Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Treating Journalists like crooks!

The College of Policing has today issued guidance to the Police Service, "Guidance on Relationships with the Media" for the following purpose:
This guidance should be considered by forces alongside their own media and communications policies. It has been produced to ensure greater consistency between forces and in response to the Leveson Inquiry findings 
 It remains the responsibility of individual forces to ensure that their interactions and relationships with all media representatives are professional, transparent and capable of withstanding scrutiny.
The part of the guidance that caught my attention was Paragraph 3.6 Notifiable Associations which states,
"If you have a relationship with a specific journalist on a personal basis outside of your role as a police officer or member of police staff (such as a relative or close friend), details should be logged within your force in accordance with local policy and procedure. 
Now this is quite draconian and it means that a Police Officer MUST register the names of journalists with whom he or she associates and it basically criminalises journalists and restricts the freedom of association of Police Officers. I very much hope that both the NUJ and the Police Federation challenge the legality of Paragraph 3.6 in the Courts.

This is a backward step in holding the Police to account and it should not go unchallenged. 

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