AVON and Somerset Police officers are not happy with the 'lack of balance' in the new Channel 4 documentary outlining misconduct cases in the force.

To Catch a Copper takes a look inside the force's Professional Standards Department, including its Counter-Corruption Unit (CCU), shining a light on an area of policing which acts as a guardian of the high standards expected of officers who vow to serve and protect.

However, many of those who work in the local police force are 'disappointed' and feel 'let down' after the first two episodes of the three-part docuseries.

More than 400 employees responded to a survey sent out by the Avon and Somerset Police Federation, the body which represents front line officers, to gather staff's thoughts on the show.

One officer said: "I feel disappointed that the force has put me in the position of having to defend myself as a good police officer."

Another said: "This series has destroyed the force, ruined morale and made our jobs harder."

A third added: "I was proud to join as a Police Constable, but now I feel utterly betrayed and unsupported."

More officers said they felt 'depressed', 'embarrassed', 'devastated', and others reported feeling a career working for Avon and Somerset Police is not the right job for them after watching the documentary.

Avon and Somerset Police Federation Vice Chair Iain Prideaux said: “These comments come as no surprise - and they are difficult to read. Morale has been severely dented and even officers’ family members have said how concerned they feel toward their loved ones.

“Police officers have no issue with being held accountable for their actions, we are the most accountable of public services. But whilst putting policing under a microscope there should always be ample fairness and balance.

“The Federation will continue to speak up for our good officers. We do it today and will continue to do so.

“Our colleagues come to work every day to make a difference. And actions that can take place in seconds can be poured over for years by those with hindsight – including in this documentary series.

“Colleagues deserve due process in all legal and conduct proceedings. There should not be a presumption of guilt but an open mind, free from bias and a thorough examination of all available evidence.

“We continue to ask that there be more balance in the coverage and commentary around our colleagues.”

Sarah Crew, Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police has responded to the situation, and told us that it's important that the officers 'put any individual or personal feelings of hurt aside'.

“I fully recognise the challenging and distressing nature of the cases shown in the documentary series so far," Chief Constable Crew said.

"While I’ve been clear from the beginning that these cases are the exception and not the rule, we must not be afraid to face into the difficult issues this series raises, so we can create stronger ties with all our communities, especially those who have lower levels of confidence in us. This is at the very heart of policing by consent.

“I’d like to reassure everyone that when we entered into this relationship with the documentary makers, the Federation were consulted, were fully supportive and involved throughout the filming, as you can see from the programmes that have aired.

“This documentary is resulting in open and honest discussions with our officers and staff, where a whole range of views and opinions are being discussed in open forums. These conversations are important and they will be ongoing. I’ve also had a constructive meeting with representatives of the Police Federation to listen to and understand the views being expressed to them.

“I think it’s important for us to put any individual or personal feelings of hurt aside, and we must listen to the views of our communities and build bridges. Only by doing this can we make policing easier and safer, and effectively tackle the crimes, and the causes of crime, which have the biggest impact on people’s lives.

“It’s important to note the vast majority of reactions I’ve received directly, from members of the public, from people in positions of influence and power, and from the media, have been positive. They say we are being courageous and that through this radical transparency it shows we’re committed to exposing, understanding and then addressing the barriers which are significantly impacting on people’s trust and confidence in us."