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The Police and the Tabloids

From Alan Bennett’s diary for last year:

I give my details, and my address and phone number, to a constable who, when I get back home, duly rings with the incident number. Ten minutes later, less than an hour after it has occurred, the doorbell rings and on the doorstep is a rather demure girl: ‘My name is Amy. I’m from the Daily Mail. We’ve just heard about your unfortunate experience.’

I close the door in Amy’s caring face, tell a photographer who’s hanging about to bugger off (‘That’s not very nice’) and come in and reflect that though the theft is bad enough more depressing is that someone in the police must immediately have got on to the Mail, neither the bank nor M&S having either my private number or the address. I just wonder how much the paper paid him or her and what the tariff is – pretty low in my case, I would have thought…

Years ago when Russell Harty had been exposed in the tabloids he was being rung in Yorkshire every five minutes. His solicitor then agreed with the local police that he should have a new number, known only to the police. Ten minutes later a newspaper rang him on it.

He says now that it’s just as shocking that nobody was the least bit surprised.

Comments on “The Police and the Tabloids”

  1. Martin says:

    Thank god we’re pretty much immune to this in South Africa. You’re lucky if you can get the police to come to the scene of the crime. (If you’re really unlucky the police are the perps in which case you’ll have to take the story to the press yourself.) Then there’s the battle to wrest an incident number out of the duty officer.

    Finally, there’s the follow up. Follow up? Ha! Hacks have to work much much harder for their money here – although there’s always a bit of bribery. A double bind for them then.

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