Police spoil exclusive

The editor of the Daily Post in North Wales, Rob Irvine, has taken issue with a chief constable after he spoiled the paper's exclusive cocaine investigation by posting details on his blog.

A reporter had spent a number of weeks testing 20 locations across the region for cocaine using drug swab kits.

Seven of the locations contained traces of the drug, including the Welsh Assembly buildings on Cardiff.

Among the toilets tested were those at North Wales Police HQ, which were clear of cocaine. The paper contacted the police press office on Monday to request an interview with the most senior drugs officer, sergeant Dewi Roberts, for advice on drug prevention in the community, but was given no comment.

Instead, the NWP chief constable, Richard Brunstrom, posted an item on his blog saying: "One of our zealous local newshounds slipped his leash and secretly crept into the gents' toilets seeking to use his amateur's drug testing kit, smuggled onto the premises for the purpose, to determine if traces of cocaine could be found in our headquarters.

Rather to my surprise (given the hordes of media luvvies in the building at the time) I'm told that the test was negative, which has probably spoilt their scoop somewhat."

He continued: "The incident has caused me to reflect further on the morality of the profession…You might like to consider your own view of their level of integrity when you read the story. By the way, had the paper concerned asked permission I'd gladly have gone along with it — it would have made an interesting story. So why do they behave in such an underhand way?"

Irvine told Press Gazette: "I was obviously concerned. When we go to a press office for a comment we are giving them advance notice of a story.

"We're uncomfortable about that information being published via the chief constable's website. I subsequently wrote to him to take issue with what he's written and we have since cleared the air."

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