POLICE could use footage from Channel 4’s Benefits Street to help launch new criminal investigations.
Scenes from the first show of the new series, set in the North East, openly showed drug dealing and drug use.
Cleveland Police said they were watching the programme “closely” and would assess the footage.
The force was not involved in the filming of the new series, filmed in Kingston Road, on the Tilery Estate in Stockton, which aired for the first time on Monday night.
Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang said: “Like viewers across the country, we are seeing the episode broadcast for the first time and some viewers will be concerned about the drug misuse and criminal activity being shown.
“We will assess the footage as to whether it can assist us in any live investigations or whether new investigations will be launched as a result of the programme.
“Our local policing officers care passionately about the Kingston Road area and have created good links with residents. They have their ears to the ground, gathering information on criminal activity to put people behind bars and keep the streets safe.
“You may continue to see our officers on the programme as they work with partners to tackle crime and whilst this will show a snapshot in time to a national audience, this work continues everyday for the benefit of local people.”
During the show, which aired at 9pm, @ClevelandPolice tweeted: “We are watching closely! #BenefitsStreet”
The force also answered tweets from viewers asking if action would be taken against any of the people involved in the programme.
One tweet said: “We are watching and will assess the footage to see if it could assist us in any live or new investigations.”
Love Productions, the makers of the programme, said they had followed strict guidelines about filming illegal activity.
The first series of the show made stars of some of the inhabitants of Birmingham’s James Turner Street but was described by some critics as “poverty porn”.
Cleveland Police said patrols in the area would continue as normal on Tuesday and asked anyone who witnesses any crime to contact police.