DETECTIVES have a “golden hour” in the aftermath of a crime to gather vital evidence which will affect how their investigation progresses.

Those were the words of Detective Sergeant Julie Greenwood after her return to television screens in documentary The Brighton Police, which aired on ITV last night.

The nation watched Sussex Police swoop into action as they brought in an Albanian gang of drug dealers who was jailed in March after running a cocaine ring across Brighton and Hove.

The second series of what was formerly known as The Nick showed more than 100 officers going out in force to bring in the nine criminals after a lengthy undercover investigation last year.

Viewers also saw, step-by-step, how DS Greenwood and her team closed in on armed robbers Jamie Casaletto, 33, of Colgate Close, Brighton, and John Clugston, 27, of Egmont Close, Hove, who raided the Ladbrokes in The Broadway and St George’s Road in August last year. The pair, who robbed the betting shops at gunpoint and brandished a knife to threaten customers before making off with thousands of pounds in cash, are now serving 11 and 14-year jail terms respectively.

DS Greenwood, who worked in the Criminal Investigation Department at the time of filming, said one of the toughest parts of her investigation was when it briefly came to a “stalemate” through a lack of physical evidence.

The 48-year-old, who joined the force in 1996 after a stint in the RAF, said when that happens officers just have to continue with their inquiries until a breakthrough and in such crimes offenders chance their luck again.

She said: “There is a golden hour after a crime is committed where it is vital for us to gather as much information and evidence as possible and secure the scene.

“This will help the investigation progress. In this case they were cocky and became sloppy when they robbed again.”

DI Greenwood, who is due to retire from the force in 17 months, said: “My proudest moment is always when the team comes together and we have identified who the criminal is. Being able to phone the victims and say we have the criminal in custody gives them piece of mind and nothing beats that feeling of satisfaction.”

She was surprised to become something of a local celebrity after appearing on the show, adding: “Someone came up to me in Morrisons when I was buying my lunch and said, ‘You don’t take any prisoners do you?’ I suppose it is because I am a bit ruthless, I don’t make any apologies for motivating my team.”

She said being filmed for a second time was much easier, adding: “I think as a police officer you are naturally suspicious.

“You wonder how they will edit, how you will be portrayed, what people will think. But you get used to the crew, they become part of the team and are with you for months. So we got to know each other and trust each other.”

  • The Brighton Police returns on Thursday.


The Brighton Police ★★★★☆

IF you like a good bit of crime drama, some nice views of Brighton and a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure, then you will love this show.

There is no doubt watching officers piece together some of the city’s high-profile investigations from the last year will be fascinating if you’re a local. And you do get a genuine sense of their commitment to their work. But among all the seriousness, The Brighton Police shows there is always time for a bit of banter – even at one of the busiest police stations in the country.

Detective Constable Tom Duffy’s deadpan remark as he searched some bins, “I’ve never dealt with poo, just dead bodies really”, reflects the testing nature of the job but nevertheless had comic effect.

I felt for Police Constable James Gillies. He did his best to laugh off the persistent and blatant sexual harassment from a drunk driver and deflect the quite graphic comments with jokes. You will be hard pushed not to laugh at this arrested man, even though he is unacceptably inappropriate. I wonder if it would have made the final cut, or be seen as funny by the witnesses, if those comments were made to a female officer?

I wondered why the programme’s name changed from The Nick. It’s probably because their style differs. Either way, it seems the narrator didn’t get the memo.

The first appeared as a warts-and-all, candid portrayal of life in the force.

The second is a bit more polished, snappy, fast paced. There are some genuinely heart racing moments but when tense chords did not necessarily match what was unveiling on screen, it felt a bit forced.