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Police to meet media on info guidelines

Guidelines on the release of police information to the press about accidents and other incidents will come under discussion by police and the press next month.

The Society of Editors is meeting up with Acpo media advisory group chairman Elizabeth Neville, the chief constable of Wiltshire.

The meeting will review the guidelines, which are being adopted by more forces across the country – leading to a reduction in the amount of information flowing to the media and the public.

Problems over day-to-day working of the guidelines is causing friction between local papers and their counterparts in the police.

A worrying new revelation is that some officers are not asking the positive question detailed in the guidelines when seeking permission for the release of personal details.

The Society feared this could happen when the guidelines filtered down to front line officers.

Director Bob Satchwell said: “We need as much evidence as possible to send to Acpo before the meeting to demonstrate the problems.

“This is about the release of names and addresses that are bread and butter to local news organisations particularly.

“We also know of instances where editors have become so frustrated that they are threatening to withdraw co-operation with the police on appeals for witnesses, police awards ceremonies and other events.

“That helps no-one, least of all the police, and the public suffer from a lack of information.”

The Society of Editors is asking for examples of problems to be e-mailed to info@societyofeditors.org as soon as possible.

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