I wrote this as the long-awaited fifth series of Line of Duty was being shown on BBC on Sunday nights.  This is behind the sofa watching- it’s so scary and the unexpected is bound to happen. As is my usual habit I watched all the first four series before I started watching series five – over two weeks trying to keep pace with the iPlayer deadlines. I hadn’t seen series one before and so found it interesting to see how the characters were introduced and the story developed that is now coming through in the latest episodes. I’m still not sure what is happening and who did what even after watching it twice, but things do seem a bit clearer the second time around.

For those of you who haven’t watched it (and why not- it’s gripping!) the story is about a police unit AC 12 – anti-corruption 12 who investigate “bent coppers” and there are loads of them around every corner. These policemen are linked to organised crime groups (OCG’s) and there is a mastermind of high rank whose initial is H. but who is H? We were led to believe it was assistant chief constable  Hilton who ended up dead and then it could be detective chief superintendent Hargreaves,  who also ended up dead. We are being steered towards   Superintendent Ted Hastings ( as in the Battle as he tells everyone )  who is the head of the anti-corruption squad- but surely not– he’s one of the really good guys isn’t he? but in this series, he is doing some shady things and I am beginning to wonder.

Hastings has a very high moral standard and believes clearly in right and wrong and catching the bad guys:

“There’s only one thing I am interested in and that’s catching bent coppers”

He is uncompromising in his views about the standards he expects:

“There’s a line. It’s called right and wrong and I know which side my duty lies, so why don’t you write a nice letter of resignation to the PCC or I swear to God I will drag you down with the rest of them.” – Ted Hastings (series 3, episode 6)

He expects his team to share and uphold his values:

”My officers conduct themselves to the letter of the law – the letter!”

He has no time for colleagues who do not share his high values and comes down hard on anyone who he thinks is falling below standards:

“I can guarantee you 110 per cent none of my people would plant evidence. They know I would throw the book at them … followed by the bookshelves.” 

I thought there were comparisons between his moral stance and our stance as Christians. What is our line of duty? We should all share the same high values and moral standards in our dealing with each other in the church and challenge things that are not right. This is both within and outside of the Church and we need to look at how we behave inside the church and how that affects our dealings with people in our life outside at work, home and in the community. We should be uncompromising in our desire to serve God to the highest standard and our best ability. We should serve God to the letter of the law – God’s law given to us by Jesus in the Bible and we need to know where the line is that we will not cross. There are ways in our everyday life that show that we stand on Gods side of the line which may seem trivial but send out a message to people that we are Christians. How often have people you work with taken home things from work – just some paper or staples or a bit of blu-tac. By not doing this because “everyone does it” we are taking a stance for honesty and truth and demonstrating to others that we have high moral standards. How often have you been with people who have been undercharged for a meal who feel that this is good and it’s the fault of the restaurant if they don’t get it right but you are the one who says you’ve not been charged for something and pay for what you have had. These are little things and pale into insignificance compared to what Hastings is challenging in Line of Duty but all these little signs show people that we are Christians and live to a different code- our Line of Duty.

Author: Barbara Kenny