Channel 4’s new documentary series Benefits Street is currently under review by police over possible criminal activity.
West Midlands Police has confirmed they have been inundated with comments from the public who they say are ‘concerned about elements of the show’ which featured criminal acts.
The first episode of a new five-part series launched on Monday to 4.3 million viewers and featured a number of residents from James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham. The show featured one unemployed man pretending to be a Big Issue seller and another allegedly stealing from the Birmingham Bullring Shopping Centre.
In a statement released today, West Midlands Police Superintendent Danny Long said: “Like many people across the country, we saw the footage broadcast on the programme for the first time last night. Throughout the programme and in the hours that have followed, we have been inundated with comments from members of the public, many of whom are concerned about elements of the show which showed criminal activity.”
“We are currently assessing whether the content of the programme can assist us as part of any ongoing investigations or indeed whether any new inquiries should be launched in light of the material that has been broadcast.”
It has also been reported that police are also investigating a number of threats made on Twitter to the residents featured in the documentary. Channel 4 has said the production crew filmed the residents from a ‘purely observational capacity’ and were warned that any criminal activity recorded while filming could result in criminal investigation.