Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick has said she was “outraged” by BBC drama Line of Duty despite the programme leading to an increase in applications to the force.
Ms Dick said she was unimpressed with the portrayal of corruption in the hit police show.
“I was absolutely outraged by the level of casual and extreme corruption that was being portrayed as the way the police is in 2018,” she said.
“It’s so far from that. The standards and professionalism are so high.”
Line of Duty follows an anti-corruption police unit, whose aim is to uncover corrupt officers that have links to organised crime groups.
“I thought she was quite interesting and so I thought, ‘I’d better watch a bit of this’,” she told the Radio Times.
“But I was absolutely outraged by the level of casual and extreme corruption that was being portrayed as the way the police is in 2018-19.”
The head of London’s police also said she was disappointed by Bodyguard, another show written by Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio, saying it “drove everybody round here absolutely up the wall”.
“I actually did have to switch it off after about 20 minutes – the moment when the home secretary made a pass at the protection officer was just beyond me, I’m afraid.”
Ms Dick did concede, however, that both shows had had positive impacts on the force.
She said: “But both series actually made us look a bit cool and interesting – a net positive, probably.
“They bring in interest and applications. Even though it’s all completely ludicrous.”
Policing analyst Graham Wettone agreed with Ms Dick’s comments, saying that people do join because of the programmes, but added that it’s “about managing expectations”.
He said: “I still work in training police applicants and many do join thinking it’s like Line of Duty or Bodyguard. Some then decide it’s not the job for them because it’s not as it was portrayed.
“I welcome the increase in policing as a career but really would like at least a passing resemblance to procedure and policies.
“Preferably some that aren’t actually illegal or suggest that unlawful activities are widespread & accepted.
“I gave up on Line of Duty very early on when the then senior investigating officer, Thandie Newton, was kicking in doors to a burning house and wearing a stab proof vest with ‘SIO’ on it.
“I understand TV needs to be dramatic, but in reality, many people start to believe it.”