Police defend role in fake TV chase

ESSEX Police has defended its role in a TV documentary show that saw its officers conducting a fake car chase on the county's roads in which they used their blue lights and broke the speed limit.

ESSEX Police has defended its role in a TV documentary show that saw its officers conducting a fake car chase on the county's roads in which they used their blue lights and broke the speed limit.

The high-paced programme Police Interceptors is broadcast on Channel Five and is especially popular among young men and boys.

But safety campaigners have questioned whether or not Essex Police should have taken part in the making of a programme screened last week in which a driver was given a 20 minute head-start in a high-performing car before being pursued and caught by road policing officers.

According to the force, the hour-long chase, which ended up in south Essex, formed part of a genuine training exercise and at no point put members of the public in danger.


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However today Katie Shephard of road safety organisation Brake, said: “While not wanting to comment specifically, we would urge any of the emergency services to always consider whether it is absolutely necessary to travel with blues and twos on, or break the speed limit.”

However an Essex Police spokesman said: “Police Interceptors has given viewers throughout the UK the chance to see how Essex Police fights crime and improves road safety.

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“The programme has received widespread praise and this is reflected in the viewing figures.

“The officers are advanced police pursuit drivers who have had many years' experience as road policing officers.”

The spokesman said that as a result of the series, the force had been able to educate not only a wide audience but especially young male drivers, a traditionally hard-to-reach, high-risk group.

“Above all, it gives us a chance to show criminals who enter Essex we mean business - we will actively target them, making arrests, seizing their cars and property and prosecute them.”

The spokesman said that Essex Police had helped producers stage three scenarios during the filming of the second series of the programme.

The first demonstrated the roadside drink-drive procedure and its associated road safety message, another highlighted offences associated with bodywork modifications, and the final one a training exercise for officers when dealing with a stolen vehicle tracker-activation.

“This exercise, along with the two mock-ups, was clearly indicated as being staged on television, and not actual criminal incidents.

“The production team hired their own helicopter for the series to improve their filming ability - our helicopter was used solely for operational and training purposes.”

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