Paper slams Met Police for refusing to release photos - Press Gazette

Paper slams Met Police for refusing to release photos

Whitstable Gazette: says Met’s policy is illogical

A newspaper has criticised the Metropolitan Police for refusing to release pictures of criminals convicted of murder and kidnapping.

The Whitstable Gazette claimed the Met said it could not release the pictures because they were “not in the public interest” or breached the Human Rights Act.

The paper contrasted the Met’s policy with that of its local force, Kent Police, which it claimed releases pictures of criminals sentenced to more than four years in jail.

According to the Gazette, the Met press office refused a request for a picture of Whitstable student Adam Fretson-Davies – who stabbed his flatmate to death and was convicted of murder – because it was not in the public interest. The paper also said the press office refused to release the picture of a convicted blackmailer and police impersonator, claiming it would breach the Human Rights Act.

Senior editor Bob Bounds said: “Kent Police’s policy is simple – a four-year jail sentence equals a picture and they are even flexible on that. The Metropolitan Police’s policy has no such logic.

“Surely the human rights of a murderer or blackmailer should not be more important than those of the public, who should have every right to see the face of a man who has committed such crimes and could be in the community again within 10 years?” Assistant news editor Chris Denham asked: “Where do they draw the line as to what is in the public interest? Murder is the most serious crime you can be convicted of and the public’s need to see the face of a man convicted of impersonating a policeman is self-evident.”

But Bob Cox, chief press officer at Scotland Yard, told Press Gazette: “We weigh up each case and if we find there is a justification that would lead to further victims coming forward or identifying more cases we will issue pictures. Each case is judged on its merits and we will issue pictures as long as there is justification.”

A Kent Police press office spokeswoman said: “If we are approached for a picture then we will go to the senior investigating officer. It is up to them whether they consider it a reasonable enough sentence to issue a picture.”

By Jon Slattery