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Suffolk PC evades ACC to win Hunted TV show

A Suffolk Police officer is back on duty after winning the reality TV show Hunted - and evading an Assistant Chief Constable to do it.

A constable who spent 23 days on the run for a national TV show is celebrating her win – and surviving attempts by colleagues to get her to reveal her secret.

In a thrilling final, Suffolk officer PC Sarah Kibble used her search skills learned on the day job and her survival skills gained with the Ministry of Defence Police to beat contestants to win Channel 4’s programme Hunted.

She shared the £100,000 prize money with another contestant, graphic designer Nathan Falcon.

The programme, which has regularly pulled in an audience of 2.5m, pits a group of contestants against police, security and military intelligence experts who must capture them.

And leading the 'hunter' team was Assistant Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Lisa Theaker who had live CCTV, ANPR, GPS positioning, drones, tracker dogs, mobile phone monitoring and publicity campaigns at her disposal.

The PC, who is based in Lowestoft, was back on duty the day after the final episode aired, having successfully kept the result secret since last October.

“My head was elsewhere after the final went out, I have to admit. But I’ve honestly loved taking part,” she told Police Oracle.

PC Kibble was contract-bound not to share the result for months – and so became hunted all over again by colleagues.

She said: “I’d had people asking questions, trying to catch me out - and even using interview techniques on me. It’s been quite fun with them not knowing.”

PC Kibble has been a fan of the show, now in its sixth series, since it started in 2015 and was persuaded by her son to apply in January 2020.

“I’ve always watched it since series one. My son said ‘you should do it, you’d be really good. I saw the application and thought, 'yeah, why not? Let's do it'.”

Before auditioning, Suffolk confirmed she would be allowed to take unpaid leave in order to join the show.

“They were really good. I asked early on if I could do it as there was no point going through the emotion of an audition if they were going to say no. Hopefully, I did the force proud,” she said.

COVID-19 lockdown intervened until finally in July last year PC Kibble got confirmation that filming would start in October – and with it the first surprise.

“I would have loved to have been a hunter as that’s part of my job.  I didn’t get told I was going to be on the run until two weeks before,” she said.

It took her full circle as TV had sparked her interest in joining the service: “Growing up, I’d be watching repeats of The Bill. I’ve always had a passion for it.”

She then spent 23 days on the run, making use of skills learned while serving with the Ministry of Defence Police for eight years - including two tours of Iraq.

Her methods of evading capture included hiding out at a dinosaur theme park and sleeping in the wild. Viewers, social media commentators and experts described her as the most effective contestant seen on the show.

The PC said: “Because I’m ex-military, I had that quiet confidence. The biggest challenge was missing my two boys. But being on the run was quite liberating; I didn’t have a house to clean or go to work, I was just being me.”

But it wasn’t totally slumming it, with moments where she couldn’t resist having some fun: “I hijacked my husband and two boys at a football night and also watched Primeval with friends. I even had two nights in a Manchester hotel where I ate steak and drank red wine.”

After the final aired, her force celebrated the success of their new local hero.

Suffolk shared on social media: “Spoiler Alert! We just want to say a massive congratulations to our very own Pc Sarah Kibble. Well done Sarah we are really proud of you!”

Suffolk’s community also celebrated their home-grown winner.

Great Yarmouth Town Football club tweeted: “A massive well done to the local legend Sarah Kibble who well and truly kicked @Hunted_HQ arse. Amazing achievement.”

And a resident shared: “Loved seeing a local lass smashing it.”

She was back on duty four days after the show finished and isn’t planning on a TV career.

Asked if she is about to become famous, she replied: “I very much doubt it.”

Being competitive and determined may help with a future career ambition to join CID.

“I know morale can sometimes be a bit low but I can’t see myself doing another job. We’re not all bad and it’s a great career to have,” the PC said.

But she also hopes taking part in the TV has shown the skills officers have and the positives of policing.

She told Police Oracle: “I hope it’s countered some of the bad press. During the series I was always aware that I am a serving officer. I didn’t want to give the police a bad name. Which I think I did up to the final episode when I was swearing like a trouper…”

She needn’t have worried about the response from the force; her line manager had missed the whole series completely and now, having finally been told the result, has promised to binge watch it.

“I think that does qualify as a cake fine,” she said.

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