The relationship between the press and the police has become more business-like, partly because of the spotlight being turned on it by the likes of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards and partly by a desire by the police to manage people's fear of crime – says the editor of The Scotsman newspaper.
Writes John McLellan today, in his weekly Editor's Notebook, the relationship is also in marked contrast to how the police and local, Neighbourhood Watch groups communicate with each other. While a call from a news desk to a duty sergeant might illiciit an “all quiet” response, the newsletters of Neighbourhood Watch groups appear to be overflowing with crime incidents.
Certainly where McLellan lives, which sounds like a crime hotspot, according to a newsletter popping through his letterbox.
And it has McLellan (who admits – like Strathclyde's police chief on Wednesday – that payment by the press to the police “was not unheard of”) arguing that it's for the people to be the judge of what they need to know about crime in their neighbourhood, via their newspapers, not the authorities.
Read him here, including how he appears to have failed in a bid to sit on the Scottish advisory committee for broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom.