Police have launched a criminal investigation after shocking undercover footage at Braintree’s biggest care home was televised.

The BBC Panorama programme, Behind Closed Doors: Elderly Care Exposed, was broadcast last night and revealed a catalogue of poor care and mistreatment at The Old Deanery Care Home in Bocking.

In one clip, a careworker was seen slapping resident Joan Maddison, who suffers from dementia and is partially paralysed following a stroke.

Anglia Retirement Homes, which runs the 93-bed care home, apologised for the failings and said it was “shocked and saddened”.

The care worker responsible for slapping Mrs Maddison has now been dismissed, while seven other members of staff have been suspended.

Police are now also looking into the matter.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “BBC’s Parorama programme was viewed by detectives and, as a result, an investigation has now begun.

“The force did request an advanced preview viewing of the programme but this was declined.

“If members of the public wish to report any allegations of crime relating to this matter they are asked to contact Essex Police.”

See the Braintree Times for more reaction