Police condemn title of new ITV sitcom: ‘Highly offensive’

The title of a new ITV sitcom about trainee cops has been condemned by a police body as “disgusting” and “highly offensive”.

Piglets is the name of the comedy, set in a police training college, which references the derogatory term “pig” used against officers.

Upon hearing about the show, acting national chair of Police Federation of England and Wales, Tiffany Lynch, said the name is “highly offensive to police officers risking their lives to protect the public every day, providing an emergency service”.

She added: “It is a disgusting choice of language to use for the title of a TV programme.

“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.”

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.”

Mark Heap as Superintendent Bob Weekes and Sarah Parish as Superintendent Julie Spry (ITV)
Mark Heap as Superintendent Bob Weekes and Sarah Parish as Superintendent Julie Spry (ITV)

The show, from the award-winning team behind hit comedies such as Green Wing and Smack the Pony, stars Sarah Parish and Mark Heap as the two superintendents overseeing the training of the next batch of new recruits.

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 term “pigs” for police has been around for a long time, but was popularised in the 1960s after it was used among the Black Panthers anti-police protest group.