The UK’s biggest and most successful true crime documentary continues its new run, featuring unprecedented access behind the scenes of police investigations into major crimes. This episode begins on a busy Sunday in September 2019 when a violent brawl breaks out on the streets of Luton. CCTV images reveal rival groups of men attacking each other outside a takeaway chicken shop with knives and hammers. One man appears to have hot oil thrown over him. The violence comes at the worst possible time for Bedfordshire police who are painfully short of resources. The Chief Constable admits to a local MP that the force has ‘literally ran out of officers’. Eventually six men and a child are taken to hospital for treatment and the violence subsides. It is left to Detective Scott Hannam of the Criminal Investigation Team to unravel what lay behind the eruption of violence. There are big profits to be made in chicken. The immediate cause is related to a long running feud between two rival families over control of the lucrative spicy chicken trade. There may also be other factors driving the repeated violence, some of whom have previously been involved in drugs. But suddenly the story takes a dramatic new twist when officers discover over half a million pounds of cannabis, crack cocaine and heroin on a raid. Meanwhile the disturbance and police lack of resources have caused a local MP to raise the issue in Parliament. The trial of the men charged with the violence continues. Detectives realise that some of the defendants will be represented by Attiq Malik, a local solicitor. Malik begins a search for evidence that he believes will exonerate his clients. This is the inside track on a gripping and disturbing case that demonstrates that, even though police are struggling for resources, they aren’t prepared to tolerate scenes of extreme violence in broad daylight.
24 Hours in Police Custody – Monday 9pm on Channel 4