PCC rules Scarborough Evening News drug raid video 'highly intrusive'

An newspaper’s online video that showed the interior of a woman’s home during a police raid was criticised today as ‘highly intrusive’by the Press Complaints Commission.

The Scarborough Evening News was censured by the regulatory body for publishing a video of police raiding a home on its website – and identifying the home in the process.

Carolyn Popple had brought the complaint under clause three of the editors’ code, which covers privacy. Popple complained that footage of a raid on her home was published on the Johnston Press paper’s website on 5 February. The print edition also had a picture and story from the scene under the headline ‘Drugs and cash seized in raids.”

The paper’s reporter had been invited to join the raid and filmed officers searching for drugs. Popple argued that the coverage, which showed her address, was ‘deeply intrusive”.

No charges were brought against Popple, although police said ‘a small amount of cannabis’was found, which she said she had no knowledge of.

The Evening News offered Popple a right of reply and told the commission it was necessary to identify the house to avoid confusion with any other address.

The PCC said in its adjudication: ‘Showing a video and publishing a picture of the interior of the complainant’s house, without her consent, was clearly highly intrusive, particularly when the coverage contained information likely to identify her address.

‘The fact that the police had invited the newspaper on the raid explained how the footage had been obtained, but it did not absolve the editor of responsibility for ensuring that the subsequent publication of the material complied with the Code.”

The Commission said that while it may have been in the public interest to tell readers about the police campaign against drugs, ‘insufficient regard had been paid to the complainant’s right to privacy’and that ‘showing the video of the complainant’s home involved a degree of intrusion that was out of proportion to any such public interest”.

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