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Commissioner backs police in row over regional daily’s NDA claim

Caroline+Henry+04.03.2021-7 longA police and crime commissioner has rejected claims by a regional daily that it was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement ahead of a police briefing.

As reported by HTFP on Monday, the Nottingham Post and sister website Nottinghamshire Live say they were asked to sign an NDA before being admitted to a briefing last week.

Nottinghamshire Police have have flatly denied the claim, saying that while the briefing with chief constable Kate Meynell was held on a non-disclosure basis, it did not legally amount to a non-disclosure agreement.

Now the county’s police and crime commissioner Caroline Henry, who oversees the force, has backed its version of events, while conceding that the force’s use of the term “non-disclosure briefing” in an email “may have caused some concern.”

The row erupted after the Post was invited to last Thursday’s briefing to discuss the police’s actions in relation to last year’s attacks by Valdo Calocane, who killed students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley Kumar and school caretaker Ian Coates.

Nottinghamshire Live made the NDA claim in an editorial penned by editor Natalie Fahy and senior reporter Joshua Hartley the following day.

They wrote: “We believe some of the information disclosed at the meeting is of huge public interest and we believe this unprecedented step is an attempt to prevent reporting.”

Natalie declined to comment further when approached by HTFP following the PCC’s intervention yesterday, but the Post appears to be standing by its claims as the original editorial, pictured below, remains online.



Ms Henry, pictured, said: “After being made aware of the concerns raised about the media briefing, I have spoken to the Chief Constable.

“It is now my understanding that the intention of the briefing was to aid accurate reporting by giving the media background context.

“This briefing was advised on and facilitated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and is considered standard practice.

“I am aware that the media invitation to this briefing was followed up with some emails which used the term ‘non-disclosure briefing’ which may have caused some concern. However it is clear to me that there was no non-disclosure agreement.

“While there were some items that cannot be reported publicly at the moment due to further investigation and an independent review, I am told it was made clear in the briefing which elements could be safely reported. This was followed up after the meeting with an email for clarity.

“It is widely known that the families of those killed in these horrific attacks have felt let down by the force.

“I can assure them I am taking their concerns very seriously which is why I have commissioned an independent review by the College of Policing. The Independent Office for Police Conduct is also conducting a separate investigation into the case.

“It would be inappropriate at this time for me to comment further or act before the review has been concluded.”

“However, I am determined that following the outcome of these reviews, any learning, recommendations and necessary actions are implemented swiftly.”

In a statement on Monday, Nottinghamshire Police head of corporate communications Lyn Heath said: “At no point was the Nottingham Post / Nottinghamshire Live or any other media asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which is a legally binding written contract.

“The email invitation was to a non-disclosable background briefing by the Chief Constable, hosted by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and we asked journalists to agree not to report on it in good faith, as is the accepted protocol.

“These briefings are by no means unprecedented and are a commonly-used mechanism to aid understanding that most journalists will recognise. All of the 35 national and local journalists on the call confirmed their understanding prior to the session without comment.

“The Nottingham Post / Nottinghamshire Live would have registered for the event via a link which made clear it is a non-reportable briefing. There was no mention of signing any agreement.”