FANS of police drama The Bill who fancy themselves as a bit of an actor have the chance to test their talent.

For police trainers are looking for volunteers from all walks of life to play burglars, drunk drivers, yobs and crime victims.

Rookie officers from across the region take part in role playing exercises as part of their training at the Northern Region National Police Training School in Durham City. They have played all the roles themselves but now senior officers are making training more realistic by getting the public involved.

Durham Police Insp Brian Luke, course manager, said: "A variety of role playing scenarios are used during community involvement days to give the officers a taste of the sorts of things they will be dealing with once they leave the training school. "For example, volunteers might find themselves playing the part of a drunk driver or someone reporting the theft of a purse."

Insp Luke said officers found public involvement invaluable and thought it made the training more realistic.

He added that volunteers could comment on an officer's performance in the exercise.

"If they feel an officer's attitude or manner was wrong they can say so.''

The days are held every five weeks on a Thursday - the next is on July 27 between 9.30am and 4pm. Refreshments and a buffet are provided.

The centre hopes to have a pool of regulars it can call on.

Anyone interested can call Sandra Summerbell on (0191) 3861366 for more details.