It has been confirmed by ITV that it is axing police drama, 'The Bill' after 27 years on air.

The Guardian reports that the decision follows last year’s revamp of the show which saw it move from two weekly half hour shows to one one hour show scheduled at 9pm at night. The post-watershed time-slot meant darker issues could be tackled.

Ratings for the show have now fallen to an average of 3.5million from a high of 7million in 2002.

ITV says the decision was part of a rethink of the drama schedules. It is set to focus in future on show with a short run.

ITV director of television, channels and online Peter Fincham said "The Bill has been a fixture on our screens for more than 25 years and has been the home of some of the UK's best serial drama storylines, and a great showcase for terrific scriptwriting and fine acting talent."

He continued "But times change, and so do the tastes of our audience. While The Bill will come to an end in 2010, we will continue to invest more in drama programming than any other commercial broadcaster in the UK and viewers can look forward to a wide range of high quality drama on ITV1."