Nato adopts Dixon of Dock Green as Afghan role model
Nato allies have adopted Dixon of Dock Green, the archetypal 1950s British policeman, as the role model of a campaign to get Afghans to trust the security forces.
Pc George Dixon's qualities of selflessness, unswerving honesty and calm dependability are the attributes the Afghan government extol of the police force
By Ben Farmer in Kabul 4:35PM GMT 21 Nov 2010
Pc George Dixon has inspired the makers of a new primetime series - financed by EU and Canadian funds - to overcome Afghan mistrust of the police.
The Nato allies worry that attempts to defeat the Taliban-led insurgency are handicapped by perceptions that the police break more laws than they uphold.
The desert locations of Separ, or Shield in Dari, are far from the fog-bound streets of Pc Dixon's London beat. But Pc Dixon's qualities of selflessness, unswerving honesty and calm dependability are the attributes the Afghan government extol of the police force.
The Afghan National Police has an often deserved reputation for manned by unruly, hashish-addled thieves rather than firm-but-fair pillars of the local community.
Training a police force which can keep security after Nato troops leave is a crucial to keeping the 2014 date for withdrawal of combat troops outlined on Saturday at the Lisbon Nato summit.
Their reputation is so bad though, and so adroitly exploited by Taliban propaganda, that it is seen as driving a wedge between the public and Hamid Karzai's government.
A United Nations survey last year found two-fifths of Afghans thought police were involved in the drug trade and 42 per cent believed "gifts are necessary when interacting with police officers".
Separ is the 24-part serial on state broadcaster RTA hoping to change the perception by recounting the heroic exploits of Lt Hamayun each Saturday evening at 7pm.
The show, from Awaz Production, has received £91,000 from the EU and £250,000 from Canada.
Lt Humayun is a clean-cut officer, young enough to be Pc Dixon's grandson, who exudes the honesty and resolution which marked his British counterpart's appearances in more than 400 episodes on the BBC from 1955 to 1976.
Because criminals often refuse to come quietly in Afghanistan, he occasionally has to make use of his pistol, but scriptwriters have avoided the high-octane plots of shows like the popular American anti-terrorist drama "24".
Separ has instead chosen a portrayal of everyday crimes and the interplay of characters in a fictional border police station, said Christian Marie, an adviser to the show.
He said: "We could have gone with the terrorism style show, like 24, but that doesn't mean anything to 99 per cent of the people, that's not how they interact with the police.
"We wanted it to be more like Dixon of Dock Green. That influenced an entire generation."