John Lewis and star of The Bill give Norfolk police manners lesson

Norfolk bobbies are to be given lessons in good behaviour - by television cop PC Tony Stamp.

The force has produced a DVD guide to manners aimed at ensuring officers are more Dixon of Dock Green than The Sweeney or DCI Gene Hunt.

With the help of department store John Lewis - well known for its focus on customer service - actor Graham Cole presents the film. Mr Cole played the popular character PC Stamp in the now axed ITV series The Bill.

In one scene Mr Cole is seen telling one member of the public 'I haven't got time for this' before saying to another 'What's your problem? Muppet.'

Other scenarios include a sergeant briefing a safer neighbourhood team in an 'indifferent' manner followed by tips on how to get the best out of officers through better management. Another scene warns against the dangers of sending hastily written emails.


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A force spokesman said the DVD was a useful addition to customer service training, adding that it got the message across in a 'non-patronising' manner.

But it is likely to meet with a mixed reaction on the frontline. Norfolk Police Federation, which represents the rank and file, is yet to see the film and is investigating the justification behind it.

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One retired officer told the EDP: 'Of course there will be some officers who aren't very good at talking to people but in those cases the problem is likely to go deeper than being told to say 'please and thank you'.

'I'm sure the vast majority have common sense and I'm not convinced this will help - it might just get people's backs up.'

Officers will not be forced to watch the film - which will also be made available to other constabularies across the country. But it will be used if a team leader feels particular issues need to be addressed.

Spokesman Anne Campbell said: 'This is not simply about politeness but about how we interact with the public generally.

'Being a police officer is not just a matter of knowing the law and knowing how to physically arrest somebody. It is also about how we respond to people and improve their confidence in us.

'Even the best communicators get it wrong some times and this is another tool to help us improve the way we interact with the public.'

She added that the film encouraged officers to think about the messages they put across which, when rushed in a stressful job, may give the wrong impression.

'Graham Cole puts the message across in a non-patronising way and we hope that many people find it helpful or at least makes them think,' she added.

Greater Manchester Police has recently teamed up with John Lewis on a similar project. Norfolk police have been working with the store since 2009.

Richard Buck, recruitment and development manager at John Lewis, Norwich, said: 'Whether you are in the police service or in the retail industry, first impressions count.

'We were more than happy to work with Norfolk constabulary to help our police officers deliver the highest standards of service to the public.'

Two years ago Norfolk launched a 'model behaviour guide' which told officers to be polite and courteous and dress appropriately at all times. They were also told not to put their hands in their pockets or use personal mobile phones in public.

Norfolk Police Authority chief executive Chris Harding said members had backed the film. Authority member Val Jenkins, who has worked on customer service within the force for many years, also features in some of the scenes.

Although they did not confirm the cost, the film had a 'limited budget'. It is expected to raise funds for police coffers in the long-term as it is sold to other forces.

View a video clip from the DVD at www.edp24.co.uk and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Amanda Barrett, 35, from Mile Cross, said: 'I work in retail so I know that manners are important but you have to accept that the police have a difficult job and won't always be polite.

'If they've just chased somebody down a street, you can't expect them to say 'excuse me sir', I'm sure most of them know how to speak to people without being told.'

Spencer Purkiss, 21, from Hethersett, said: 'Of course it is important that police officers should behave properly. There may be times when they're job is difficult but on the whole they should be courteous.

'When it comes to taxpayers paying to teach them better manners, it seems a bit silly. I'm not convinced by this.'

Paul Norris, 40, from Mile Cross, said: 'Some policemen are ok, some can be a bit rude - in the same way that all people vary.

'But I would hope most of them know how to behave depending on the situation they're in. I'm not sure this will achieve anything.'

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