Channel 4 has defended its 'Benefits Street' documentary, which was filmed on John Turner Street in Winson Green in Birmingham.
West Midlands Police are now reviewing the footage which was broadcast last night, which it believes showed criminal activity taking place. Channel 4 said:
The production crew were filming in a purely observational capacity - at no stage was criminal behaviour encouraged or condoned. All contributors were briefed that if they carried out criminal activity on camera this could result in criminal investigations after broadcast.
Responding to the accusations today contributors who took part in the filming were 'misled' they said:
Filmed for more than a year, this fair and balanced observational documentary series is a fair reflection of the reality of life on a street where the majority of households receive benefits - and in an area of Birmingham that has had the highest rate of unemployment in the country for the last eight years.
Again and again the series reveals a community where residents know that, when times get tough, they can turn to each other for help. It is a sympathetic, humane and objective portrayal of how people are coping with continuing austerity and cuts in benefits.
– Channel 4 spokesperson
The contributors were briefed extensively before any filming took place and have been given support all the way thorough the process – members of the experienced production team are in daily contact with them.
The main contributors have been offered the opportunity to view the programmes they feature in before transmission. We took on board their comments and in some cases made changes to the programmes.