The Association of Chief Police Officers has urged police forces around the country to be more forthcoming when it comes to releasing pictures of convicted criminals to the media.
ACPO media lead Andy Trotter wrote to all UK police forces on Friday reiterating guidance on the release of police photos which was first issued in 2010.
This guidance states: "Post conviction there is likely to be much demand from the media and from the public for information and this may include releasing an image.
“Forces are encouraged to engage with the media and be as open as possible. The release of images at this stage in the criminal justice process could assist with deterring potential criminals and preventing subsequent crime as well as encouraging other victims and witnesses to come forward.”
Trotter told Press Gazette: "We want to make sure that we adopt the same policy across the country. We felt a need to remind everyone about that guidance.
“Some forces have reverted to their own individual policies and I find that hard to explain to journalists. I would encourage journalists to know what the policy is."
Trotter said that the presumption is that pictures of those convicted of criminal offences will be released to journalists, adding: "We should really have a good reason not to release the images."
Trotter said: "Crime is going down and the prisons are full. Something is going right somewhere. Part of that is getting the information out there that the criminal justice system actually works.
“If journalists have a real problem with a police force press office, they should send me an email and I will see if I can have a discussion with the force concerned.“
The ACPO move follows a report in the Mail on Sunday on 13 July that "hundreds of thousands of convicted criminals are having their identities protected by police".
MoS research found that more than half of forces in England and Wales refuse to publish mugshots of offenders unless they have been jailed, in contravention of ACPO guidelines.