The producers of a television debate about crime in Wrexham are facing a social media backlash for their “sensationalist”. approach.
Local people have responded angrily after seeing a promotional video for the programme, The Hour, which they say makes the town sound more like Baghdad.
According to critics, the video portrays an overwhelmingly negative image of the town and the first interviewee calls for more police officers with guns on the streets.
He sets the tone for the rest of the video in the very first clip in which he says: “Drugs, robberies, rapes and with rise of terrorism they need more armed police.”
The programme fronted by presenter Catrin Nye is being produced for BBC Wales by independent outfit, Avanti TV, and is due to be shown tonight (Monday, March 12) at 10.40pm.
Among those who hit out at the show on Twitter was Mark Jones, a Board Member of The Wrexham Supporters Trust Governing Body.
He said: “Not the Wrexham I know but then it (the BBC) needs to be sensationalist to get viewers. The town needs investment not scaremongering rubbish. 1/10th the money thrown at Cardiff would transform the place.
“There isn’t a town in the UK that doesn’t have these issues. Why does Wrexham have more than some? Because they get help, are treated with respect and are policed sensibly here.”
Cllr Marc Jones, a Plaid Cymru member of Wrexham County Borough Council, was equally incensed.
He tweeted: “When a broadcaster comes to town with a cliched and outdated agenda. Ignores some real positives that could see the town centre transformed.”
It was a sentiment endorsed by Dyfan Evans who said: “Fed up of the negativity. The town’s issues will never be solved unless people see the positives.”
Matthew Purlsow added: “Yes there are big problems and issues to tackle, but by far not the worst place to live.”
Another commentator said: “Your (sic) kidding me……lived in very challenging areas in UK. Wrexham is safest I have ever lived and surprised by editing of this video.”
The North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Arfon Jones, a former police inspector, is also unhappy about their approach.
He said: “Although I was unable to attend the debate itself, I had originally agreed to do an interview with the programme.
“But I pulled out when it became perfectly clear they wanted to do a hatchet job on Wrexham by generating more heat than light.
“I’m afraid the overwhelmingly negative promotional video confirmed all my worst fears when it made the town sound more like Baghdad on a bad day.
“This is a scurrilous attempt to besmirch Wrexham. Of course, the town is not perfect and as a local resident and a former councillor I am fully aware of the challenges.
“But The Hour are over-egging the negatives in a cynical attempt to drum up viewers. Shame on them for this trash TV promotional video.”