Update: Lancashire Police has now retracted this policy.
Liz Riding, Lancashire Constabulary’s Corporate Communications Manager has reviewed the decision: ‘I have had a further look at this and have decided that we will not be applying the 12 month limited tariff for releasing images on conviction.
‘We are reviewing the demand into our press office, having lost two thirds of our resource over the last few years, and picture requests do add up to some significant demand.
‘However, on reflection, setting a minimum tariff is not acting in accordance with the spirit of which the ACPO guidelines were intended to be interpreted.
‘We will retain the right to look at each request on a case by case basis, and make the appropriate decision based on proportionality, necessity and legitimacy.’
She explained that the ACPO guidelines were open to interpretation: ‘We will not introduce it in Lancashire at this time but we will be reviewing our internal approval processes relating to the release of images.’
More on that turnaround here
[Original post began here] Lancashire Police is no longer issuing photos of criminals jailed for less than 12 months, and as the news got around today that decision did not play well with journalists.
As I am a long-time recipient of their police press office emails (along with the rest of the world, it seems) my inbox was soon pinging with launched broadsides from regional and national hacks, baffled by the decision.
Although, as Liverpool Echo crime reporter John Siddle pointed out, it’s by no means a single issue…
Every police force seems to use different criteria (and often, undisclosed ones at that) for photo releases. There are clear ACPO checklists for decision makers –
The proportionality argument covered guidelines leaves it hard to think of many people who wouldn’t be interested if someone from their community were locked up for 12 months or less.
And the ACPO guidelines also state:
“Post conviction there is likely to be much demand from the media and from the public for information and this may include releasing an image. Forces are
Version 1.2 March 2009 5encouraged to engage with the media and be as open as possible. The release of images at this stage in the criminal justice process could assist with deterring potential criminals and preventing subsequent crime as well as encouraging other victims and witnesses to come forward.”
Anyway, as to the tweet that sparked the original email from the police, I’d imagine it is very much in the public interest, as Rebecca Koncienzcy revealed. And I don’t think she should feel awkward about it at all – at least it’s being discussed now:
However, not all police forces are as reticent with images. I remember well the golden moment Liverpool Echo crime reporter James Glover (now poacher-turned-gamekeeper for a police press office) asked a force in the Netherlands if they had a headshot of a fugitive Liverpool gangster, found shot to death in their jurisdiction.
Yes, said the police officer, we do have a photo. When the emailed pic arrived it showed the corpse, in the morgue, with a gaping bullet wound to his temple.
A headshot in every sense of the word.