Ofcom is to investigate claims that ITV1’s advertiser-funded programme Beat: Life on the Street, commissioned and paid for by the Home Office, breached broadcasting codes. Such ad-funded series are subject to Ofcom’s rules on sponsorship.
The media regulator is investigating complaints that the second series of the fly-on-the-wall show following police community support officers did not make it clear that the programme was sponsored by the Home Office and that government officials had too much involvement in editorial content.
Ofcom rules say that sponsors must clearly be identified and not allowed to influence the content of programmes. However, a Home Office spokesman says he is confident that Ofcom rules were adhered to.
An ITV spokesman said the channel was “not aware of any compliance issues” involving the programme.
Beat: Life on the Street looked at police community support officers (PCSOs) in Oxford and Lancashire dealing with anti-social behaviour and other everyday problems. PCSOs support the work of local police forces but do not have the same powers as regular officers.
A third series of the show is understood to have been commissioned.