To Catch a Copper, review: real-life Line of Duty is welcome, but won’t restore faith in police
The Telegraph says It has come to something when the best way the police can convince the public of their essential goodness is to invite a documentary crew to film them rooting out the bad apples. But it’s a welcome exercise in transparency. To Catch a Copper (Channel 4) follows the work of the counter-corruption unit in one force, Avon and Somerset.
The cases featured in this first episode were of varying levels of seriousness. Two officers were filmed – on their own bodycams – treating a disabled mental health patient with mockery after being asked to help in returning her to hospital. One could be heard muttering “f—ing b—h”, although later claimed this was directed at a passing cyclist.
That was at the mild end of things. Far more shocking were the two female constables answering a call about a suicidal woman who had threatened to jump from Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. Almost immediately, they arrested her for causing a public nuisance, and treated her with what looked on screen like excessive force – holding her by the hair or with a hand around her neck, then pepper-spraying her while she was handcuffed in the back of the car. The alarming thing here was that the main officer featured in the footage didn’t act out of rage or hot-headedness, but a kind of blasé callousness, chewing gum all the while. One of the senior officers who reviewed the film said that it showed “a level of malevolence” and inhumanity.