TO Catch a Copper viewers have been left raging after Avon and Somerset’s Counter Corruption Unit failed to catch a single corrupt office in last night’s episode.
Viewers have branded the latest episode of the documentary series “disgraceful” as neither of the offending officers were held to account.
Channel 4’s new documentary series To Catch a Copper follows Avon and Somerset police department’s Counter Corruption Unit, which is led by Amber Redman. It shines a light behind closed doors and gives the public the opportunity to see what happens to police officers who have been accused of crime and how their investigations are handled.
In the third episode, which aired last night, Amber and her team investigated serious allegations of sexual offences committed by officers are investigated – from revenge porn going back years to sexual assault on a new police recruit.
At the beginning of the episode, PC Dave Lovell, an operational support officer, was arrested for suspected revenge porn.
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The allegation came from a woman Dave was in regular contact with for a year, around a decade ago.
Her identity remains anonymous, but Amber did share a recording from her interview.
In it, she explains that the pictures that had been put online without her consent were ones that she had sent to Dave.
Upon discovering the pictures were online, she “just cried.”
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“I just feel like my body has been taken away from me,” the woman added.
After arresting Dave, Amber explained that if the allegations were proven, he could be handed a prison sentence.
When she was talking with another officer outside his interview room, the two discussed how Dave looked “guilty as sin” and as the episode progressed, more allegations against him came to light.
Later in the episode, 18-year-old PC Bryony Trueman, who works for the Avon and Somerset Police Department, spoke to Amber. She came forward with allegations against another officer, Scott Yapp, who was undergoing the same training as her to be a police community support officer.
Bryony explained that she joined the force to make a difference after violence in her childhood led to her being distrustful of the police.
“This was supposed to be my fresh start,” she said.
Bryony recounted Scott’s behaviour, adding that he was “old enough to be my dad.”
She explained that he came up to her and started saying things like, “if I was a bit older, he’d go for me” before initiating physical contact and talking about his sexual experience.
Bryony continued: “He was like ‘do you want a hug?’ I will never forget that feeling. I felt like he was just getting tighter and tighter, just holding me. It just felt awful.
“I just need to be honest because if he went out to a victim … and I never spoke up, I just wouldn’t ever, ever forget myself.”
Amber made a decision on Bryony’s case first, explaining that it was not referred for prosecution because of “insufficient evidence,” despite saying she believed Bryony’s account of events.
While the CCU’s investigation was being carried out, Scott had been suspended with full pay for 15 months. Bryony has remained on the force but said if Scott was reinstated she would leave.
Eventually, the review panel found Scott guilty of gross misconduct, but he had already resigned from the constabulary, so further action was taken.
Viewers watching the documentary were left appalled by the outcome.
Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, one asked: “And this is exactly why victims don’t bother. How do they expect her to work after coming forward with something like that, and them doing absolutely f**k all?”
“How can you call it To Catch a Copper and then have all of them get away with it?” another disgusted viewer said.
While a third added: “If sexual misconduct is ‘extremely serious,’ why was that officer suspended on full pay? Your ‘warnings’ are weak & do not pose any kind of deterrent.”
Later in the episode, a verdict was made on the allegations against Dave. He admitted to committing offences of revenge porn and did not attend the internal hearing. The verdict was a dismissal without notice, but, again, no prison sentence.
Responding to a statement made by his defence counsel at the hearing, one horrified viewer said: “‘He understands and recognises the harm and the damage he has caused’ because he was trained to see and protect others from that harm.”
Another viewer admitted they couldn’t bear to see corrupt officers getting away with such horrific crimes. “I had to switch off To Catch a Copper 10mins in tonight! After the first 2 episodes saw the coppers involved get away scot free, I couldn’t stomach seeing yet another. I could tell was heading the same way,” they said.
While some viewers felt that Dave Lovell being “named and shamed” was progress, others were disgusted with the outcome.
“What an absolute joke. 17 years after his first misconduct and only now they fire him,” one said.”
“Finally, they do actually ‘catch’ one. Yet Dave Lovell still escapes criminal prosecution, like most of them do,” agreed another.
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A third pointed out: “Yet again no prison sentence.”
While a fourth added: “Still waiting for them to actually catch a copper.”