Nottinghamshire police ‘not like The Bill’ – report

Nottinghamshire Police are “nothing like ITV’s The Bill” when it comes to the fight against crime and antisocial behaviour, according to a report released by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

The report found that Nottinghamshire Police did not conform “in any way” to the HMIC standard policing template of the fictional character PC Reg Hollis. “We found the results of this investigation quite disheartening,” says HMIC spokesman Peter Ian. “We realise that the Reg Hollis template sets the bar very high, but we’d at least expect most forces to achieve PC Tony Stamp or Sgt June Ackland status. Stamp is the current national average, although our aim is for that to increase to Inspector Monroe-level over the next year. After these latest sets of results, however, this aim is looking far less achievable to the point where we’re actually pleased when a force achieves Bob Cryer status.”

Nottinghamshire Police fared worst in the study, finishing bottom after falling three places from alcoholic 45-year-old uniformed officer Jim Carver to the lowest awardable status – that of inappropriately-named young rookie officer Timothy Able, who appeared in the show from 1989-1990. Greater Manchester and Lincolnshire also fared badly, scoring just Honey Harman and Emma Keane respectively.

It wasn’t all bad news, however, as several forces scored quite highly, with Cleveland topping the rankings after a remarkable transformation from Brian Kite to Dave Quinnan since last year’s study. Surrey also fared particularly well, scoring an impressive DCI Jack Meadows, as did Merseyside, Northumbria and Hertfordshire.

Actor Graham Cole, who played PC Tony Stamp in the long-running show until 2009, said yesterday that the results were “disappointing overall”. The unassuming voice of ITV4’s Police Stop! added: “It doesn’t do much for public confidence in modern policing, does it? When I started in the show, back in 1984, you didn’t have ‘reasonable force’ – ANY force was ‘reasonable’ if it got the job done. I remember one time around 1986 when me and Carver had this lad in custody and he just wasn’t talking. Jim calmly walked across the interview room, paused the tape and held him down while I gave him a good shoe to the side of his head – that’s where I got the nickname ‘Stamp’ from. That, and the fact that it was my character’s actual surname, obviously.

“Fictional policing was far better back in the 80s. You could get away with so much more. For instance, there was one time we did a raid on this drug dealer’s house. Real piece of dirt, he was. Me and a couple of the other actors gave him a right good hiding before taking him down the other end of the studios where the nick was located and confiscating his hold-all. Burnside was with me when we were going through his stuff and we couldn’t believe it – there must have been over £100,000 in there, all in twenties. Frank turned to me and went ‘No-one’s gonna miss a couple of them bundles, are they?’ as we pocketed five grand each. At the end of the shoot the producers let me and Chris Ellison take them home. My heart was pounding as I got back to my flat and flung the wad onto my dining table to count the money. Imagine my disappointment as I realised that the only twenties in the entire pile were on the top and bottom. There was only £40 in the whole bundle – no wonder the studio let us keep it! We’d been stitched up good and proper, like a right couple of mugs. Then I got a call from Sun Hill telling me not to attempt spending the £40, as the £20 notes they had used for the piles were only photocopies. Unbelievable! What an insult. Luckily, I was able to take out my anger on a suspect the next day…”

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