These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Programme Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
Showing Complaints & Interventions Report for CRIME CAUGHT ON TAPE
Channel: Channel 5
Date & time: Monday 6 August: 8.00pm
Complaint from: 11 viewers (upheld)
This programme was originally a US acquisition, reversioned for UK viewing. It consisted of CCTV footage of various criminal acts committed in the USA, with police and other expert commentary.
Eleven viewers complained that the level of violence in a number of the items was unsuitable for pre-watershed transmission. Monitoring by ITC staff had raised a similar concern.
ITC staff identified six sequences they regarded as questionable against the Code requirement that nothing should be shown before 9 pm that is unsuitable for children, particularly in the light of evidence that children find violence which resembles real life more upsetting than violence in a fantasy context. These included the programme’s opening titles sequence, a jewellery store shooting (described by the programme commentary as “terrifying”), an attack on a highway patrol constable that led to his being shot dead (though this outcome was not shown on screen), and an attack on a man in Washington DC by five young thugs who filmed it themselves.
Channel 5 responded that they had edited out from the American original “a certain amount of material considered too graphic...but the footage would have lost much of its impact had we tried to sanitise every instance of violent crime”. Some of the incidents featured – including the jewellery store robbery – had previously been shown pre-watershed without complaint. The programme had been clearly signposted to viewers at the outset as “graphic, troubling and real”.
The ITC was not persuaded by this defence of the programme’s scheduling. Both in terms of the level of violence in the criminal attacks referred to above and the cumulative impact of an hour of excessive and less intensive violent episodes, the ITC concluded that the programme was appropriate for post-watershed broadcast only.
The programme was in breach of the Programme Code.