New doubt cast on police ‘secret arrests’
Keir Starmer QC, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), told MPs he would like “wriggle room” to name suspects before they are charged. He said there should not be a “blanket rule” against naming on arrest because releasing a suspect’s identity can encourage witnesses and victims to come forward, leading to successful convictions.
His comments came the day after police defied Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and introduced guidelines which will fundamentally change the way the media can report crime and police operations.
Under the new rules, drawn up in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry, suspects will only be named during the time between arrest and charge if there are “clearly identified circumstances” such as a threat to life. Read more
David Barrett | The Telegraph | 21st May 2013
Barnet Council defends Olympic torch relay spend
Barnet spent more than three times the national average on the Olympic torch’s visit to the borough, new figures reveal. Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request show Barnet Borough Council spent £123,000 on hosting the Olympic flame on July 25 last year, compared to an average of £40,000 for local authorities across the country.
Of the £123,000 spent by the council, £44,000 was used on staff costs, £1,800 on first aid provided by St John Ambulance, £4,200 on road cleaning before and after the relay, £66,500 on repairing roads and organising crowd control and £6,600 on communications and signs.
Cabinet Member for safety and resident engagement Councillor David Longstaff defended the figures, saying the event had been a logistical challenge for the borough. Read more
Ruth Halkon | This is Local London | 21st May 2013
USA: Grab of AP records no shock to all journalists
The revelation that the U.S. Department of Justice secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press comes at a time when the news media are already having to fight the local, state and federal governments for information the public is entitled to have.
While many are quick to vilify the media, they seem to forget the media are the conduit through which the public receives information some officials don’t want citizens to know.
We see it here on the local level as the governing bodies of our public universities, school districts, and county and municipal elected officials persist in ignoring the Freedom of Information Act by doing the public’s business behind closed doors under the guise of discussing personnel, legal and economic development matters. Read more
The Times and Democrat | 21st May 2013
USA: Republicans Accuse EPA of Discrimination Against Conservative Think Tanks
Congressional Republicans are now accusing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of giving preferential treatment to environmental groups over conservative think tanks, when it comes to requesting records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Senators likened this alleged preferential treatment to the recent Internal Revenue Service/Tea Party discrimination debacle.
Senators James Inhofe (R-OK), a notorious climate science denier, David Vitter (R-LA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to the Acting Administrator of the EPA, Bob Perciasepe, on Friday, accusing the agency of manipulating the FOIA fee waiver process by “readily” granting fee waivers for FOIA requests for “liberal environmental groups” while denying fee waivers for states and conservative groups.
The EPA is now undergoing an investigation after the conservative senators brought up the charges last week during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, where they compared the EPA’s alleged actions to the “IRS’s targeting of conservative groups,” according to The Hill. Read more
Alisha Mims | Ring of Fire Radio | 20th May 2013