Police force responds to court reporting 'decline' by covering cases via Twitter

Five press officers from West Midlands police have been reporting from Birmingham magistrates’ court via Twitter today.

According to the BBC police say the initiative is in response to a decline in court reporting in recent years.

The stream of little stories provided today by @wmpolice is clearly no substitute for a court reporter, not least because the police have omitted all names from them.

But the experiment does flag up a continuing issue.

Last year the Press Assocation sought funding for a not-for-profit news agency to report on court and councils. This followed research commissioned by PA which showed a serious decline in court and council reporting.

My understanding is that they had to kick the idea into touch after encountering resistance from the regional newspaper industry which insisted that reporting on courts was its job.

The question is, are magistrates’ courts being covered as well as they should be? Is justice being seen to be done?



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