26 March 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Module 2 - Press/Police - Day 15

Lord Justice Leveson
 "The focus of the Inquiry is ‘the culture, practices and ethics of the press’ in the context of the latter’s relationship with the public, the police and politicians. All of these matters overlap, and my goal must be to consider what lessons, if any, may be learned from past events and what recommendations, if any, should be made for the future, in particular as regards press regulation, governance and other systems of oversight."

Module 2 

"The relationship between the press and the police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest."

Useful Links:
Leveson Inquiry Witness Statements HERE 
Leveson Inquiry Witness Lists HERE
Video Recordings of each day's proceedings HERE
Live Feed From Leveson Inquiry Site HERE
BBC Democracy Live Feed HERE 
Telegraph Live Blog HERE (last Wednesday)
Guardian Live Blog HERE(Last Wednesday)

 Links to today's articles, Blogs, comment and information relevant to the Leveson Inquiry:

 Monday, 26th March 2012
Witness List for week HERE
Link for Day 14 HERE

Today's Witnesses:
Colin Adwent ( Crime Reporter East Anglia Daily Times )
Chief Constable Simon Ash ( Suffolk Constabulary )
Anne Campbell ( Head of Corporate Communications, Norfolk and Suffolk Police )
Nick Griffiths ( Carlisle News and Star )
Terry Hunt ( East Anglian Daily Times )
Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey ( MPS, formerly Chief Constable Cumbria Constabulary )
Anne Pickles ( Carlisle News and Star )
Gillian Shearer ( Head of Marketing and Communications, Cumbria Constabulary )

To be read:
DCS Iain Goulding ( Cumbria Constabulary )

Colin Adwent  Witness Statement in Full

Colin Adwent, East Anglia Daily Times and Ipswich star crime reporter now giving evidence. Will Ian Huntley come up?
Adwent: If officers are responsible enough to deal with life/death, they are responsible to know what they can talk to press about

Adwent: Have, generally speaking, a good relationship with Suffolk police.
Adwent: On the news desk at Ipswich Star when Steve Wright arrested. Was overseeing what reporters were doing.
Adwent: I was aware of the letter that went out and editors stresed the need to be careful, but we weren't being targeted.
Adwent: Our practice to pixilate faces of arrested people when printing pics from police raids. 
Adwent: Off-the-record briefings mean we can tailor our coverage.
Adwent: I have found things out that haven't gone through the official channels and the press office.
Adwent: Since contact logging came in, one or two officers seem slightly more nervous about speaking to me. 

Adwent says he has a good relationship with Suffolk press, generally speaking
Adwent: Each of us has our own perspective and agenda on things, but I’ve no wish to be in front of a judge

Chief Constable Simon Ash  Witness Statement in Full

Suffolk is one of the smallest forces in the country, comprising of 2,200 officers and staff.
The corporate comms department of the force merged with Norfolk police last year
Ash: Officers and staff very cautious in their dealings with the media, tended to be protective of information.
Ash: Meet local editors on an ad hoc basis, we have a healthy relationship but they're not afraid to challlenge me.
Ash: Dealings with the national media are very limited and usually through ACPO press office. Try to distance myself.
Suffolk policy states staff and officers should give name and rank to media, "police spokesperson" should not be used.
Ash: Tried to bridge any gaps with media with specific training for officers, to ensure information is passed on quickly.
Ash: Only one example of hospitality, attended football match Jan 2011 which was recorded.
Ash: Light refreshments are usually the order of the day when dealing with media.
Ash: System records date, time, place and overall purpose of meetings between officers and journalists.
Ash: System records date, time, place and overall purpose of meetings between officers and journalists.
Ash: There's an acceptance that the mere fact of this inquiry, that maybe things need to change.
Suffolk policy states hospitality must been capable of being justified in the public interest.
Ash: Chief officers register maintained by own office. Under discussion that it needs standards department oversight.
Ash: Using HMIC 'Without fear or favour' report as a checklist and looking at putting register online.
Ash: HMIC report accurately makes the point that national consistancy is an issue.
Ash: Suffolk has investigated five leaks to the press in the last five years, none of them provable.
Jay QC asks Ash to comment on evidence given by Dave Harrison, ex-SOCA officer.
Ash: Not been able to find evidence NoW deployed surveillance against police surveillance.
Ash: Have found information to support assertion Sunday Mirror picked up suspect under police caution to interview him.

Ash: I meet editors in the county on an adhoc basis – to resolve whatever the current issues are of the day
Ash: We [the press and the police] work together for the good of our local community
Ash adds that editors aren't afraid to challenge him, and says the relationship is "healthy" and "professional"
Ash: Bad news almost writes itself, we have to work hard to promote the good work officers and staff do day in and day out
Ash: Contact with media logged on computer system "Spotlight". Records date, time, place and purpose of meetings
Ash's written statement says local media and police are deeply embedded in same community with same concerns
Ash tells the court local press and police share "a lot of very similar objectives"
Jay asks Ash: "Do you believe corporate comms dept is putting out a party line? Putting a positive gloss on everything you do?"
Ash: We’re all of the view we take the rough with the smooth, but my overall objective is to create confidence in the police

Ash: we were slow putting into public domain the escape people who had been in a secure hospital who had committed violent offences
Ash: No evidence to support or counter claims that News of the World had hired surveillance team to spy on Suffolk Strangler police

Chief Const of Suffolk says is info another paper picked up police suspect to interview him; inquiry was told S Mirror did this

Anne Campbell  #1 Witness Statement in Full / #2 Witness Statement in Full

Campbell chairs the association of police communications officers. Has 400 members including DPA and Met.
Campbell: See communications very much as a news editing to role rather than a controlling role.
Campbell says all the briefings during Suffolk Strangler manhunt were "on the record and lots of it"
Suffolk sent warning letter to newspaper editors, reminding them that legal proceedings were active after Steve Wright arrested
Campbell: Forces do need to harness channels such as social media. It's an opportunity to get to the public directly.
Police comms chiefs met in Nov to discuss handling of the Raoul Moat case; the Derrick Bird shootings; Dale Farm evacuation
Suffolk comms chief says "those who confidentially brief journalists" "seek to damage" police "in the eyes of the public" 
Campbell: Describes an encouragement of staff at "all levels" to interact on all levels where it is "appropriate"
Campbell explains that in complex investigations, police officers work closely with comms dept to work out lines to take
Campbell adds corporate comms and police officers work together to "find the areas where we can be proactive with the media"
Campbell: National overarching guidelines and parameters would mean everyone would "be able to sing from the same hymn sheet"
Campbell: Never been too concerned about people who leak info as long as we’re given the opportunity to give a balanced picture
Campbell: That’s where the relationship with the media comes in. I have confidence in local media to reflect the accurate story

Campbell: Don’t believe it’s acceptable to purchase alcohol, but for low level refereshments expenses are justifiable.
Campbell: National media tend to be interested in bad news, the local media give a rounded view.
Campbell: I prefer not to use the term "off the record", the connotation is unhelpful.
Jay QC moves on to the 2006 Ipswich murders. Campbell not with force at the time but has provided media strategy.
Campbell: Press office kept a drip of information going, it was a benchmark of how well things can go.
Jay: Warning letter sent by chief constable to tabloid newspapers following the arrest of Steve Wright, concern over reporting.
Campbell: Forces need to harness the channels, like social media, don't need to be mediated by the media - but not an either/or.
Campbell: Those who confidentially brief journalists without knowledge of media management are seeking to damage organisation.
Campbell: In the forces I've worked with recently, we've tried to respond to reports in the most appropriate way.  

Terry Hunt  Witness Statement in Full

Hunt: The release of information from Suffolk police has, in certain cases, been too slow in my opinion.
Hunt: In case of dangerous inmates at large in local area, would have hoped police would put info out quickly to warn public.
Hunt: We felt it was our responsibility to keep the Ipswich murders within context when reporting.
Hunt: National coverage was not as balanced as did not have same responsibilities as local media.
Hunt: There have always been police officers who have been reluctant to share legitimate information, for their own reasons.
Hunt: The recording of contact between police and press will be a huge step backwards.
Hunt: My job is to get the most accurate, balanced information to my readers.
Hunt: Frustrating that Suffolk police don't release info on time. 3 men escaped on a Sunday am, but press not told till lunchtime

Hunt refers to escape of dangerous inmates - I would have hoped that Suffolk police would have put some info into the public domain
3 men escaped Sunday am - Hunt: "I felt it very unfortunate that that info didn’t reach us until lunchtime that Sunday."
Hunt: We felt it was our responsibility to keep this [Ipswich murders] within context
Hunt: There was a great deal of concern about what was going on in a very fast moving and frankly horrifying story
Hunt re press and police relations: "There is a heightened sensitivity at the moment"
Hunt: Proposal to record contact between press and police will be a step backwards
Hunt: We would always abide by the wishes of the press office if they wanted us to keep quiet about an ongoing inquiry
says East Anglian journo showed "responsiblity at the highest level" for waiting for police ok before publishing ID of victim

    Gillian Shearer and Craig Mackey interviewed together

    Craig Mackey  Witness Statement in Full
    Gillian Shearer  Witness Statement in Full

    Mackey: Cumbria force had better relationship with local media than national media.
    Mackey: All my contact with media was through the press office.
    Mackey: There's not a wide culture of hospitality, that's very much part of the community.
     Mackey: Hospitality ought to be proportionate and appropriate.
    Shearer: At lower level would encourage our officers to be proactive and talk to the media and use the media.
    Lucinda Boon, inquiry counsel, is taking Mackey and Shearer through Cumbria policy on media relationships.
    Shearer: All staff and officers receive media training right up to chief officer level.
    Shearer: Press office was taking several hundred calls during Derrick Bird shootings in 2010. Had to take on extra staff.
    Shearer asked about the decision to to give preferential off-the-record briefings to the CRA.
    #Leveson asks if family members were approached by press before being told relatives involved in Shearer: At times found members of the national media very aggressive and difficult to please. shootings by police. Shearer says yes.
    Shearer: In contact with PCC over grieving families feeling harassed. They asked us to tell people to call them.
    Mackey: There was widespread talk about money being available for certain photographs in the community, upsetting for families.
    Shearer: Restructuring of press office in 2006, brought in policies to wipe out unattributed sources.
    Mackey: Cumbria is probably a bigger user of social media than the Metropolitan Police. 
    Boon asks Mackey about his current role at MPS and response to HMIC and Filkin reports. 
    Shearer: Restructuring of press office in 2006, brought in policies to wipe out unattributed sources.
    Mackey on media guidelines: It’s easier to bring the bar back down than it is to raise the bar at a later stage.

      Mackey: There is more consistency [with local media] so you do build up a relationship
      Shearer: I would expect the justification [for off the record] to be considerable
    Mackey: For me, hospitality is about proportion and balance
    Shearer: Staff receive media training when they come in, to set context. That’s supported right the way through the organisation
    Shearer says calls to press office went from 30-50 a day to 300-500 a day after Derrick Bird shootings
    Shearer: Victims families were overwhelmed by media contact.Some of the contact had happened before we were able to inform them
    Shearer: In contact with PCC over grieving families feeling harassed. They asked us to tell people to call them.
    Mackey: O wouldn’t describe us as less than generous, but isn’t a wide culture of hospitality.
    #Leveson Mackey: The only hospitality that I have ever accepted from the media has been one lunch with a local newspaper editor in 2007
    Cumbria police took 300-500 calls a day during Derrick Bird killing spree. Normally takes 30 to 50 calls a day
    Shearer confirms the crime reporters association sought preferential off record treatment during Bird case. She rejected request.

    #Leveson. Shearer: Press went to doors of bereaved before the police had contacted them about family member shot by Bird
    #Leveson: Shearer - national media - print and TV continued to doorstep bereaved after a request to pull back.
    Mackey Re Bird rampage - community angered dismayed at way in which communities and families portrayed and treated
    Mackey, deputy comm of Met, reveals Met is recommending to board in April that police log of all meetings with press is set up.  
    Mackey says it is also recommending all management board meetings with press logged and published on web for transparency
    Former Cumbria chief constable suggests families cd identify Derrick Bird's victims from rolling TV news coverage 
    Shearer of Cumbria police : both telly crews and print journos remained outside victims' families' properties

    Local Lab MP re #leveson Cumbria evidence- > RT : @rosschawkins The behaviour was despicable. At times, inhuman.
    #leveson says Cumbria police could have complained to Ofcom about camera crews on doorsteps
    Deputy Met Commissioner Craig Mackey : new interim media guidelines being consulted on in Met, to be signed off April
    Deputy Met Commissioner Craig Mackey : recommending note is made of all Met police meetings with media
    Deputy Met Commissioner Craig Mackey : all members of management board may have to put those records online

    Anne Pickles and Nick Griffiths interviewed together

    Anne Pickles  Witness Statement in Full
    Nick Griffiths  Witness Statement in Full

    Pickles is associate editor of the paper, acting editor for four months until February. Griffiths is a reporter.
    Pickles: My relationships with the police have been built on a mutual trust and respect. We serve a common purpose and community.
    Pickles: Situation in Cumbria contrasts hugely to anything that might have triggered this inquiry.
    Pickles: We have to live with the people on whose lives we are reporting.
    Pickles: Period of Yorkshire Ripper murders formed my opinion that I should alwasy be a local or regional journalist.
    Pickles: In those days journalists were proud to have favourite senior officers, it all did get a little chummy.
    Pickles: During Derek Bird shootings national press asked for preferential off-the-record info. Editor was approached for advice.
    Pickles: My understanding is that it was journalists from the Crime Reporters Association.
    Pickles: Nick has a face-to-face meeting at the police station every morning and we staff our local courts as a matter of course.
    Pickles: Twitter is a personal irritant. It's become an obstacle for us, it's almost a full-time job monitoring officers' tweets.
    Pickles: Never accepted or provided hospitality to the police.
    Griffiths: Could count on one hand number of times I've attended police social occasions in eight years.
    Griffiths: I’m not there saying "give me a list of all the drug busts you're going to do in the next three weeks”.
    Griffiths: Might be given a heads up on press releases, etc. but never leaked information by police.
    Pickles: Derek Bird shootings were an extremely successful police/local media operation.
    Pickles: Derek Bird shootings were an extremely successful police/local media operation.
    Pickles: I don’t see what purpose can be served by a police officer filling in a form every time he or she speaks to a journalist.
    Pickles: I think the relationship we have works well, it’s built on trust, it’s built on respect and it’s professional.
    Anne PIckles Carlisle News & Star journo : national media can sweep in then out into black hole of anonymity
    PIckles Carlisle News & Star : national journos asked police to give them info before local journos after Derrick Bird shootings
    Anne Pickles Carlisle News & Star : if you see tweet about drugs raid nothing you can do but ask press office

    Pickles: I’ve always taken the view if you have to pay a lot of money for a story it’s probably not worth it in the first place.
    #Leveson. Pickles: "I don't know why rogue miscreants (hacks) were not dealt with". Don't need police to fill forms every time they meet us
    Pickles: National media "sweeps in & sweeps out again into a black hole of anonymity". Local press live with those they report on
    Pickles: Journalists from CRA asked police for preferential treatment & off-the-record info during Derek Bird shootings
    Griffiths: "We’re not in the business of screwing up police operations"
    Griffiths: when I meet police socially I'm not saying give me a list of all the drug busts you're going to do in the next 3 weeks
    Griffiths: I can count on one hand the number of times I've attended police social occasions in last eight years
    Pickles: local coverage of Derrick Bird shootings was "perversely, an extremely successful police/local media operation"
    Pickles: I don’t think there’s any need to drive a wedge between local press and local police
    Pickles: The stain from what has happened to trigger this inquiry tends to spread across all sections of the media
    Pickles: It’s clear we’re in a bad place in some sections of the media, I think a lot of the media has to blame itself for that