Are TV detectives seriously misleading the public?

According to a new study, the crime solvers we see on TV are shaping our perceptions of the real police force

Vera, Inspector Morse, Colombo, Sarah Lund, Poirot… They all have more than crime solving in common. 


According to a new study, TV detectives are having a negative impact on our perceptions of the police force.

new paper in the journal Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice has revealed that public perception of policing has changed as a result of the characters we watch on TV. 

The theory is that when the majority of the TV-watching public don’t have any real contact with the police force, all we have to rely on is what we see on the telly, whether that’s Luther’s maverick techniques or Waking the Dead’s emphasis on psychological profiling. 

The study, which included interviews with retired police officers about their views on TV crime dramas, warned that if we base our opinions of the work of the police force on TV dramas we will be “seriously misled.”

“Fictional crime portrayal creates a simplistic narrative of crime solving that is almost completely divorced from the reality of modern police work,” reads the report, which adds detective dramas are “full of procedural errors” and “completely improbable.” 

What do you think? Do TV detectives shape your view of the police force?