A HARD-HITTING documentary showing the work which went into investigating a fatal town centre stabbing is set to be aired this month.

A new series called Murder 24/7 is set to be screened on BBC Two after researchers spent months with Essex Police.

One of the cases featured is the fatal stabbing of Carl Hopkins in Ryegate Road, Colchester, last February.

The 49-year-old and his pal Jon Birch was knifed by a teenager drug dealer who was cleared of murder and attempted murder after telling the jury he was acting in self defence.

The documentary makers spoke to everyone involved in murder cases including senior investigating officers to manhunt specialists, blood spatter and forensic specialists, phone and intelligence analysts and uniformed officers who are often the first to arrive at the scene of a crime.

It is the first time that Essex Police has opened its doors to the public, allowing unprecedented access to a team of filmmakers from production company Expectation Factual, to show the work of the Major Crime team detectives who investigate the most serious of crimes.

The Gazette crime reporter Chad Nugent was also filmed talking about covering the case when it happened and during the Chelmsford Crown Court trial.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: “We know our detectives here in Essex are amongst the finest in the world and that’s why we took the opportunity to showcase just some of their work through this BBC documentary.

“When a murder happens, which is thankfully not very often, our detectives work around the clock, often at great personal sacrifice, to follow up every lead, support devastated families and hunt those responsible.

“But what this programme really captures is, that while our detectives will lead the investigation and the hunt for suspects, it really is a force-wide effort to support victims, solve crime, hunt offenders and bring them to justice.

“Murder 24/7 really shows that when these terrible crimes happen our whole force comes together to catch a killer.”

Det Supt Morgan Cronin, Essex Police’s head of major, economic and cyber crime, said: “At the heart of every murder or manslaughter is a victim who has lost their life and a devastated family left behind.

“We hope that this programme shows the residents of our county that when the very worst happens we work determinedly to piece together what happened, catch those responsible and ensure they face justice.

“Murder 24/7 captures in real time, the dedication and commitment of all of our officers as well as the complexity of an investigation and the painstaking work that goes into gathering evidence - from trawling CCTV to intricate forensic work and mobile phone analysis – which is often frustrated by those seeking to avoid capture and justice.

“We hope this programme gives the public and the residents of Essex a greater understanding of the challenges of these investigations but also reassures them of the professionalism, determination and commitment of our officers.”

Ruth Kelly, executive producer at Expectation Factual said: “We wanted to produce a police documentary series with a unique approach, rooted in what really happens when someone is murdered.

“The result is Murder 24/7, made possible by the privileged access Essex Police gave us to their Major Crime Teams.

“We hope that the series shines a light on the extraordinary team of detectives, forensic investigators and specialists who come together, working round the clock, to solve murder cases.”

Murder 24/7: Essex will air at 9pm on BBC Two on Monday February 24, Tuesday February 25, Wednesday February 26, Monday 2 March and Tuesday 3 March.

The Colchester case is expected to feature in the later episodes.