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11th Jul 2024

Police condemn new ITV comedy show with “highly offensive” name

Ryan Price

The series is about trainee police officers.

ITV has faced criticism from the Police Federation of England and Wales after giving a new comedy series a title they deem to be “highly offensive”.

The show is called Piglets – a word that has long been used as a derogatory slang word for police officers – and is due to air later this month on ITV1 primetime and will be available to stream on ITVX.

A press release describes the programme as follows: “The government’s stated policy of recruiting 20,000 new police officers in double-quick time has not come at the cost of lowering standards. Or has it?

Piglets follows a newly recruited group of six very different would-be cops and the handful of key staff whose thankless task it is to knock them into some kind of shape.”

After the description of the show came to the attention of the Police Federation of England and Wales, the organisation’s chair issued a statement of their own.

Tiffany Lynch said it was a “disgusting choice of language to use for the title of a TV programme.”

“The new ITV show titled ‘Piglets’ is highly offensive to police officers risking their lives to protect the public every day providing an emergency service,” Lynch added.

“I find it incredulous that this has passed through checks and balances at an organisation made up of people who at any time have or may need the support and assistance of the police.

“Our colleagues are working hard and keeping people safe under relentless negative pressure at the moment, insulting our new in service officers is unhelpful.”

She continued: “The name of this show is also inflammatory against a landscape of rising threats and violence against officers. We should not be put at further risk for viewing numbers, our officers deserve respect not humiliation for the job they are undertaking.

“It is actually incredibly dangerous to incite more negativity and misinformation against a public sector service that’s already under so much pressure.”

Responding to the criticism, ITV said: “Piglets is a fictional new comedy about a police training academy and the title is not intended to cause any offence, it’s a comedic and endearing play on words to emphasise the innocence and youth of our young trainees.”

The show, from the award-winning team behind hit comedies such as Green Wing and Smack the Pony, features Sarah Parish and Mark Heap as two superintendents overseeing the training of the next batch of recruits.

The term “pigs” for police was popularised in the 1960s after it was used among the Black Panthers protest group.