27 March 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Module 2 - Press/Police - Day 16

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:
@lisaocarroll: Tickner's evidence dealt with three issues - Andy Hayman's expenses, a leak in relation to Forest Gate and a contract leak
Panorama on NDS sparks legal efforts to stop other media outlets investigating:what lovely people we are dealing with! Feels like a big one.
    Tuesday, 27th March:
    Link to Day 15 HERE

    Witnesses appearing:
    Barbara Brewis ( Media and Marketing, Durham Constabulary )
    Amanda Hirst ( Head of Corporate Communications, Avon and Somerset Police )
    DCI Philip Jones ( Avon and Somerset Constabulary )
    Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby ( Surrey Police )
    Chief Constable Colin Port ( Avon and Somerset Constabulary )
    Chief Constable Jonathan Stoddart ( Durham Constabulary )

    To be read:
    Ian Marratt ( Communications Manager, Surrey Police) Witness Statement in Full

    Amanda Hirst 

    From Ladies that Tweet Blog:
    Amanda Hirst heads a communications team at Avon and Somerset Police spanning media relations and PR, marketing and campaigns, events and web and social media.  Last year she and her team dealt with a media deluge after Joanna Yeates went missing from Clifton, Bristol.  Media interest in the subsequent murder investigation and trial that followed was unrelenting.
    Later in the year, the team was inundated once again with requests from the media after the tragic multiple collision on the M5.  Social media was an important communications channel for the police in each of these cases and has been used by the Avon and Somerset Communications Team as a standard communications tool for some time.
    Amanda will talk about the power of social media and the importance of online communications as a trusted source of public information during the Joanna Yeates case and the M5 collision.
    The next witness is Amanda Hirst, head of corporate communications at Avon and Somerset Police.
    Hirst: Yeates case happened at time of year when there was a lot space to film, huge pressure from journalists.
    Hirst: There has to be a bit of distance and a bit of a firewall between press officers and journalists. 
    Hirst: Constant refrains from journalists was Yeates in public interest- very much that they wanted to be inside the investigation
    Hirst: Press used deliberate tactic of multiple speculative media enquires to get at heart of investigation.
    Hirst: Ended up with a lot of inaccurate reporting, created problems for the investigation team.
    Hirst: Vincent Tabak following progress of the investigation in media, important to ensure anything inappropriate was contained.
    Hirst: Negotiated with Mail journalist and editor over info on DNA in Yeates case, held some details back.
    Hirst: Had multiple questions from newspapers, they weren’t general - they were focusing on a very particular themes.
    Hirst: Liz Jones from Mail the journalist asking for access to investigation meetings. "Became rude" when refused.
    Hirst: Received requests to interview Yeates' parents. Declined on their behalf
    Hirst: Didn't complain to PCC, in the middle of a very fast-moving investigation and unrelenting media frenzy

    Hirst's written statement: Dealings with the media generally positive. Relationship tends to be better with local & regional
    Hirst: There is a significant pressure from journalists to answer an unrelenting no of press enquiries. It becomes very difficult
    Hirst: each new member of corporate comms staff is made aware of the need to maintain professional relations with press
    Hirst: The key messages are around openness, proportionality, honesty, working to the rules and the letter of the law
    Hirst: There has to be a bit of distance between press officers and journalists, a bit of a firewall
    Hirst: In cases that have larger media attention, demand is greater but rules [for dealing with media] are the same
    Hirst: If a police officer is speaking to the media think it’s very important they represent policy and view of the force
    Hirst: very important for us to ensure that, in Yeates case, anything that could prejudice integrity of investigation was contained 
    Hirst: felt it probably wouldn't have made substantial difference if we'd complained to Ofcom
    Hirst: we are robust in complaining when we feel justification to do that.
    Hirst adds they chose not to complain b/c they were in middle of fast-moving investigation, media frenzy was unrelenting
    Hirst: cannot possibly be complacent, must continually be reminded of need for integrity and professionalism in everything we do
    Hirst on Yeates: We would "neither confirm or deny" because of threat of jigsaw identification of lines of inquiry
    Hirst: press wanted to be at centre of investigation which was clearly untenable. Constraint refrain was 'it's in public interest'
    Hirst on Yeates: We ended up with a lot of very very inaccurate reporting
    Hirst: media quite often selective about the response we have gave them if it didn’t fit their story
    Hirst: More 'inappropriate' press requests = BBC Victoria Derbyshire show requested half hour live interview with Yeates parents  

    Amanda Hirst : feature writer for national wanted to spend a day with investigation team, of course we declined
    Hirst : Sun wanted calls following its £50k reward offer to go to the Sun direct, in the end calls went to incident room
    Jay quotes from Hirst evidence : chief feature writer at Mail became rude, her idea was nonsense to be frank
    Hirst : had request from @vicderbyshire 5 Live show requesting half hour live interview with Jo's parents, we declined
    Hirst : in past five years have made 17 complaints to media, seven of which were to the BBC
    Hirst : Chief Constable complained to Ofcom about ITN report but that was resolved and complaint withdrawn 

    DCI Philip Jones

    Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, senior investigating officer in #joyeates case, now up at

    Philip Jones regards media as 'additional investigative tool'. Received 3,000 calls, emails from public during Yeates murder hunt 
    Jay: Were there any off the record briefings on Chris Jefferies: Jones: None at all Sir. If there were, they were "unauthorised"
    Joanna Yeates best friend Rebecca Scott contacted police after receiving over 160 calls and texts from media
    Jefferies wasn't released from police bail until March because forensic tests still being conducted on bloodstain on trainers

    Jones: Media are an additional investigative tool. Witnesses and general public help us solve crime.
    Jones: Media speculation "scattergun approach" over Yeates case, trying to identify lines of inquiry.
    Jones: No briefings on Jefferies, held off on meeting press until after Tabak trial in case certain info leaked into pubic domain.
    Jones on police confidentiality: We did have some concerns early on.
    Jones: Yeates's best friend had 160 calls and texts from media, journalists had cmped outside her house.
    Jones confirms some of Jefferies's neighbours - not witnesses in the trial - received money from the media.
    Jones: "Feeling of deflation" DNA info known outside of investigation. Source still not established.
    Jones: Initially £10,000 offered by Crimewatch. Sun offered £50,000. Wanted to link two together and have single contact point.
    Jones: Freely and fully gave comment to the Sun thanking them for genorosity.
    Jones: In any investigation there will be degree of media speculation. In Yeates case there was so much, almost scattergun approach
    Jones : her local force threatened to arrest some media for harassment ; was evidence media were willing to pay witnesses
    Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby #1 Witness Statement 
     #2 Witness Statement

      Surrey police conducting internal investigation into NoWorld hacking into Dowler’s phone. Operation Baronet. Not yet complete
      Senior officers involved in Dowler case "described elements of the press extremely demanding and in some respects mischievious"
      #leveson - Kirkby: not enough resources in press office to deal with the overwhelming interest in Dowler case
      Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable says Dowler hacking investigation will be complete by end May Final report to go to Leveson
      Kirkby: "To ignore what is being said by the press, the family or the public, you can't do that, that's not how reality works"
      Surrey Police did not want Sun to offer reward for Milly killer, but felt had no choice after paper said it would go ahead anyway
      Surrey SIO felt she had to give one reporter details of a Dowler arrest plan to prevent them 'putting out damaging material'.
      Between 2002 and 2010 there were 6/7 informal meetings about Dowler case with crime reporters association in Guildford bar
      Surrey Police ended CRA informal briefings because of "public perception about spending money socialising with crime reporters"
      now discussing of arrest of TV host Matthew Kelly who was never charged with an offence
      During Abigail Witchall inquiry, one paper planned to publish a pic of suspect before suspect had gone through formal id process
      Kirkby says overall the media have "hindered" Surrey Police 
      Investigation called Operation Baronet, still incomplete so will not be discussing it today.
      Kirkby: rewards can be useful in investigations in generating interest and bringing info back
      Kirkby: it is 1 thing to do event with large established association, another thing to have social encounters w/ individual journos
      Kirkby: social media opening up massive opportunities for us re how we engage and communicate with public

      Kirkby: Sir Denis O'Connor brought change of culture in 2000 as chief constable.
      Kirkby will produce a final report at the end of May and will present it to the inquiry.
      Kirkby: SIO had to cooperate with press reward offers from NoW and Sun. Papers said would go ahead without police backing.
      Kirkby: DS Maria Woodall felt pressure to reveal details of arrest plan to the press.
      Barr moves on to the Deepcut investigation into deaths of soldiers in barracks. Had to borrow officers from other forces.
      Kirkby: Number of speculative reports on M25 rapist, one linked wrong crime despite firm directions from media relations team.
      Kirkby: 2002-10 five CRA briefings on Milly Dowler investigation. Held at restaurant bar in Guildford.
      Kirkby: We would pay for food and everyone else would pay for the drinks.
      Clarification: Five formal CRA briefings on Dowler investigation - six/seven informal briefings held in restaurant.
      Kirkby: Surrey Police arrested Matthew Kelly (never charged) earlier than planned as press got wind of it.
      Note from Piers Morgan on Kelly arrest: Fame and crime sends most of the usual rules out of the window.
      Kirkby: Contacted by paper who said they would publish a photo, would have consequence on ID process. Ed agreed to delay.
      Kirkby: Armed siege at Ashford bank in 2010. High degree of citizen journalism, material passed on to nationals.
      Kirkby: There can be benefits from citizen journalism by capturing evidence which can be used subsequently.
      Kirkby: Media relations knowledge in force a lot better than in 2002.
      Kirkby: Two contempt cases against two papers ongoing, on reporting of Levi Bellfield's past.
      Barr: On occasion the media have hindered and damaged work of Surrey Police? Kirkby: In summary I think it has
      Kirkby's second statement deals with Surrey databases and how confidential information is protected.
      Kirkby: 71 applications hold personal data at Surrey.
      Kirkby: All users have to use a force ID number and strong passwords. Not every officer has access to all systems.  
      Kirkby: Five instances of potential media-related misuse - three ongoing, one authorised, one terminated.

      Chief Constable Colin Port

      From Neighbourhood Watch Website: 
      Statement released following Leveson Inquiry

      Added: 27/01/2012

      Over the course of the last two weeks there has been coverage in the media sparked by the evidence given by Richard Wallace, editor of the Mirror, to the Leveson Inquiry about alleged police leaks from the Joanna Yeates enquiry. In the last week this has led to a letter from Mr Jefferies' solicitors, to which Avon and Somerset Chief Constable, Colin Port, has given the following public response:

      "I am aware of the allegations made by the solicitor who has clearly attempted to seize the moment apparently provided by Mr Wallace's presentation at the Leveson Inquiry last week. We have conducted a thorough investigation into all of Mr Wallace's assertions. We have not found any substance to the suggestion of 'off-the-record background briefings' by Avon and Somerset Police relating to Mr Jefferies. Ryan Parry, the senior Mirror reporter, confirmed in his evidence to the Inquiry yesterday that he had not had any 'off the record briefings' about Mr Jefferies.

      "I am extremely concerned that the solicitor should be so intemperate and inaccurate in his comments made public. Surely one of the lessons that has been learnt from his client's experience is to treat media commentary with caution."
      Jay says will ask general questions first, move on to the Chris Jefferies case and then HMIC report and future.
      Port: Ed of Bristol Evening Post contacted force during Yeates inv, felt national newspapers were getting info -from other sources.
      Port: Comms team have published an updated media protocol, partly generated by Jefferies case.
      Port: One journalist called press office "the supress office". Try to be as open as we possibly can.
      Colin Port says he has tried to have a good, transparent relationship with the media
      Colin Port says leaking information for money is "treachery" #Leveson #joyeates but often what seem to be leaks come from other sources
      Colin Port, chief constable of Avon and Somerset police, says reporters are not routinely given off-the-record briefings
      Port: a free press is important for any society but so is accountability and accurate reporting
      Port says he did not have off the record conversations with media re Jo Yeates
      Port: not usual for police to give off the record briefings in this case (contrary to evidence of Mirror ed Richard Wallace)
      Port: public first is one of our core values
      Port: we have to be proportionate about making records
      Port: Ed of Bristol Evening Post contacted force during Yeates inv, felt national newspapers were getting info -from other sources.
      Port: We don't encourage officers to tweet, we have groups of officers whon will do it.
      Jay asking Port about the evidence of Daily Mirror Ed Richard Wallace, on Jefferies. 
      Port: CCTV had been seized previously and returned to take whole unit, wasn't because of Mirror (as Wallace claimed).
      Wallace said his crime reporter had recieved off-the-record briefings from police during Yeates investigation.
      Port: Pressure from CRA and ACPO to give off-the-record briefings but we did not give this to any journalist. 
      Port: Clear from reporting that they had no idea what they were talking about.
      Port: I've counted eight people that Jefferies told about seeing people outside Yeates' flat, including some paid by media.
      Port: Info on police theories not from force but from retired detective being used by Mirror and other media.
      Port: It’s absolutely outrageous. We don’t give off the record briefings and to behave in a collusive manner is just abhorrent.
      Port on Jefferies remaining on bail: Tabak gave no comment interview, and too usual for people to be bailed for extended time.
      Port: Our job is to serve the public. Unfortunately some individuals put themselves first.
      Port: Exceptional behaviour should not rule the good work of officers on a day-to-day basis.
      Head of Avon and Somerset police says he did not have off the record conversations with media re Joanna Yeates investigation
      Port: If I can't buy a pint of beer or glass of wine when appropriate then I have lost the plot
      Port says leaks from Avon and Somerset police rare. When they do occur it's because of "malice, spite, or money"
      Port: Had plethora of journalists withe less experience who didn't know what they were talking about during Yeates investigation
      Colin Port: Re naming Chris Jefferies off the record: "We didn’t do it, we don’t announce people who have been arrested."
      Port: Chris Jefferies "recollection is flawed unfortunately" in rel to number of people he told re sightings in and out of flat
      Port: Mirror editor Richard Wallace's claim that police gave 'guidance' Jefferies was their man was 'outrageous' and 'abhorrent' 
      Sun story saying Yeates had delivery from IKEA not a police leak. Sun said they must have found receipt. Info came from boyfriend
      Colin Port Avon & Somerset : re Yeates inquiry, didn't have off rec conversations as such but told a journo "not to go there"
      Colin Port Avon & Somerset : difficulties can arrive where people spend more time tweeting than policing
      Colin Port : try to get as much on record as possible, cosy little chats behind scenes make people think Port says info Mirror ed said was "sourced" from police was either untrue or provided to media at large there's something going
      Port : there was an inadvertent leak which was genuine error, didn't off or on rec name Jefferies
      Port #leveson : analysis of theories allegedly being considered by police didn't come from force but from ret detective used by media
      (In short Port is denying Mirror ed's claims of briefings and Jefferies' claims about how many people he told about sightings 

      Chief Constable Jonathan Stoddart  Witness Statement in Full
      Barbara Brewis   Witness Statement in Full

      Police Getting 'Ever Closer' to Child's Attacker - Guardian
      Northumbria police said yesterday that they were taking legal advice about photographs of the girl, disguised by pixellation, which were published in the Daily Mail and the Sun yesterday. The pictures were obtained from the family before the child's father, a former soldier, arrived at the house and demanded other copies back. He has lived apart from the family since the mother met her new partner in an internet chatroom.
      The force's press officer, Barbara Brewis, said: "The pictures could quite clearly lead to her being identified and were used despite a warning issued to the media. There is an obligation not to publish anything which could lead to the identity of this victim being revealed, as she is both a juvenile and the victim of a sexually motivated assault."
      Barbara Brewis and CC Jonathan Stoddart interviewed together

      Brewis: Natural progression for reporters to move into PR. Four full-time and one part-time member of staff.
      Stoddart: Have a workable and trusting relationship with local media.
      Brewis: Haven't sensed a loss of confidence or concern about the inquiry. Seems a little bit remote.
      Stoddart: Don't want to sound complacent or smug but we have a good local rapport, it's healthy and people know the limits.
      Stoddart: I know the editor of the local paper quite well but I wouldn't call it a friendship.
      Stoddart: One dinner with national media in 13 years, to raise awareness of an operation into organised crime group.
      Stoddart: Very grave concerns about overfamiliarity with officers from every rank. I think culture will change throughout service.
      Stoddart: Operate on a high trust basis with staff and local media. I don’t want breaches but don’t want to inhibit free speech.
      Stoddart: National standards should be made clear but I don't think that one size fits all.
      Brewis: Never offered or been offered hospitality from the media in my current position.
      Stoddart: Having centralised logging system is doable, certainly from our perspective. Maybe not in Met.
      Durham policy: Journalists are not your friends, only want to talk to you because hope you will pass on info denied to them.
      Brewis: I would always honour an exclusive. I would not put it then out on general release.
      Stoddart: Two complaints from public in two years over suspected misuse of police database.
      Stoddart: Social media has changed the dynamic of how we control conversations with communities and the media.
      Stoddart was asked by Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe to conduct independent review of Operation Weeting.
      Stoddart: I had absolute support from the Metropolitan Police.

      Brewis: there are instances when it is helpful for media to speak directly to inspectors.
      Brewis: this is about letting our communities know what we're doing for them
      Stoddart: anything more serious than local crime, anti-social behaviour, gets routed through media department
      Stoddart: anything more serious than local crime, anti-social behaviour, gets routed through media department
      Brewis says she hasn't sensed loss of confidence or concern about #Leveson Inquiry. Seems "a little remote"
      Brewis' policy: have a good working relationship with the media but they're not your friends
      Stoddart: we have to be accountable, so we put up with unfavourable comments
      Stoddart: I've never been offered any form of hospitality by local media
      Stoddart: perhaps we should have central repository that records contact and content of conversation.
      Stoddart says such a system might be do-able in Durham Constabulary but perhaps not in Met
      Stoddart says Brewis already keeps record of contact on daily basis
      Brewis says she doesn't think a logging system would have chilling effect in Durham. "If it's the right thing to do, we'll do it."
      Brewis: off the record is background info that provides clarity & understanding to a reporter so they can write accurate article

      Stoddart: Neighbourhood police all have Facebook and Twitter a/cs "invaluable tools in terms of appeals, requests for information"
      Brewis. We don't socialise with local media 'they are not your friends'
      At last on to Operation Weeting. Stoddart asked by Hogan Howe to review the investigation. "It was slightly new ground for police"