The BBC series Blue Lights about the police in Belfast, is a truly gripping drama. The best drama on TV for some time. 

The writing is brilliant, conveying the daily lives of the police against the backdrop of the legacy of 'the troubles'. The way the tension is retained throughout is amazing.

This is coming from someone who has routinely turned off cop-based TV drama, generally because of their predominance - there must be something other than the police to do good drama about! But Blue Lights is something else.

This drama is also authentic showing what the world of policing is all about.

It shows the police picking up the pieces of the daily social discord, playing the role of socially just men and women.

And this is essentially the role of the police in an increasingly divided society. The police are not the answer to crime. 

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Paul Donovan is a fan of the TV series Blue LightsPaul Donovan is a fan of the TV series Blue Lights

It is always irritating to listen to the banal political debates about crime, suggesting that more police is the solution. 

Yes, the police have been run down and resourcing does need to be restored and there needs to be more put into community policing. 

The present police service is constantly being asked to do more with less and is then criticised for failing to deliver. 

There are of course many problems with the police, which have been well-documented recently. There needs to be radical reform but let's not forget it is not an easy job.

Most police serve selflessly, serving the community daily - often putting their safety at risk. There have been a number of examples recently highlighting this heroism.

But the police are not the answer to crime, just as locking people up - out of sight and out of mind - is not a solution.

The problems lie deeper in a selfish, unequal society, where many structures have broken down, not least the family. It is these deep underlying problems that need addressing to tackle crime, not just focusing on those charged with picking up the pieces.

The first two series of Blue Lights is available on BBC iPlayer.

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (