Lancashire police have backed down on their plan to stop releasing photos of people who have been jailed for less than 12 months.
The have admitted that the decision is against the spirit of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidelines.
The row blew up when freelance journalist Rebecca Koncienzcy requested a pic of a serial flasher.
The force’s press office said they would only release custody photos if there was exceptional public interest.
But Liz Riding, Lancashire Constabulary’s Corporate Communications Manager has reviewed the decision.
She said: ‘I have had a further look at this and have decided that we will not be applying the 12 month limited tariff for releasing images on conviction.
‘We are reviewing the demand into our press office, having lost two thirds of our resource over the last few years, and picture requests do add up to some significant demand.
‘However, on reflection, setting a minimum tariff is not acting in accordance with the spirit of which the ACPO guidelines were intended to be interpreted.’
She added: ‘We will retain the right to look at each request on a case by case basis, and make the appropriate decision based on proportionality, necessity and legitimacy.’
She explained that the ACPO guidelines were open to interpretation, and added: ‘We will not introduce it in Lancashire at this time but we will be reviewing our internal approval processes relating to the release of images.’
Cleland Thom is a consultant in media law