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Police Criticize ITV for Naming New Comedy Show “Piglets”
ITV said the title of its show about a training academy was not intended to cause offence but police leaders called it ‘inflammatory’. Photograph: Matt Dunham/Reuters

ITV is in the spotlight after the title of its new comedy series stirred up controversy. The show, about trainee police officers, is called Piglets, a term historically used as derogatory slang for police officers.

In lighthearted promotions for the show, ITV stated: “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 Police Federation of England and Wales reacted strongly, calling the title a “disgusting choice of language.” Acting national chair Tiffany Lynch declared the name “highly offensive to police officers risking their lives to protect the public every day, providing an emergency service.”

“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 added.

Lynch described the title as “inflammatory against a landscape of rising threats and violence against officers,” and emphasized that “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.”

ITV responded to the backlash by saying, “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 emphasize the innocence and youth of our young trainees.”

The series is created by the award-winning team behind popular comedies like Green Wing and Smack the Pony, featuring Sarah Parish and Mark Heap as two superintendents in charge of training new recruits.

The term “pigs” referring to police officers gained popularity in the 1960s, notably used by the Black Panthers protest group.

Source: The Guardian