‘Highly offensive’: police condemn ITV for naming new comedy show Piglets

<span>ITV said the title of its show about a training academy was not intended to cause offence but police leaders called it ‘inflammatory’.</span><span>Photograph: Matt Dunham/Reuters</span>
ITV said the title of its show about a training academy was not intended to cause offence but police leaders called it ‘inflammatory’.Photograph: Matt Dunham/Reuters

ITV has had to defend itself against the strong arm of the law after the name of its new comedy landed it in hot water.

The series about trainee police officers is called Piglets, a word that has long been used as a derogatory slang word for police officers.

In tongue-in-cheek promotion for the show, ITV said: “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.”

The Police Federation of England and Wales said it was a “disgusting choice of language to use for the title of a TV programme”.

Its acting national chair, Tiffany Lynch, said the name was “highly offensive to police officers risking their lives to protect the public every day, providing an emergency service”.

“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,” she added.

Lynch called the title “inflammatory against a landscape of rising threats and violence against officers”, adding: “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 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.

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