The final episode of The Detectives has just been broadcast and it has proved to be disturbing, thought-provoking and compelling in equal measure. It was able to have objectivity but also to show the human faces on all sides of the investigation. For many people who will never need to meet the police – they are just a uniform but this programme showed they are much more.
Behind every uniform is a human being a real person who has a family, bills to pay and domestic chores to do. The only thing that is different is that they have a critical job to tackle crime, support victims and make communities safer. To do this they have some significant powers but that doesn’t mean they stop being human.
I blogged recently about the importance of recognising the contribution that the emergency services make to society. It is something that we often take for granted and yet it is so vital to safety and security. Watching The Detectives was an odd experience as it covered issues that as a police communicator the team have to deal with on a daily basis. The difference here was that we got to see all sides and most importantly the victims.
I have worked in police communication for 14 years and have played my part in publicising appeals and raising awareness of important issues. I have assisted investigation teams and shared the joy and relief of an arrest, charge and conviction but also the despair at a case that either doesn’t get solved, get to court or get a conviction. The police communicator has an important role supporting frontline officers and it is a responsibility that people take extremely seriously. They have to be dedicated individuals, creative, determined and persistent.
For the past three nights though the world I know from work has been brought home in a stark but emotional way. It has hopefully given an important insight for victims or anyone affected by rape and sexual assault. Beyond that it was a reminder that police officers are more than a uniform they are real people who do a job like no other.