Shona and Sam are cop show hit

A SOMETIMES unusual approach to crimefighting has made television stars out of two bubbly bobbies currently featuring in BBC1’s Traffic Cops.

PCs Shona Gillen and Sam Sparkes usually patrol alone, but producers clearly saw the pair would be TV gold, and requested they be paired up as cameras followed Bedfordshire traffic officers for 12 weeks last summer.

Last week’s episode saw the pair using their feminine wiles to calm down a driver pulled over in Cardiff Road, Luton, for not wearing his seatbelt, diffusing his anger by asking what brand of aftershave he was wearing.

And despite being given a second ticket for unsafe tyres, the incident ended with the driver flirtatiously saying he’d be quite happy to be arrested by the pair.

The on-screen chemistry between the softly-spoken Shona and the smart-talking Sam has won them admirers on Twitter, where viewers have posted their comments while watching the show.

“It definitely helps being female,” said Shona. “With that guy we’d paid him a compliment, and what can he say to that?”

Sam said: “Because we’re female and we’re not the biggest, you have to find something that will bring people down to your level. I’d much rather talk to someone than go rolling down the street fighting with them.”

But being a female officer has its down sides, too.

“Men will say, ‘What do you know, you’re only a woman,” said Sam.

Shona added: “They think if they shout and get aggressive you’ll just let them go. But it just makes you wonder what they’ve got to hide.”

But the pair, who are both mums and live in the north of the county, take the flack they get in their stride. “This is without a doubt the best job in the world,” said Sam, who’s been in the force for 16 years, joining after training as a dancer. “You just deal with the bad things and don’t let them affect you. People aren’t having a go at you, they’re having a go at the uniform.”

One thing they can’t bear though, is watching themselves on television.

Sam said: “It’s awful, I sound like I’m talking complete gibberish. The reaction from our colleagues has been 100 per cent mickey-taking.”

The popular prime-time show has even got Shona’s three-year-old daughter hooked. “She watched the one where I had to use the taser, and now she says, ‘Mummy, can I watch you with the squirter again?’

“She also said I was running like a duck, which her and my husband found very funny.”