I must admit I have a tendency to watch those Cop shows on TV when nothing else is on, and might have had a walk on part in years gone by. One thing I don't do is allow my face to be shown - ever. Not great for the producers but if you don't like it don't film me. I've got a face best suited for radio anyway.
What you do see on screen are of course heavily edited segments of incidents put together to show a realistic and entertaining snap shot of policing today. I'm not saying that all the participants are put under pressure but as I understand it a small financial fee may come the way of the police, so it is expected the front line will co-operate.
What would worry me and I think alot of young officers don't give it much thought is the future impact on their policing careers. If you've appeared on these shows they have a tendency to be repeated on a loop, sometimes years afterwards. It may be on some obscure cable channel but rest assured that is exactly the viewing fare our client base enjoy. I think it's because they have a good laugh at the end of the programme, when the voice over gives out the sentences imposed for the misdemeanours earlier in the show. I'm often in tears myself - but mine are of despair.
So how can you be selected for specialised surveillance work or even proper undercover roles if you've been plastered all over the latest cop show? The reality is you can't. These day's having a Facebook account is enough to end your application at an early stage.
It would be nice however to see a warts and all police programme showing the reality of policing in 2009, not just the exciting bits. I think depending where they based it - there might be some uncomfortable viewing for the public and politicians alike. It could however bring about positive changes. Of course it would be career suicide for any senior officer who allowed it.
Having said all that the ex DC who does Crimewatch seems to have done OK from his media exposure. As I'm getting on in years I might just be tempted if a six figure contract was waved my way to defect to a TV career, and YES I'm available for Bod of the week in Heat magazine too. Just speak to my agent darlings.
Click on the YouTube link .. this cracks me up every time .. don't know why