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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Officers Express Frustration At Channel 4 Documentary

6 February 2024

“I feel disappointed that the force has put me in the position of having to defend myself as a good police officer.”

Police officers at Avon and Somerset 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”.

Avon and Somerset Police Federation – the body representing front line officers – has been canvassing the opinions and views of its members following the first episode of the documentary.

More than 400 colleagues responded to a survey about the series.

And the overwhelming response from Federation members was that of anger - with officers saying they felt “let down” by the force.

A feeling that will not have changed after the second episode of the series aired last night (Monday 5 February).

Below are a selection of comments and quotes about the documentary from front line Avon and Somerset Police officers:

“I feel disappointed that the force has put me in the position of having to defend myself as a good police officer.”

“I was deeply saddened to see how our Chief felt the need to highlight our shortcomings to the public, seemingly turning her back on how this was to affect her own Officers and Staff.”

“I feel disappointed in the Constabulary. I feel the backlash from this will be devastating and has made me think of leaving front line policing.”

“I'm absolutely appalled by the decision to allow this show to take place and the Chiefs decision to make this happen makes me feel embarrassed to work for Avon and Somerset.”

“I am a serving police officer of nearly 9 years. I feel let down by the force, and cannot believe that the decision was made to allow the filming of this programme.”

“I have been told by multiple officers they feel so let down and don't know if this is the job for them anymore as there is no support for them.”

“We have enough to deal with without an attack on us.”

“I was proud to join as a Police Constable, but now I feel utterly betrayed and unsupported.”

“This series has destroyed the force, ruined morale and made our jobs harder.”

“The Force, namely the Chief Officers, have sold out officers… without any thought for the impact of those working on the frontline.”

“I thought the whole episode was a complete disaster. I keep looking at the Force's rationale for doing this documentary.”

“Overall I have been left feeling depressed, devalued and demotivated following this documentary.”

“The social media channels are full of hatred for police and the programme seems to have achieved the opposite of its intended consequences.”

“Yet again it feels like we are not supported by Avon and Somerset Police.”

Avon and Somerset Police Federation Vice Chair Iain Prideaux said: “These comments come as no surprise - and they are difficult to read. Morale has been severely dented and even officers’ family members have said how concerned they feel toward their loved ones.

“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.”