Agency anger as police seize 'bullying' report

Roberts: unprecedented police raid was over the top

A news agency journalist had his office searched and documents seized after publishing details of police bullying alleged in a leaked report.

Elwyn Roberts described the police raid as “over the top” and “unprecedented” in his 30-year career. And he has since refused to provide police with a DNA sample to help them use forensics to identify the mole.

Roberts, who runs Dee News in North Wales, received an anonymous police authority document which detailed allegations of bullying by deputy chief constable Bill Brereton.

The documents formed the basis for a front page story in the Welsh edition of the Daily Post.

After the story appeared Roberts was approached outside Llandudno Crown Court by a detective superintendent and two other CID officers. They escorted him back to his office, which they had a warrant to search, and seized the relevant document.

On Monday police asked Roberts if he would provide fingerprints and DNA to help them eliminate him as part of their mole hunt.

Roberts said: “My main regret is that 48 hours after receiving it the document was still on my desk. I only agreed to let them come into my office because they said they had a warrant anyway.

“I’ve learnt my lesson; from now I will photocopy reports like this and then shred them as soon as I can.”

He added: “The resources being devoted to this are over the top and quite ridiculous. I never thought in a million years that the police would over-react in this way.

“Of course I would never reveal any sources. The report was in my letterbox and I haven’t a clue who sent it.”

Chris Johnson, of the National Association of Press Agencies, said: “It is an astonishing example of heavyhanded policing. I doubt whether North Wales police would have acted so swiftly, decisively or inappropriately if it had involved a leak of documents from any other local body.”

When these criticisms were put to North Wales Police a spokesman said: “A visit was made to the office of Dee News and some documentation was seized in connection with the leaked confidential documents.”

They declined to make any further comment.

By Dominic Ponsford

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