I’ve only just found the article posted below, from the Daily Express, but it was actually published the very day before my own first UK police novel went on sale.
Having spent many years in the police myself, I wasn’t too worried that I would have committed any serious transgressions, although of course I did strive to leave out as much as possible about the tedium and long-winded nature of many police investigations, but in reality that is a necessity for a writer, not an option.
My own top-six “hates” when watching or reading a story about the British police are:
- Inspector Morse, as entertaining as the programme might be, could not have kept his forename to himself. An officer’s full name has to be written on every report and every statement made, and announced publicly every time an officer gives evidence in court. So it could be no secret, even if he made every Endeavour to keep it so!
- British police officers do not “read their rights” to people, they caution them and later report or charge them. Britain is not America!
- Similarly, British people do not and cannot “press charges” and cannot “withdraw charges,” either. Again, Britain is not America! The police and then the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] make all such decisions.
- The portrayal in stories of uniformed officers as being less clever or less involved in major incidents is as laughable as it is offensive. Apart from there being a constant need for teamwork across many disciplines in the police, many excellent officers have no interest whatsoever in working for the C.I.D. (Criminal Investigation Department).
- Detectives share identical status to their uniformed brethren of the same rank; becoming a detective is not a promotion and certainly gives no authority over a non-detective of the same rank. Once again, this is Britain, not America.
- Lastly, as it states in the article, details of cases are never, ever, discussed in front of members of the public or anyone else who does not have an adequate and legally justifiable need to know.