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Editor slams police refusal to name charged suspects – including rape accused

An editor has hit out at police secrecy over a force’s refusal to name alleged criminals – including a man charged with rape.

Natalie Fahy, pictured, has criticised Lincolnshire Police over its failure to name suspects in press releases after they have been charged with offences.

Natalie, who edits Reach plc website Lincolnshire Live as part of her role as the publisher’s audience & content director for the East Midlands, has claimed the practice “flies in the face of transparency and trust in the justice system”.

Her criticism came after Lincolnshire Police issued a statement last week confirming an unnamed 58-year-old man had been charged following an incident in which war memorial wreaths were thrown into the River Witham.

In a further update, the force revealed the anonymous criminal had pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal damage – one relating to the wraths, and two relating to damaging police property – and two public order offences.

Lincolnshire Live was subsequently able to establish the offender was Spencer Broughton, of Lincoln.

Posting on X about the incident, Natalie wrote: “Why are Lincolnshire Police not naming the man charged with these offences? Completely against College of Police advice.

“Flies in the face of transparency and trust in the justice system. Luckily we have court lists to get this information ourselves.

“Second time I am aware of recently this has happened. Police also did not give the address of a man charged with rape in Skegness.

“[It’s] down to courts to decide if a defendant should be anonymised, not a police comms department.”

Natalie then posted a link to Lincolnshire Live’s story on the Skegness rape.

Earlier this year, she criticised proposed changes to the College of Policing’s Media Relations guidance, which would have meant the presumption that suspects charged with offences “should be named” would be changed to state they “can be named”.

The plans were later dropped in what was hailed as “a huge victory for press freedom”.

HTFP has approached Lincolnshire Police for a response to Natalie’s comments.