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Popular characters, MET Police duo, PC Terry Robinson and PC Dave Atkinson - referred to as our very own ‘Starsky and Hutch’ feature tonight. Terry has worked at Heathrow for four years and Dave, for two, with both having featured in previous series, becoming some of the most recognisable faces from the television programme.
We caught up with the duo to ask them about being on the series and their very busy roles as Authorised Firearms Officers in the Aviation Policing Command.
Terry: It gives me the opportunity to show the public the individuals we are - that though we are armed officers, we are not machines. In general, policing receives mixed views by the public depending on the circumstances. The series allows the public to see us both at ease and whilst dealing with incidents. Hopefully they see we adapt quickly to multiple types of situations and the reason we are responding in a particular way is because the situation requires it.
Dave: I like the fact that I get to show the human side of policing; to show the public we aren’t robots and try to get them to see the people behind the uniform.
Terry: A few people have recognised me. I expect it with staff at the airport but when it has been travellers it does embarrass me slightly as I try to recall the episode they may have seen me in. I hope the impression the public get of the police in general helps build a stronger relationship with them.
Dave: I've been recognised a few times but mainly from Heathrow employees. When working with new students, they have come up to me stating they had watched the show, which still surprises me. It helps me break down barriers when people come up to me and talk about the show. I explain about the behind the scenes stuff.
Terry: I didn’t tell any friends or family I was taking part in the series. When it aired, my social media was pinging every few minutes. I even had a friend who lives in India tell me they had seen me on YouTube! .
Dave: They do indeed, they like seeing me on it. They say I do a dangerous job and they do sometimes worry about me, so I reassure them. My nieces and nephew love seeing Uncle David on the show and I always get videos of them watching it, which I love to see.
Terry: Meeting the film crew was a great experience. Being filmed was a little unnerving at first but I eventually relaxed around the camera. I enjoyed learning about the entertainment industry and how footage is fully reviewed and edited.
Dave: Again, showing the public that police officers are humans and do care about them - especially the safety of the passengers flying in and out of Heathrow.
Terry: I usually like to try and get away on a few short trips during the year, to recharge my batteries. It has been hard not having the freedom to hop on a cheap flight somewhere but it has certainly given me the opportunity to explore the UK more, and even my local area. It’s amazing how much at home we take for granted and never actually see or appreciate.
Dave: Terry and I were due to fly out to Washington DC in May to attend a Police event. It was a shame that we had to cancel the trip.
Terry: San Francisco. The flight is really long but I really enjoy the experience that the airline I fly with provides.
Dave: The USA. I have flown there several times from Heathrow and never had a bad experience.
Terry: I always try to help people in genuine need. I love putting smiles on people’s faces even if I have to be the butt of the joke. You never know what people are dealing with internally, so if you can put a smile on their face perhaps it will brighten their day, if only for a while.
Dave: My highlight is getting to patrol the airport and reassure people that Heathrow is a safe airport to fly from. Safety to them is paramount. My other highlight is helping passengers. A lot of them have never been to Heathrow and it can be a daunting place - I know it was for me when I started working there. I like providing a friendly face and helping them navigate the airport.
Terry: Please keep your luggage with you at all times, even if going to the toilet. Never turn your back on it, as it can be taken in an instant and the suspects disappear into the crowd. Also, no running in the corridors!
Dave: I have found that when passengers fly from Heathrow they are in ‘holiday mode’, so they drop their guard and do things that they would not normally do. My advice is arrive on time and keep all your belongings with you - and when at security remove all your electronic devices and liquids prior to getting to the front of the queue.
Thanks to Terry and Dave for giving us this great insight into their roles and for all of their input into this and past series.
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