Leicestershire Police are investigating a series of indecent assaults believed to have been carried out by the same man during a 90-minute period on 22 November in Market Harborough.
But local weekly the Harborough Mail was not told about the attacks until 4 December with the story published on the paper’s website later that day.
The Mail’s deputy editor Alex Blackwell described it as “deeply disappointing” that no witness appeal was launched earlier by detectives investigating the assaults.
Alex, pictured, says had the information about the attacks been in the public domain before, women in the town would have taken extra precautions when going out alone in the following days.
Leicestershire Police has defended its decision not to release the details until a later date, claiming officers had “exhausted all other avenues” before issuing a public appeal.
Writing on the Mail’s website, Alex said: “With incidents of such a serious nature, the first 48 hours of any witness appeal are said to be the most crucial so it’s deeply disappointing to not hear about these worrying attacks until 11 days afterwards.
“Not to mention that this suspect has now been at-large for the past 11 days where further attacks could have been perpetrated.
“Taxpayers deserve to know what is going on in their community – and I’m sure if women knew this man was out there, they might have taken extra precautions when going out alone.”
Speaking on Thursday, when the appeal was issued, a spokeswoman for Leicestershire Police said: “The police press office only received information about the incident yesterday (Wednesday) and we put something out today (Thursday).
“The officers involved in the case were making ongoing enquiries into the incidents and looking at CCTV footage.
“They had exhausted all other avenues and then felt a public witness appeal was now necessary.”