Police commissioner's warning in wake of bribes arrests: 'We are all going to be the less safe'

Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey Kevin Hurley has warned that "we are all going to be less safe" as a result of the ongoing police crackdown on journalists and their paid sources in the police and elsewhere.

Radio 4 Today Programme home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw reported yesterday (two hours and ten minutes in to this download) that 57 journalists have been arrested (two more than Press Gazette's estimate of at least 55) so far in the various hacking related police inquiries.

He said: "I think that is fuelling the concerns that this is perhaps having a corrosive effect on the relationship between the police and the media. It also has the potential of stifling free speech, and stifling people who want to come out and express what’s going on in policing.”

Hurley said: “One of the major ways in which we the public, find out about wrongdoing in the public sector is because officials come forward and tell us about it. My concern is that we are creating a culture across the whole public sector, where people who would have once spoken out about what was going wrong, are not know going to talk to the media, and I think we are all going to be the less safe for it.”

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott disagreed, saying: "It’s all about the trust in the police really. In this case being paid for information from confidential sources including the police computer, which came out in these enquiries, it’s just wrong. This is all about, and Mr Hurley is part of it now as police commissioner, it’s all about stopping Leveson and the statuary requirement, which Leveson recommended to deal with all this corruption. The press, the police, and the government are all involved in trying to cover it up.”  

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