IPSO: Sun did not breach Editors' Code with secret filming for 'sick note cop sells threesomes' story

The Sun did not breach the Editors’ Code when it used undercover filming to expose a police officer who was selling sex, according to press regulator IPSO.

It has rejected a police officer’s complaint over an investigation in the Sun headlined: “Sick note cop sells threesomes”.

In an article published at the end of last year, the Sun reported that the officer had been “selling threesomes with his girlfriend for £210 an hour” on an escorting website while on sick leave.

The redtop had an undercover reporter pose as a client and meet Moss and his girlfriend at their home while wearing a hidden camera.

The article reported that “after handing over £120 in cash, our man was led to a bedroom” where  a woman told him to “do what you want within reason”. The Sun reporter then left the flat.

The Sun published a two-and-a-half minute video of the reporter’s visit to the home in the online version of the article.

The paper said the policeman’s activity may not have been illegal, but noted that “the police code of ethics states that officers must ‘avoid any activities (work-related or otherwise) that may bring the police service into disrepute and damage the relationship of trust and confidence between the police and the public’”.

The policeman argued that the Sun had invaded the privacy of what he chose to do in his own home, adding that his position as a serving police officer did not make him a public figure. He said the paper’s investigation was an “intrusion into his private life” that was not in the public interest.

IPSO ruled that the Sun’s public interest defence was valid as the public place trust in police officers and would have in interest in knowing whether the officer’s conduct exposed him to potential blackmail or contravened the police code of conduct.

The regulator said the Sun had not breached Clause 10 of the  Editors’ Code (which bars use of subterfuge) because it said the story was in the public interest.

Read the full Moss v The Sun IPSO adjudication.

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