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24 September 2014
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New policing documentary gets behind scenes of Police Service of Northern Ireland

At midnight on 3 November 2001, the Royal Ulster Constabulary ceased to exist after almost 80 years.

A new six-part documentary series charts the effects of the change on the rank and file police officers in the new Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and reveals the changes that take place over a six month period.

South City Beat, which starts on BBC ONE Northern Ireland on Monday 20 May, begins with the last day of the RUC. The series gets exclusive access behind the scenes of the PSNI in South Belfast and observes the officers in three local stations in the city as they carry out their policing duties and sees how they adopt their new identity. The exclusive access to the officers also means the viewers will get to see the human side of those featured.

During the series officers - some with more than 20 years' service - speak about their experiences, concerns and anxieties and the role of religion in the service.

The series, made for BBC Northern Ireland by Stirling Productions, follows the police officers as they go about their daily policing tasks in the South Belfast area - dealing with shoplifters, drug-busts, bomb alerts and car theft - in "peacetime".

Anne Stirling, of Stirling Productions and executive producer of South City Beat, said: "This is the first time anyone has got this type of access to the police officers in Northern Ireland. Our cameras get to follow the officers as they carry out their daily policing duties and the series starts with the day the RUC cease to exist and the adoption of the new identify at midnight.

"The series looks at the 'normal' policing duties that are carried out by the officers in three local Belfast stations - Lisburn Road, Donegall Pass and Musgrave Street. It'll be the first time viewers will hear the rank and file officers speak about how they have had to adapt to the changes brought in in 2001 - their doubts and their worries but also what they look forward to and their expectations."

The six-part South City Beat series starts on BBC ONE Northern Ireland on Monday 20 May at 10.35pm.



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