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Fast and furious: Guernsey scraps ‘Hot Fuzz’ film

Guernsey Police have pulled a recruitment film featuring explosions, armed police and a high-speed car chase after a media furore and complaints from the island’s politicians. The force’s chief admitted its offer to ‘Redefine your usual’ didn’t reflect island life.

Deploying tasers, storming an office with machine guns, exploding bombs and shredding tyres in a high-speed chase. All in a day’s work for a police officer… on the island of Guernsey.

That was the claim in an attention-grabbing recruitment video aimed at James Bond fans thinking about new careers. 

People who had overlooked the idea of joining the police force on an island famous for its cows and tax exiles were encouraged to ‘Redefine your usual’ during the 1min 10sec promotional clip.

The force’s Twitter feed even ran a countdown campaign to build anticipation to its launch. One tweet featured a police 4x4 reversing with the claim "Day 2 of our 'exciting Monday movie preview extravaganza' to whet your appetite for what is our biggest and best film yet. Excited? You should be."

They might have been ready for its release onto the worldwide internet – but not the reaction to the video clip which could pass for a Hollywood action film trailer.

The clip started with two people discussing their day after work. One, a bored office worker devoted to photocopying and, the other, a police officer who recalls loading up with Tasers, an armed siege, a police dog taking down a suspect, a bomb being detonated and a high speed car chase that ends with a stinger being deployed.

The film was aimed at generating lots of attention, but the force hadn’t counted on The Times and the Daily Mail devoting prime news pages comparing it to the hit movie Hot Fuzz after it launched.

The island’s politicians got involved and a row ensued.

Politicians argued it was an unfair depiction of the community - and their claim appears to be true. The force’s Twitter feed also features the Guernsey Bicycle Group Chairperson promoting road safety and the lead story for the island’s news website is about the slow progress in repairing a sea wall. Stingers and explosives were not deployed in either instance.

Policy and Resources president Deputy Gavin St Pier said the film, which had cost £5,000, had been a mistake.

“Personally, I do share some of the concerns expressed,” he told the local Guernsey Press. “Our police force has always been one whose focus has been supporting the community with care and compassion, something they have done incredibly well, particularly this year as we’ve faced the Covid pandemic, and my view is that whilst this video reflects some aspects of policing, it does not properly reflect the full range of police activities in a balanced way.”

Despite achieving an audience reach that could be counted in millions for a spend of just £5,000, the force’s chief bowed to pressure. After being told ‘Curb your enthusiasm’, he announced earlier this week that the force had banned its own film.

A slightly embarrassed Head of Law Enforcement, Rurai Hardy, issued a statement: “Following representations, I have made the decision to take down the recruitment film. I can fully understand the representations made from people within our community and also in a broader context. The organisation had no intention to undermine public confidence in the island’s police force.”

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