His one-off ITV documentary, Ross Kemp and the Armed Police, was a no-holds barred look at guns as part of ITV's Crime & Punishment season
Ross Kemp has spoken out after his documentary focusing on gun crime in Birmingham aired on ITV.
His one-off ITV documentary, Ross Kemp and the Armed Police, was a no-holds barred look at guns as part of ITV's Crime & Punishment season.
The documentary was fronted by the former EastEnders hardman, who was forced to don a bullet-proof vest.
The hour-long show saw Ross riding with armed members of the West Midlands Police, who cover Birmingham - a city with more firearms incidents per head than anywhere else in the UK.
Fans were quick to hail the documentary, with one telling Ross on Twitter: "Thought it was great Ross, really did and you make excellent point. Keisha interview incredibly tough to see, both wife and I tears rolling down our face, poor lady but amazingly brave. Thought superb doc & good insight to what armed police have to face."
"Really interesting and informative take on armed policing," another added.
Another added: "Just watched your programme thanks so much for asking about the police officers family as a wife of a serving armed officer i worry every single day he goes to work but still immensely proud of what he does so thankyou..."
Taking to Twitter, the former soap star said: "We have to consider how lucky we are that only 5% of our police are armed.
"There were 1500 firearms ops last year and only 10 resulted in shots being fired.
"We have to deal with the causes of gun crime."
He added: "Sorry, typing too fast.
"It’s actually 15,705!"
Continuing, the documentary maker also wrote: "Not all gun violence is gang related.
"We have to look at the causes of gun violence in all communities.
"We have to give young people better options and not pigeon hole them at young ages."
He begins in suburbia, a place he admits he never expected to find guns that could be used in a myriad of crimes.
He also steps into the shady world of gun-smuggling when he meets a dealer who, rather chillingly, claims the police are seemingly powerless to stop him bringing weapons into the country.
The presenter joined West Midland’s Police tactical firearms teams to investigate how gun crime in Britain has exploded.
During the shocking sequence, the men boast how they can get hold of a gun within a matter of minutes and ‘one phone call’ for hire or for keeps.
They also describe the “empowering” moment they first held their deadly weapon in his hands and how they felt invincible.
One said: “Powerful. When you first get it man, it's like Popeye just popped his can of spinach and whosh.”
Another replies: “I just ran up a hill the first time I got one. Just the flood of power and the extension of it, I thought yeah. The kick, that’s like thunder that is."
He went on: “It's a gun man. And they’re pretty as well you know, they make them like precisely."
One said he wanted to keep a gun on him ‘everyday’, because: "You don’t want to leave it."
In the show, Kemp follows police into a property in the Midlands where two guns are uncovered.
The actor expresses surprise at the setting of the house, among suburban streets.
He says: “There is a sad irony for me, that I am standing outside a suburban house in Birmingham, wearing the same kit I wore in Iraq and Syria…
"Police have just found a sawn-off shotgun and a pistol in the garden of the house behind me.
"And this is happening on a regular basis.”
Birmingham's urban areas seem to be in the grip of raging gang violence.
Ross says: “In a lot of inner city areas the drug market has changed.
“Where you once had two or three big gangs fighting over turf, now you have dozens of splinter groups. And the one that is prepared to be the most violent takes top position.”
Ross spoke to an arms smuggler during filming.
The smuggler makes up to £500,000 a week bringing guns into Britain.
He says: “Unbelievably, even he told me we need to see more police on the streets.
"He said the lack of police was making his life very easy and claimed coppers had totally lost control.
“It’s a typical cycle — cuts come in, police are removed from the streets and you get a spike in gun violence.
"That’s why violent crime is up.
"That’s why gang crime is up.”
During one poignant scene, ex-Eastenders hardman Ross meets Keisha McLeod.
Keisha's 14-year-old son Corey Junior Davis, known as “CJ”, was shot dead last year.
CJ died in Newham, East London.
And Ross revealed: “As a father, my heart just broke for her.
"She had tried so hard to save her son from the clutches of this gang — she’d moved him out of the area and home-schooled him.
“Despite trying so hard, ultimately she couldn’t prevent him from being shot dead.”