Nick Ross: ‘I don’t miss Crimewatch!’

Former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross is back investigating criminals again in his new three-part documentary series, The Truth About Crime…

Why did you decide to do The Truth About Crime?

“Because crime surveys, hospital intake records, and police records shows crime is coming down but we, the public, don’t believe it. So we set out to try to find the truth. It’s a three-part series that looks for solutions and asks why we’re not grasping them.”

So how do you find out the truth?

“Our cameras head to Oxford for a fortnight, because it has a typical crime rate for a British city, and a lot of surprises are thrown up. The sort of crime we see on the news is actually very, very unusual in Britain. While teens in areas of some cities have a right to be apprehensive about knife crime, the great majority of us will never encounter it. What we encounter is a lot of drink-related violence and anti-social behaviour.”

What did people moan to you about most?

“Most people seemed upset by things like litter, dog-pooh, bad parking, speeding on residential roads, shouting and drinking in the streets.”

Have you ever been a victim of crime?

“Yes, I was held up at gunpoint when working as a reporter in Northern Ireland. I’ve had a theft from my car and an attempted burglary at my first home many years ago.”

Do people tell you their horror stories?

“Yes, frequently. I spent many years as an advisor to Victim Support and hearing about the harm caused by crime still makes me upset – and sometimes angry too.”

Overall, is crime getting worse?

I genuinely feel there’s huge room for optimism about crime. The negative side is, it’s very easy to gloss over problems of anti-social behaviour and write them off as trivial when they’re so obviously not.

How do you look back on your Crimewatch years? Do you miss it?

“It’s two years since I left Crimewatch and it seems a distant memory. Do I miss it? Not in the slightest. It was great for 20 years or so but life’s moved on.”

The Truth About Crime begins on Tuesday July 21 at 9pm on BBC1