back to article Home Office bankrolls plastic plod 'documentaries'

Ofcom is probing Home Office sponsorship of an ITV "documentary" on police community support officers. The broadcasting regulator has yet to launch a formal investigation, sort of like the PCSOs themselves. The Home Office paid £800,000 to sponsor two series of Beat: Life on the Street about police community support officers …


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  1. Hugh_Pym
    Black Helicopters

    Newspeak, Doublespeak.

    Should the Home Office now be called Minisafe?

  2. Andy H

    Black hole

    Not a Sci-fi show but a programme highlighting government IT procurement

    and its sequel Black Hole II: The quantum of expense.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Openness and transparency

    Should they not openly and transparently state, "The following programme is Government funded propaganda" at the start of the show so that viewers know to take it with a pinch of salt?

  4. david

    Bleat: Life on the Sheep

    Welsh paliament sponsors a documentary about the pleasures of living in Wales...

    The one with the wellies...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And your point is?

    Not actually sure what the point of this is, or what Ofcom thinks it might be investigating.

    So what if government sponsors this kind of documentary, its not a secret.

    The one I would like to see is about the crack teams of HMRC Investigators who track down people who don't pay tax, a far more interesting subject, no really, that following DWP investigators bullying unemployed single parents for 1p overpayments, or stopping their benefits because a friend has stayed for a while.

    No lets see HMRC bringing to book the great and the good who think tax doesn't apply to them.

  6. TeeCee Gold badge

    Let's get this straight.

    The taxpayer funds the state broadcaster via the TV tax (aka License fee). The government decides that it's tentacles aren't getting enough positive publicity from da meejuh, so the taxpayer pays *again* to fund the production of more government-friendly pap disguised as documentaries.

    I could spit, except you've neglected to provide the name of the minister that I should spit on.

  7. James Anderson

    I'll sign your expenses - you sign mine.

    Yet another example of the incestious relationship between the media and politics.

    The basic equation goes like this you donote funds to the party and donate your time to the election campaign, then, we win the election and throw lots of taxpayers money in your direction.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Talk about propoganda, do these shows come with a warning before hand

    "This show is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice."


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes Prime Minister

    a hard-hitting examination of the question of whether a prime minister should retire early.

    Alternatively, a 1980s comedy show where nearly every single episode was a 20-year-early forecast of the behaviour of the current government ("never setup an enquiry without knowing in advance what it's findings will be", "don't lift lids of cans of worms", etc etc).

  10. Les Matthew
    Black Helicopters

    What else is new?

    Government funds propaganda?

  11. Leigh Smith

    Save some cash

    Why not save some money and forgo the OFCOM investigation and just jump right to the inevitable conclusion that the Government didn't do anything wrong.

  12. anonymous sms

    Neo Labour

    Government sponsored TV programs being passed off as independent documentaries is entering into a very dangerous area.

  13. david

    Bleep: Life on the Sheet

    NHS sponsors a documentary on the lifecycle of the MRSA virus...

    The one with the acohol gel in the pocket.

  14. Dazed and Confused
    Black Helicopters

    Surely this is a party political broadcast

    And should be paid for out of New Labour's funds.

    To say they have no influence over content is clearly rubbish,

    "he who pays the piper calls the tune"

    or at least

    "the piper plays the right tune if they want to get paid next time"

    As in they're so happy with the result they are going to give the film make a whole pile more cash to make some more.

    how do you spell SLEAZE these days?

  15. Dave


    That about sums it up.

  16. amanfromMars Silver badge

    What then does the BBC Licence fee/Stealth Tax buy in Public Service Propaganda terms? .

    Precious little new and of any real Future Value apparently whenever the Programming is just old repeats, and fruity turns like an unkempt Ross....... and of course a generous dose of dopey kitchen soaps ...... and toys for the boys like Clarkson and Co?

    Marks out of Ten for Effort? ...... Nul Point.

    Three questions there, just in case there are any answers.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps someone who isn't at work could

    post the YouTube link to the film of two Oxford St plastic plods making idiots of themselves by trying to move on a photographer, apparently on the dubious grounds that he's not a tourist.

  18. Graham Marsden

    @Newspeak, Doublespeak.

    > Should the Home Office now be called Minisafe?

    Surely you mean "MiniTruth"!

    Mine's the one with my Citizen Number stenciled on the back.

  19. StooMonster
    Black Helicopters

    Did the 'Ministry of Justice' pay for this before or after...

    ...the two 'plastic plods' watched a child drown after saving his sister because they had "health and safety" worries (for themselves)?

    PSCOs: yet more clip-board whielding wastes-of-space / job-creation jobworths from Big Nanny.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perception is everything

    The perception is that the level of street crime is at an all time high.

    Either the government makes tough decisions to address crime or.....

    they alter people's perceptions

  21. dervheid

    @ Tee Cee

    Just take your pick. They're pretty much all overdue

  22. Tawakalna
    Paris Hilton

    doon with Broon...

    "No lets see HMRC bringing to book the great and the good who think tax doesn't apply to them."

    that would be most of the Noo-Labour glitterati and media darlings then.

    Of course, a completely independent and objective public enquiry can be set up to investigate this matter and whitewash erm sorry I mean conclude that HM Govt acted quite properly and above board and it was all the fault of the BBC/a scientist/smokers/car owners/men or whoever is the current bete noire of Harriet Harman's focus group.

    Paris, 'cos I'd rather she was in power than this Noo-Labour shower of sh*t.

  23. The BigYin

    Ah, just like most authoritarian regimes

    Use every outlet to spout pro-government propaganda.

    Although I am unsure why the ITV/Sky tie-up. Is the public getting wise to the fact that the BBC is unabashedly pro-Labour; reporting every piece of party spin without criticism.

  24. Bronek Kozicki

    on the bright side

    I see that Ofcom strives for better standards than those set in other countries. TV is used for government propaganda all over the world and I doubt one can fight with it. Making it visible and transpart is another matter.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @Yes Prime Minister

    "...nearly every single episode was a 20-year-early forecast of the behaviour of the current government"

    Correction: the behaviour of EVERY government

    That's what made the program such a hit - it showed exactly what every government does when it's in power - doesn't matter who they are or what party it is. It's been like that forever - just read your history books! (Not the state sponsored versions of history of course)

  26. Joseph Gregory

    A Convenient Truth

    Have a documentary on why teachers have such large, free car parks at schools to encourage them to drive, but tell parents they should not use their cars to take disabled children to school but that the child should walk.

    Even better, on why the government are now forced to admit that they are defrauding the motorist by fiddling the figures on the expected drop in pollution on the new, confusing, retrospective vehicle taxes? After spending £millions on such negligence why is no minister to be sacked, but given the usual huge pay rise for failure?

    Of course, they would have to create a real Ministry of Justice first.

  27. Echowitch
    Paris Hilton

    @Andy H "Blackhole"

    Now now no besmirching the name of a fine film by associating it with rotten criminals or I'll have to send V.I.N.C.E.N.T. round to sort you out ;)

    Paris, because she always looks like a brain dead robot in pictures.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I paid for its production through my taxes. I pay the license fee on top to watch it. And the new one is going on sky so ill have to pay more to watch it.


    Or maybe its a positive that I wont be able to watch it. It would probably only make me mad anyway.

  29. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Up

    @AC "Yes Prime Minister "

    Actually, most of the episodes of both YM and YPM were based on real incidents that had happened under previous administrations or the one then in power - including the Badgers of Wootton Wawen, the Dog on Salisbury Plain and, famously, The Keys. So close to reality were they that they were actually required viewing when I was doing Politics A level (which I passed, in the fullness of time, after due consideration and having regard to all the circumstances...).

  30. JCL

    @ Yes Prime Minister

    You're right, heard the Yes Minister episode about the central ID database on the radio the other day - it was rib ticklingly ridiculous at the time.

  31. Wokstation

    Propoganda, propoganda, propoganda

    Hey, if I say it three times it becomes a soundbite, right? :D

  32. Scott

    The All New Muppets

    The Muppets do politics, Harriet or Smith for Miss Piggy....

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mi brane hutz

    This must be a some naturally occuring misunderstanding.... what could the government possibly acheive by slipping just short a million quid into the back pocket of a media company and then asking them to produce a documentary or two on their behalf? Do you people mean to imply that something unproper might have has happened? That really couldn't possibly be the case, after all, the government are so particularly careful to declare all of their expenses and their vested interests; they always avoid conflicts of interests and never resort to nepotism; they are quick to divulge their contributors and always refuse to take on private jobs in industry as rewards for any favourable politics that may have transpired; without a shadow of a doubt our government are the epitome of scruples and honesty and I am proud of their long established history carefully consider all of the implications within their policies in a clear and succinct manner.






    [/complete gobshit]

  34. Rob

    Plastic Plod?

    Surely the correct term is C3PO?

  35. Tom Willis
    IT Angle

    @JCL - central ID database/YPM

    The 1980s spoof National Registry was 'priced' at £35M, while our current one is somewhere skywards of 200 times that - has the pound really devalued so much, or has computing become that much less good value in 25 years?

    Or, hmm lessee, does government gold-plating make up the difference, or private partnership overhead, or... well anyway, what a bargain that 1980s version would have been heh.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in the good old days

    government propaganda had Central Office of Information or BBC at the bottom of it.

  37. Anonymous John

    Passport Office

    Episode 1. 3000 blank passports are stolen, and the Government claims this proves that we need ID cards.

    Er, wait a minute...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hazel the Jihadi Slayer

    30 second pitch.

    Permanently short and painfully cheerful Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, mounts her hog (that's a bike BTW.) to root out extremist behaviour around Britain. Armed with nothing more than a chirpy attitude and a government green paper she's our last bet hope to protect the New Labour Project.

  39. Wayland Sothcott

    Partly Political Broadcast

    It's only partly propaganda in that the first serious could have come out badly. Somehow the makers seemed to know what the Home Office was looking for without them even asking. Ofcom won't find a problem. There won't be a memo that says "could you cut out the bits where the PCSO look bad and keep in the bits that make them look good"

    It's used to dupe us and it's paid for out of our own money. Well DUH! Ofcourse it is, that's what government does.

    They are switching to PCSO's because they are cheaper. This means you also get people who want to be police even if the money is not good and they are not up to being real police. People say plastic police don't have enough power, expect that to change soon, and it won't be a good thing. Like Lollipop ladies all sorts of people will pop up in flouresant jackets, knighted with slightly more power than your average person. Like a first aid course there will be a 'Community Assistance Officer' course where road sweepers can raise their profile for the good of their community. Neighbourhood watch are getting special powers to nick people for speeding, Parish Councils are recieving speed gun licences. All of these things are going to need positive spin on TV.

    We are becoming a nation of jumped up plastic police.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People watch ITV?

    At least this goes some way to explain why ITV are incapable of producing anything that resembles decent documentary these days. With the Man from the Ministry playing back seat FCP editor, narrative, rationale and objectivity were always going to go for an extended lunch hour. Maybe if they sponsored the Today programme they wouldn't have to suffer the mauling dealt out to 'Sheepman' Darling this morning.

    While doing this is apparently not illegal, it is immoral and therefore entirely in keeping with our repugnant government. If I was Eton Dave, I'd be cranking up the nasal whine in protest.

    It was all simpler in the days when a Plastic Pig was a three wheeled car and therefore a bit more useful than the current incarnation.

  41. chris

    Big Brother

    ...not just a TV programme but a maker of TV programmes

  42. Chris G
    Dead Vulture

    How About

    A propagandumentry on how the various governments are able to form endless numbers of quangos composed of sundry non-experts on their particular subject, who then have sweeping powers to make liberty restraining laws without reference to parliament. Whilst at the same time draining vast amounts of money out of government coffers to their own benefit and improving life in Britain not one bit.

    A title suggestion would be SHAFTED.

    The dead vulture in this case represents British democracy.

  43. n
    Black Helicopters

    ...and the rest

    oh! ...and i thought, "casualty" and "teachers" being commissioned by the bbc at the time of industry staff shortages was just coincidence....

    (requesting a "psychic uri" icon)

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