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Monday, 28 July 2014

Meet West Cumbria’s TV cops

A group of West Cumbrian police officers are getting a taste of celebrity in a Channel 5 TV crime show.

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COPS ON CAMERA: West Cumbrian officers are starring in Channel 5’s Police Interceptors TV series, from left: PC John Firth, Sgt Darren Bawden, PC Angus Benzie and PC Iain Parsons

Ten episodes of Police Interceptors, on Monday nights, feature officers from the roads policing unit, tactical support group, dogs section and firearms operation unit of Cumbria police.

Film crews spent five months following police as they responded to calls and executed warrants.

Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow, who heads the operational support teams, agreed to allow the cameras access to his officers’ day-to-day work.

He said: “Throughout the series there are different aspects of road safety covered – some police pursuits, drink driving, some serious collisions.

“I’m hoping that all that together will make all motorists, but particularly young people, understand the dangerous thing that driving is and make them think about not taking risks.”

He said the series also showed how police with specialist skills contributed to general, every day policing.

He said: “I asked the producers to get a flavour across of what policing in the county is like and showcase Cumbria a bit.”

Monday’s episode included a raid on a house in Workington in which heroin was found and officers apprehending a drink driver, also in Workington.

Ch Insp Greenhow said the show had received positive feedback.

Age: 40.

Role: Roads policing unit.

Stationed at: Workington.

Why did you join Cumbria Constabulary? Transferred to Cumbria from West Yorkshire Police in 2001. Moved for a better quality of life for me and my family.

Length of time in current role: Nine years.

Highlights: While on RPU I have been involved in a number of jobs targeting criminals transporting controlled drugs into Cumbria. These have resulted in substantial amounts of drugs been seized and custodial sentences for the criminals involved.

What’s it been like to be on Police Interceptors? It has been okay. It initially felt strange having cameraman out on patrol but after a few days I got used to it.

How do you think the show has benefited Cumbria police? I think it has shown the many different types of incidents that we are involved in throughout the county and has definitely got local people talking. It can only be a good thing for the force.

Age: 43.

Role: Sergeant on the roads policing unit.

Stationed at: Workington.

Why did you join Cumbria Constabulary? I have been in the police for 22 years and I joined Cumbria police in 2003 having had previous service with Cheshire Constabulary and British Transport Police. I joined Cumbria as I am from Egremont and decided to return here with my family having lived away for 13 years.

Length of time in current role: Five years.

Highlights: I was involved in the hunts for both Derrick Bird and Raoul Moat in my role as an authorised firearms officer. The 2009 floods were memorable for the wrong reasons when we lost our friend and colleague Bill Barker. I was on duty at the time and it is a moment I will never forget.

Cases/jobs involved in on the show: In episode two I was involved in stopping and arresting three men on Stainburn bypass. They were brought back to Workington Police Station and drugs were recovered from the vehicle. One of the males has since been charged with possession with intent to supply controlled drugs.

In episode four I was involved in the arrest of a local male in Workington who had taken his sister’s car and crashed it while I was keeping it under observation. The male later blew 132 on the breathalyser which is almost four times the legal drink drive limit. He received a custodial sentence at court.

What’s it been like to be on Police Interceptors? At first it was strange having a camera following you around and filming almost non-stop but you do get used to it.

How do you think the show has benefited Cumbria police? I think the show has made people aware of what we do on a day-to-day basis. Unlike other police shows that have been full of what you would call the Gucci jobs – pursuits, etc – this show has given an insight into the day-to-day policing we do here in Cumbria. It also shows what a nice place Cumbria is to live and our crime levels are relatively low compared to the rest of the country.

Cumbria’s roads policing unit has what we call a dual role so as well as dealing with incidents on the major roads in the county such as serious or fatal collisions we are also a firearms response unit, which makes our role very diverse.

Age: 38.

Role: Roads policing unit firearms officer/police motorcyclist.

Stationed at: Workington.

Why did you join Cumbria Constabulary? I joined in 2006 for a change of career.

Length of time in current role: Four years.

Highlights: Deployed to Olympics on firearms venue security at the rowing village in Surrey. Biggest cases: Derrick Bird, Raoul Moat.

Cases/jobs involved in on the show: I was involved in the arrest of a drink driver who blew four times over the legal limit and was in police which got stuck in the sand near Millom.

What’s it been like to be on Police Interceptors? Different.

How do you think the show has benefited Cumbria police? It has increased public awareness of what officers face and I think it has made the public feel more involved in tackling crime.

Age: 44.

Role: Roads policing unit/firearms officer.

Stationed at: Workington.

Why did you join Cumbria Constabulary? I joined in 2006 for job security.

Length of time in current role: Four years.

Cases/jobs involved in on the show: IBIS firearms incident – Millom firearms incident.

What’s it been like to be on Police Interceptors? Not a nice experience.

How do you think the show has benefited Cumbria police? The public will like to see what happens in their own area.

Have your say

Interesting to see the programme is using incidents from years ago, like when the motorcyclist went up to Lilyhall and the bypass was still under construction.

I also find it quite unbelievable that some of the participants have such a low level of intelligence - like the two lads outside Tesco. Do people like that really exist, or were they just stand-ins padding out for time?

Posted by I Clouseau on 5 March 2013 at 10:39

It is interesting to see a bit more of what the police do and how they do it.
Has Cumbria Constabulary's dress code changed? Whilst respresenting the organisation, shouldn't tattoos be covered up? I have nothing against tattoos, but I didn't think it looked very professional whilst the officer was on duty being filmed.

Posted by Kate on 27 February 2013 at 10:52

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