Cops U-turn plans to keep the names of defendants secret — in partial victory for the Press


COPS last night signalled a u-turn over plans to keep the names of defendants secret in a partial victory for the Press and free speech.

The College of Policing proposed scrapping current guidelines that say people charged “should” be identified, in favour of saying they “can” be named.

Cops have put on hold plans to keep the names of defendants secret

It would give forces freedom to decide who to name on a case-by-case basis, raising concerns from open justice and free speech campaigners and the media.

Other proposed changes include recommending that charging information is only released “where the crime is of a serious nature such as rape or murder” or where the incident has already been reported in the media.

Last night, a College of Policing spokesman said: “We’ve listened to the feedback on draft proposals around our media relations guidance and we do not want to do anything that will undermine open justice.

“We’ll take a common sense approach, working closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office to try and resolve its issues, and media organisations to ensure journalists continue to have access to the information they need College of Policing to do their important job.”

The Society of Editors stressed its opposition to the changes and said any amendments to the guidelines should “strengthen” open justice, not restrict it.

Representatives from the media will be invited to discuss any possible changes before any decisions are made.

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