Crime show kept on TV despite police doubt: Officers feel programmes increase fear

LONDON Weekend Television said yesterday it intended to go ahead with production of a new series of Michael Winner's True Crimes despite apparent criticism from senior police officers who believe such programmes increase public fear and waste police time.

Paul Condon, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has endorsed a Scotland Yard internal policy paper setting out 'new parameters' for officers assisting programme-makers, which criticises lurid depictions of past offences.

It is thought to be aimed at programmes like the True Crimes series, rather than shows such as Crimewatch UK, which is deemed helpful to the police in solving crime and could soon be adopted nation-wide.

But Simon Shaps, LWT's controller of factual programmes, said yesterday that the company's policy on such programmes remained unchanged - they demonstrate the intricacies of police detective work.

LWT said it had enjoyed co-operation of police forces with the making of Crime Monthly, a regional programme in the London area, and the True Crimes series. It said the programmes aimed to explain how the police operate.

The Association of Chief Police Officers will next month consider whether forces nation-wide should also adopt the paper. The association's media advisory committee, chaired by Richard Wells, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, is expected to issue recommendations when it meets, a spokesman said.

'Police forces are aware of the need to make the best possible use of resources and, in providing information to the media on old cases simply for entertainment purposes, chief constables have to ask themselves if it is the best possible use of police officers' time,' he said.

'The interests of the police, the public and certainly the victims of these particular crimes need to be considered very carefully.'

True life crime drama is part of a long British broadcasting tradition stretching back to Edgar Lustgarten, a barrister whose televised reconstruction of murders and other crimes were popular in the 1950s.

Even if the police decide on a full boycott, programmes could still be made using the advice of former senior police officer contracted to programme makers such as LWT.

But there is concern in some broadcasting circles that programmes are glamourising crime. Michael Grade, Channel 4's chief executive, is on record as saying: 'It is real life crime purely for entertainment and for no other purpose. Terrifying crimes are sensationally presented in a glamorous production, out of context for maximum effect and sadly, unwittingly, maximum fear.'

Scotland Yard said: 'There is no intention to withdraw total support for these programmes, but the best use of police resources and the possibility of increasing the fear of crime have to be considered.

'No specific television programmes have been named in the document. Prior to implementation, programme-makers will be informed of any new parameters within which the Metropolitan Police will co-operate.'

Leading article, page 15

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable