Police in Torquay celebrated a first yesterday as they published a story directly on to the Herald Express website after being granted "publisher rights".
The story appeared under the byline 'TorquayPolice' and detailed an appeal for witnesses after an alleged theft.
The story is illustrated with a CCTV still and says: "Your local Torquay Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team is asking for you [sic] help in identifying the man in this picture.
"On the 12th February 2014 at 11:15am in Torquay Central Library Lymington Road the man stole a canvas bag that had been left unattended on the floor while the victim was distracted. Although nothing of major value was taken it is clear that there is an opportunist thief at work. You [sic] local policing team is keen to identify this male who was wearing a two tone brown fleece and grey flat cap at the time of the incident."
The Torquay Herald Express is part of the Local World group. Chief executive David Montgomery has said he wants journalists to become 'harvesters of content'.
In a memo leaked to Press Gazette last year he said wanted journalists to invite police forces to publish all their press releases and other information directly on to the Local World websites so that “the publisher acts as the main conduit for police information of every type – not for the odd photofit in a dramatic crime but for all humdrum information like crime prevention that the police seek to promote”.
Montgomery said this arrangement “does not make the police or any other institution immune from scrutiny or criticism but the depth and breadth of the relationship with the
local publisher will be insulation from the inevitable stresses and strains between the media and the public services”.
According to Montgomery the same model will be applied to hospitals, schools, businesses, sport, education and culture.
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