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With unprecedented access to Hampshire Constabulary, this series follows the investigation of three major crimes, offering a rare and unique insight into the reality of modern policing

About the Show

With unprecedented access to Hampshire Constabulary, this series follows the investigation of three major crimes, offering a rare and unique insight into the reality of modern policing

Series 1 Summary

With unprecedented and unvarnished access to Hampshire Constabulary, a typical large provincial police force in the grip of profound change, this three-part series follows the investigation of major crimes.

A murder investigation starts with a body burnt beyond recognition but with no clues to the identity of killer or victim. An arson attack consumes a Portsmouth block of flats and destroys evidence of who set the fire. And a rape case is her word against his, with not much evidence to go on: all too often this has meant that the male party gets off, but can a new pilot scheme improve the conviction rate?

These crimes aren't unique to Hampshire; they're replicated in every incident room in the country.

As Hampshire police struggle to follow the evidence - or lack of it - BAFTA winning director Patrick Forbes follows this tightrope walk of triumph and disaster, which exposes the fragility of the system that too often leaves cases unresolved and without justice realised.

  • Police car

    Episode 1

    A woman's body, burned beyond all recognition, is discovered lying in a cornfield on an idyllic summer's day.

    Two days into the case, Hampshire Constabulary know their victim has been strangled, her body carried in a suitcase to a field near a tiny Hampshire village, and then set alight; but not who she or who her killer is.

    House-to-house inquiries unearth a witness who's seen a battered Vauxhall being driven slowly around the crime scene, the day before the killing. The offender profilers advise that whoever chose that lonely spot had done so because he knew the area, and a database search of car registrations throws up four names, one of them with a Hampshire bank account.

    The chase is on, and as the case unfolds it presents an extraordinary snapshot of Britain in the 21st century - the passions and divisions hidden beneath the placid surface of middle England - and a unique insight into the fragility of modern policing.

  • A police officer at his desk

    Episode 2

    This episode follows the work of a specialist rape unit in Portsmouth, the first dedicated unit to be established outside London; in other parts of the country rape is bundled in with other crimes and conviction rates can be as low as five per cent.

    Rape is a uniquely difficult crime to solve. It often takes place behind closed doors with no corroborating evidence, and no outside witnesses: all too often it boils down to one person's word against another's.

    Can Crystal - a unit of dedicated officers - make a difference?

  • A police officer in an alley way

    Episode 3

    In September 2007 someone flicked a lit match into a petrol can at a block of flats in Portsmouth. The fire that ripped through the building killed Kevin Holmes. Nine months later, his murder remains unsolved and there is nothing to indicate why he might have been a victim of arson.

    It's a tough case for Hampshire's Major Crime Unit, which has one of the lowest unsolved crime rates in the country. The case is handed to an experienced Detective Chief Inspector, the third senior investigating officer to take charge of the case.

    After nine months the trail looks cold. It's not long before the police make a series of arrests; but can they find the evidence to make the charges stick?

The Force synopsis

With unprecedented access to Hampshire Constabulary, this series follows the investigation of three major crimes, offering a rare and unique insight into the reality of modern policing

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