Sussex Police released details about two crimes out of 787 reported in Brighton in a fortnight, according to new figures. (Picture: Shutterstock)
The Argus in Brighton said that between 2 and 15 March this year the force did not disclose information on reported crimes including rapes, robberies, kidnappings, possession of firearms or other weapons, drugs trafficking and threats to kill.
The report highlighted figures first obtained by Press Gazette showing that the force’s total communications budget is £1.2m.
The Argus reported that of the 787 crimes reported, 119 were classed by police as “solved” because a suspect had been charged. It said that the other 668 alleged crimes – which include three rapes, seven robberies, two kidnappings, six possession of firearms or weapons, two drugs trafficking and two threats to kill – remain unsolved.
The newspaper said that over the two-week period, the force released 114 press releases about crimes across the county. These included detail of two crimes in Brighton reported between 2 and 15 March.
The Argus quotes Graham Cox, a former detective chief superintendent in charge of Sussex CID, as saying: “It never ceases to amaze me how many communications staff or press officers the police now have. The media has helped solve crimes and if there needs to be discretion on an investigation they should make the press aware.”
The Argus said in an editorial, headlined “Kept in the dark”: “These are crimes against the public, investigated by public officials who have spent public money to do so. Is it right that Sussex Police choose not to tell the public about them?
“We think not. For a start, how is the public to play a part in solving these crimes, and most of them remain unsolved, if they are unaware of them?
“The public play a huge role in solving crimes and they should be given every chance to do so.”
The day after it reported the FoI, the Argus ran interview with chief superintendent Nev Kemp and head of communications Katie Perkins, which can be read here.
Research by the Sunday Post newspaper in 2011 found that Northumbria Police released details on 1 per cent of crimes, despite a corporate communications budget of £1.7m.