Police reality shows build trust

The reality of reality police television shows is that police don't get paid for their appearances and such shows help build ''public trust and confidence'', a spokeswoman says.

Haven't I seen you somewhere?

Figures released to the Otago Daily Times reveal police officers were involved in 91 separate television programmes between 2009 and 2014.

Those shows include Police Ten 7 (240 episodes), Dog Squad (93), Motorway Patrol (60 episodes), Road Cops (45 episodes) and Water Patrol (39 episodes).

And more are likely.

Police public affairs deputy chief executive Karen Jones said ''many programmes have traditionally used an inform, educate and entertain principle''.

''However, police are increasingly working with production companies to illustrate today's modern policing environment with our prevention and victim-centric focus.''

Shows for 2014 include Nabbed (10 episodes), Women in Blue (eight episodes), Coastwatch (six episodes) and two television movies Project L (based on the autobiography of Louise Nicholas) and Operation Venus and Mars (investigation into an arson and attack on a Palmerston North detective.

The docudrama Erebus: Operation Overdue screened on Sunday.

Police received many proposals from production companies but not all were accepted, she said.

Programmes accepted were assessed to see of they assisted police in achieving a strategic objective, such as crime and crash reduction, and ''if they added to public confidence in police''.

''There is considerable public trust and confidence value from being involved in police-related reality TV programming.

''Although much of the fly-on-the-wall observational style of programming is entertainment-oriented, the programmes do raise awareness about the police role, the work officers undertake and social issues which impact on communities,'' Ms Jones said.

She confirmed no payments had been made to New Zealand Police for their participation in the shows.

Some shows, such as Police Ten 7 helped police solve crime, while those focused on road policing helped ''encourage behavioural change''.

''New Zealand Police is continually assessing our involvement in reality television, and the opportunities it can generate.''

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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