A chief constable has urged a regional daily to move away from reporting “easy” crime stories, adding it would “struggle” to fill pages without police help.
Sir Jon Murphy, chief constable of Merseyside Police, has given his opinion on how the Liverpool Echo could be improved as part of editor Alastair Machray’s #TellAli project – a survey of readers’ views prior to an upcoming relaunch.
Sir Jon, pictured below, asserted his belief that the Echo sees crime as an easy source of stories in order to sell more papers.
His claims come days after Liverpool-born actor and comedian Neil Fitzmaurice also hit out at the amount of crime in the paper.
Sir Jon told the paper: “I genuinely think the Echo believes that by being miserable so and sos you will sell more papers.
“You would be struggling to fill the paper without us. Had we decided to lock ourselves down you would have struggled. We are an easy source for stories.
“To be fair, though, I don’t think the Echo ever deliberately runs down the city, or even inadvertently – but I know you have big papers and that we are such an easy place to get stories from.”
“Some of the stuff you report is important and I don’t have a problem with it. Where I do believe there is an issue is with stories where I think ‘Who cares?'”
Sir Jon added he did not believe the Echo had an “agenda”, but reflected on clashes between his force and the paper.
He said: “Balance is an important word and, overall, in my five and a half years as chief constable I think the Echo has given the force a fair crack of the whip.
“There have been two or three occasions when I have rung up Ali (Machray) and said ‘I’m not happy with this’ and you’ve always listened.
“And I think our working relationship is better than ever – it’s certainly better than when I was a detective in the force, when we didn’t speak to the Echo at all.”
As part of the #TellAli scheme, which is set to run until the end of June, Alastair has already pledged to review the way the paper covers football after complaints from Everton FC supporters over perceived bias to their arch-rivals Liverpool FC.
Sir Jon, who supports the Reds of Liverpool over the Blues of Everton, said: “I don’t agree with that and I don’t see a problem with the football coverage.
“I’m not a bitter Red – I like the Blues and I like to see both clubs doing well.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Everton. I think Everton have got the edge in terms of being a community club, but both clubs give us a lot of support.”