Editors believe more information, and not less from the police, would help reduce the public’s fear of crime. The Society of Editors’ national director, Bob Satchwell, said he believed the police often withhold information when it suits them and then run to the press when they needed a public appeal.
Satchwell said more specific information about where burglaries, thefts and attacks occurred would help the public take their own precautions rather than the community thinking it would not happen to them.
And he said it was vital the police released names of those involved in incidents as it would then stick in people’s minds and resonate with readers more.
“The whole community has rights – the right to know what’s going on in the community and the right to know what’s being done about it,” he said. “Everyone in this room is concerned about victims’ rights – we want to comfort them. They are our readers.”
Satchwell said it was vital that editors and senior police officers developed a level of trust and understanding. “But it requires a two-sided and equal relationship.
One problem we find with the relationship is that sometimes the police will come to us and say: ‘Please help us’ and we bend over backwards to do that, but sometimes it is only when it suits you.”
DAMIAN BATES, DEPUTY EDITOR OF ABERDEEN EVENING EXPRESS