Covering 12,000 square miles of loch, glens, islands and mountains, Police Scotland’s Highlands and Islands division is Britain’s biggest beat. Insightful six-part documentary series, Highland Cops, goes inside this unique police division to find out what it takes to patrol the beat and keep the peace in the most beautiful, and challenging places, in Britain.
Cutting-edge crime fighting works alongside old-school rural policing, tackling 21st century problems that threaten traditional ways of life.
In this first episode, a bushcraft expert is reported missing in remote wilds of Sutherland in the far north of Scotland; Wildlife Officer Dan Sutherland is on the trail of deer poachers; there’s a drugs bust in the coastal town of Thurso; and anti-social driving catches the attention of officers in Inverness.
It’s March 2022 and 32-year-old father, Finn Creaney, has been missing for 48 hours. A bushcraft expert, Finn went out with only a small amount of provision and the clothes on his back.
With little information about his planned route, the local officers unite with mountain rescue and a coastguard helicopter crew to trawl the area, leaving no stone unturned. With a blizzard on its way, and temperatures dropping the search for Finn becomes critical.
Also this week. while the Highlands can often seem like an empty landscape, it’s home to a huge variety of wildlife that can sometimes be targeted by criminals. Wildlife Crime Officer, PC Dan Sutherland is in charge of tackling wildlife crime right across the division, he says: “We have incredible wildlife in this country and it’s our job to protect them. The difficulty with wildlife crime is that animals don’t talk and there’s hardly ever any eye-witnesses”.
So when a car is pulled over containing two dead deer, it falls to Dan and his team to go to extraordinary lengths to investigate whether this man is an illegal poacher.
Meanwhile, in Thurso, a suspicious package, smelling strongly of cannabis, has been intercepted in the post and it falls to Sgt Andy McKay and his team to investigate.
And, in Inverness, roads police respond to complaints of antisocial driving at a nearby shopping centre – a hotspot for an organised car cruise – a check on the system shows one of the culprits’ vehicles already has an ASBO but he’s not ready to surrender.
Highland Cops is a co-commission for BBC Scotland and BBC Two, produced by Firecrest Films and begins Tuesday 4th April on BBC Two.