Canny Cops

Available on BBC iPlayer as a 3-episode box set from 10am on Wednesday 3 July

Ep 1-3/3

Wednesday 3 July

From 10.00am


Darkly comic, surprising and inviting, this series will take us into the heart of an often overlooked corner of the country, as seen through the eyes of the cops and the charismatic, witty and complex people they police.

A documentary series with unprecedented access to Durham Constabulary and the communities of Peterlee and the surrounding areas on the North East coast. 

Years of austerity have disproportionately affected the North East of England, and County Durham is now home to some of the most acute areas of deprivation in Britain. This is a region that was once the epicentre of England’s Industrial North East, and the birthplace of the steam railway. But now the pits and the factories have closed, and the thriving railway industry has gone. For the communities who live here and the officers charged with keeping them in line, there’s no place like home.

Life might be tough and towns might be astonishingly remote, but everyone connected with this part of the world is bound by a humour as dark as the pits themselves.

Nevertheless, high levels of crime and drugs mean the police have their work cut out for them. But when you’re on first-name terms with the criminals, it’s hard not to do the job with a smile on your face and go the extra mile to get people on the straight and narrow.

Filmed over seven months, this raw and revelatory documentary series takes you both sides of the custody cell door and into the heart of a community that doesn’t mince its words.

Episode one
Local cop Terry takes on a new role to target offenders in the remote village of Horden. Top of his list is 26 year-old Shauna, whose house in the numbered streets of Horden is regularly frequented by some of the areas well-known criminals. Meanwhile, a masked man steals over £3,000 in an armed robbery at a bookies on the numbered streets.

Episode two
Sergeant Terry continues to set his sights set on a well-known local resident in the numbered streets in Horden: 26 year-old Shauna. When the police hear that there are drugs at her notorious party house, Terry wants to give her one final warning to go on the straight and narrow.

In neighbouring Dawdon, a man is suspected of stabbing a local resident. But with a historic lack of trust between the community and the police, finding out where he’s hiding is no easy task when nobody will talk.

Episode three
In the final episode of the series the police are trying to put a stop to the huge numbers of crimes committed by local heroin addicts.  At 27 years old,  Ashlea has been arrested 69 times, and is a one-woman crime-wave who keeps offending to feed her habit.

Meanwhile, Detective Hoggy is on the hunt for another heroin addict and prolific thief who’s on the run for multiple offences.

Pictured: Sergeant Terry and Police Community Support Officer Vikki