In the Media

Secret arrests would be an affront to justice

PUBLISHED April 14, 2013

Sometimes, the most dangerous ideas are those that sound most reasonable. As part of a new consultation on the contempt of court rules, the Law Commission suggested that the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) come up with clearer guidance on the press's ability to name those who have been arrested - with the presumption being that in the vast majority of cases, the media would still be free to do so. Acpo has proposed instead that this should be reversed, and that suspects should retain their anonymity, to preserve them from reputational damage in case they are found innocent. Several senior judges have supported the proposal, and the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, has chimed in that there is no "pressing social need" for the public to know who is being held by police, adding that naming suspects could breach their human rights.