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The thin blue line is bolstered by some hired celebrity help

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 30, 2013

The thin blue line is bolstered by some hired celebrity help

Gladiator Atlas, who was among television stars, former sports stars and actors recruited by police forces to front safety campaigns

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Television presenters, former sports stars and an actor from The Bill were among those recruited by police forces to help front safety campaigns and attend awards nights at a cost of £30,000, new figures show.

The list shows a handful of police forces in England and Wales sought the clout of celebrity status from the likes of ex-newsreader Angela Rippon, former England defender Jack Charlton and Gladiator "Atlas" over a three-year period. Forces paid nearly £30,000 to hire the celebrities, although many fees were paid by sponsors.

In some cases, payment took the form of a donation which was passed on to a charity of the celebrity's choosing.

Norfolk Police made three separate payments including giving £3,000 to Graham Cole, who plays PC Tony Stamp in ITV police drama The Bill, to feature in a staff film about "customer service".

Norfolk Police also recruited Sheila Reid, who plays disabled character Madge in the Benidorm sitcom, to present a mobility scooter awareness DVD. The £3,000 fee was covered by corporate sponsors.

ITV meteorologist Martyn Davies was used by the same force to front a flood awareness and flood training DVD, costing £3,000.

Staffordshire Police paid £2,000 to Sky News anchor and Eggheads presenter Dermot Murnaghan to front a DVD and booklet "guiding people through the complexities of the criminal justice process".

Durham Police said former Leeds United defender Jack Charlton appeared at a Tesco store in 2009 to support a campaign about bogus callers. Mr Charlton waived his fee and a donation of £250 was made to the Jack Charlton Trust for Disabled Anglers.

And while Steve Coogan's fictional radio presenter Alan Partridge once spoke of his plan for Jet from Gladiators to host a millennium barn dance at Yeovil aerodrome, Dorset Police went one better by actually securing the services of a Gladiator, with Sam Bond, aka Atlas, turning up to an internet safety day in Dorchester, free of charge.

Total payments made by the police forces which replied to the Freedom of Information request made by the Press Association came to £28,687.20.

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