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Police misconduct documentary will hopefully improve trust – chief constable

A chief constable has said she hopes a new documentary series on the way police investigate misconduct allegations about their colleagues will “improve trust and confidence” in the force.

The three-part Channel 4 series, To Catch A Copper, will provide a behind-the-scenes look at Avon and Somerset’s professional standards department (PSD) as they look into cases brought against their own officers.

The episodes will focus on mental health, sexual misconduct and race.

Avon and Somerset Police invited production company Story Films to start filming with their PSD, including their counter-corruption unit, in 2019.

Chief Constable Sarah Crew said they “could never have foreseen the intense publicity and scrutiny this area of policing would experience over the following years”.

The Metropolitan Police have been rocked by several high-profile scandals in recent years, including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens and the unmasking of former constable David Carrick as a serial abuser and rapist.

Ms Crew added: “It’s abundantly clear the public’s confidence in policing has been critically dented by the horrific actions of officers like Wayne Couzens and David Carrick, and urgent recovery work must be undertaken to restore this precious bond we have with our communities.

“We knew that taking part in this documentary would be a controversial decision.

“Public institutions can be reluctant to open themselves up to this level of scrutiny, but people will see that we’re facing into the issues, however uncomfortable, which I hope will help to improve trust and confidence in our ability to police by consent.

“I want people to see that we understand their concerns and we’re taking robust action to tackle all forms of misconduct, rooting out those who have no place in this profession and making sure they can never serve again.”

She said the documentary series will show the “challenges and complexities of the misconduct regime” which she said is undergoing “further significant change” after public concern.

Ms Crew also apologised for the “harm and distress” the cases featured have caused, saying they are “upsetting and appalling” and they “wish they had never happened”.

She added: “These cases are the exception and not the rule.

“They do not reflect on the professionalism and caring approach of the vast majority of officers and staff who are passionate about their role in keeping people safe, as well as fighting for fairness and justice.

“Everyone has a role to play in creating a culture of upstanding and not bystanding, a culture which calls out misconduct for what it is, challenges those who don’t share our values and doesn’t tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment or inappropriate behaviour.”

The Channel 4 series, To Catch A Copper, will air on Monday nights from January 29.