Police chief gets apology from BBC over selective edit

Paxman: received no criticism


The BBC has apologised over intensive questioning and selective editing of an interview with a police chief by Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman.

Humberside Chief Constable David Westwood stormed out of the studio after Paxman asked him a second time why the force had not kept records of previous complaints about Soham murderer Ian Huntley.

The BBC’s Programme Complaints Committee concluded that Paxman had asked the question again because he believed the recording of Westwood’s first answer had been faulty due to a loss of picture to the studio.

The inquiry, chaired by Greg Dyke, concluded that the question was in bad faith because it was later discovered that the recording was not faulty, and the chief constable should have been informed.

It also ruled that Newsnight was wrong to show Westwood leaving the studio without showing more of his earlier answers, since it gave viewers the impression that he was unwilling to respond to the question.

A BBC spokesman said there had been no criticism of Paxman in the report, because the presenter had acted on a genuine belief that the recording had failed. “The programme editor has briefed the team on the lessons to be learnt,” he added.

By Sarah Boden

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