Documentary makers given 'unprecedented' access to Professional Standards Department

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has granted a documentary company unprecedented access to the teams in its Professional Standards Department (PSD) to show the reality of its work at a time when the scrutiny of police officers has never been greater.

Sep 15, 2020
By Tony Thompson
The cast of Line of Duty

The three-part series will provide the public with insights into a rarely seen side of UK policing where operations can include counter corruption, covert investigations and surveillance.

Told from multiple perspectives, the series will look at the reality of being an officer under investigation and the personal strain it involves, as well as the experience of the complainants – often vulnerable members of the public – and the PSD investigators themselves as they conduction their operations under conditions of enormous secrecy and unique pressure.

The cases shown will include those of officers abusing their positions of power to exploit vulnerable members of the public, passing intelligence to organised criminals and complaints of racial discrimination and excessive use of force.

Superintendent Simon Wilstead, head of professional standards at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, said: “The public expects all police officers and staff to adhere to the very highest of standards, both in and out of work, and the important work of professional standards ensures we meet these expectations to maintain legitimacy in policing.

“We already hold misconduct hearings in public and publicise the outcomes but there’s much more work going on out of the public eye. In the spirit of being as open and transparent as we can be, we hope this documentary will give the public a unique insight into our commitment to maintaining the high standards of policing, which are the envy of the world.”

Alisa Pomeroy, commissioning editor at Channel 4, said: “Until now this secretive realm of British policing has largely been the domain of dramatists. As well as being compelling material for countless police thrillers, these are also matters of great public interest, so it will be fascinating to see how these units work and how their investigations play out in the real world.”

The series is set to be called ‘The Real AC-12’, after the fictional anti-corruption unit depicted in the hit television drama Line of Duty.

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