Police apologise for withholding name of charged officer
02 May 2013

Secrecy of Warwickshire police “against open justice” says Index on Censorship chief
A UK police force has named a former officer charged with theft after a barrage of criticism when it attempted to keep his name secret.

Paul Andrew Greaves, 54 has been charged with stealing £113,000 from a police evidence locker. Warwickshire police had initially refused to name him.

According to the Daily Telegraph, a Warwickshire police spokesman said:

“As a result of concerns raised following the publication of a press release regarding a man charged with theft, we accept that our decision not to name him was wrong and inconsistent with the current national guidance.”

“We will now be adopting the national Association of Chief Police Officers guidance in respect to naming individuals on charge.

“We apologise that our previous approach has not been consistent with this.”

In an announcement released on Wednesday the Warwickshire Police said that “a 54 year old man from the Stratford area has been charged with the theft of £113,000 from the former Warwickshire Police headquarters at Leek Wootton. The man, a retired police officer, will appear before magistrates in Leamington on May 22.”

But the announcement also said included this note to editors: “Due to a change in policy we no longer release the name of an individual on charge.”

A senior officer apparently blamed this move on a recommendation made in the Leveson report into press standards.

Neil Brunton, Deputy Chief Constable (temporary) with Warwickshire Police, later tweeted, “The policy was recently changed to align with national policy post Leverson [sic] and not because of today’s outcome.”

Lord Justice Leveson did recommend anonymity for arrested people, but stopped short of suggesting that people charged with a crime should not be identified.

The Association of Chief Police Officers is set to recommend that officers “neither confirm nor deny” the identity of people who have been arrested. But ACPO told Index that the new guidelines have not yet been signed off.

Index on Censorship CEO Kirsty Hughes commented:

“Keeping secret the names of people who have been charged with crimes goes against the principle of open justice that we have in this country. Although there may be instances when it is appropriate not to release a name, this should not be a general policy. That the police have decided not to name a former police officer is extremely worrying.”

Padraig Reidy

One response to “Police apologise for withholding name of charged officer”

  1. […] Index on Censorship reports here, a UK police force has named a former officer charged with theft after it originally attempted to […]

Index logo white

Join us to protect and promote freedom of speech in the UK and across the world.
Since 1972, Index on Censorship has been leading the campaign for free expression.
Our award-winning magazine originally provided the platform for the untold stories of dissidents and resistance from behind the Iron Curtain and is now a home for some of the greatest campaigning writers of our age.
Journalistic freedom, artistic expression, the right to protest, the right to speak your mind, wherever you live.  These are the founding principles of Index on Censorship.
So join us, by subscribing to our newsletter or making a donation, to use your voice to ensure that everyone else can be heard too.
Go to the Index on Censorship home page