MK News editor speaks out on police raids

The editor of one of the Milton Keynes newspapers whose offices were raided this week has warned that police should not pursue journalists simply to "spare its blushes".

Steve Lowe, group editor of LSN Media, parent company of the MKNews, revealed that the paper's office was searched by police in connection with a police investigation into alleged police leaks.

The police entered the premises on Wednesday under a warrant issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The paper's staff cooperated with the police, no one was arrested and no computers were taken.

He said: "The police visited our news office in Milton Keynes with a search warrant. We co-operated and will continue to do so if crimes have been committed. "If, on the other hand, this is the police simply trying to spare its own blushes about leaks that may have been no more than embarrassing to them, we will take a dim view and pursue the matter."

The raid on MKNews followed Tuesday's raid on the newsroom of the Johnston Press-owned Milton Keynes Citizen, in which documents and a computer were seized. A part-time journalist with the Citizen was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office.

A Thames Valley Police officer, a Hertfordshire Constabulary officer, a soldier from Cambridgeshire and a 52-year-old man from Hertfordshire were also arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office. All five have been released on police bail until Tuesday.

Thames Valley Police the investigation is related to the leaking of sensitive police information and does not concern the armed forces.

Last month Press Gazette reported that the Government is conducting a full-scale review of PACE laws and could re-write sections 9-14 which give journalists special protection.

Currently police must apply to a senior judge to obtain journalistic material, prove it relates to a serious arrestable offence and show they have used other available ways to get hold of it.

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