an office because they are not medically fit enough to work front line policing.  For example we have officers who are in offices because they were injured on duty, or have a medical condition which means they can not be out on the streets but still fulfill a rewarding and satisfying role.

Winsor is recommending that if officers cannot pass the fitness test they will be put on an action plan, and if they still don’t pass they can be sacked.  I do agree that officers need to have a certain level of fitness, but there are some that are under the disability discrimination act, will there be any adjustment for that?  Those who are under the DDA often work harder to fulfil their role than those who aren’t as they have to make up for the times that they cannot come to work, and so it would seem unfair that they would be discriminated against for not being the same level of a medically fit officer.

So television doesn’t really portray the reality at all then?

No, not really.  Unless they were going to do a ‘live’ streaming of a full shift it will never show the true reality of what we do, it will not show the true grit of dealing with the emotions, how it effects the officer, their colleagues and their families. Just think of how you would feel if you had to deal with a cot death, or a fatal road accident, or have to break in to find someone deceased who had been there for weeks unfound. The ‘cop shows’ do not show the truth and never will, otherwise it would just not make good watching would it?



One Response to “BBC News – Do cop shows tell the truth about policing?”
  1. pj21***** says:

    Bang on Sir!

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