Canny Cops: Everything you need to know about the County Durham police documentary on BBC Three

When's it on and can I stream it? Canny Cops is available on BBC iPlayer as a three-episode box set from 10am on Wednesday July 3.

Sergeant Terry and Police Community Support Officer Vikki
Sergeant Terry and Police Community Support Officer Vikki

What is it? A documentary series with unprecedented access to Durham Constabulary and the communities of Peterlee and the surrounding areas on the North East coast. Darkly comic, surprising and inviting, this series will take us into the heart of an often overlooked corner of the country, as seen through the eyes of the cops and the charismatic, witty and complex people they police.

Why County Durham? Years of austerity have disproportionately affected the North East of England, and County Durham is now home to some of the most acute areas of deprivation in Britain. This is a region that was once the epicentre of England’s Industrial North East, and the birthplace of the steam railway. But now the pits and the factories have closed, and the thriving railway industry has gone. For the communities who live here and the officers charged with keeping them in line, there’s no place like home.

Sounds serious? Life might be tough and towns might be astonishingly remote, but everyone connected with this part of the world is bound by a humour as dark as the pits themselves. Nevertheless, high levels of crime and drugs mean the police have their work cut out for them. But when you’re on first-name terms with the criminals, it’s hard not to do the job with a smile on your face and go the extra mile to get people on the straight and narrow.

When it was it filmed? Filmed over seven months, this raw and revelatory documentary series takes you both sides of the custody cell door and into the heart of a community that doesn’t mince its words.

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    What in each episode?

    Episode oneLocal cop?Terry?takes on a new role to target offenders in the remote village of?Horden. Top of his?list?is 26 year-old Shauna, whose house in the numbered streets of?Horden?is regularly frequented by some of the areas well-known criminals. Meanwhile, a masked man steals?over £3,000 in an armed robbery?at a bookies on the numbered streets.

    Episode twoSergeant?Terry continues to set his sights set on a well-known local resident?in the numbered streets in?Horden:?26 year-old Shauna.?When the police hear that there are drugs at her notorious party house, Terry wants to give her one final warning to go on the straight and narrow. In?neighbouring?Dawdon, a man is suspected of stabbing a local resident. But with a historic lack of trust between the community and the police, finding out where he’s hiding is?no easy task when nobody will talk.

    Episode threeIn the final episode of the series the?police are?trying to put a stop to the huge numbers of crimes committed by?local heroin addicts.? At 27 years old,? Ashlea?has been arrested 69 times, and?is a one-woman crime-wave who keeps?offending?to?feed?her habit. Meanwhile,?Detective?Hoggy?is on the hunt for?another heroin addict and prolific thief who’s?on the run for multiple offences.