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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chasing headlines

Has the Home Secretary gone too far in his attempt to ingratiate himself and his government with the News of the World and the Sun. One senior Police Officer certainly seems to think so.

Terry Grange, the Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, has accused the Home Office of altering its policy on the hoof at the behest of the News of the World:

Mr Grange told the BBC's World Tonight programme last night, "The last three years has been a litany of abandonment of any real strategic design in the Home Office in the management of sex offenders in favour of trying to find out what one particular tabloid newspaper wants and then complying with their wishes".

Although disagreements between politicians and the police are not uncommon, such a public and sustained dressing down from such a senior figure will cause alarm in Whitehall. Widely-respected Mr Grange is also the spokesman on child abuse policy for the Association of Chief Police Officers.

He said policies had "all been brought about by the media putting pressure on the Government and the Government responding".

He said only the News of the World had any real strategic intent. "The Government is attending meetings at the behest of a newspaper and then altering its approach overnight.

"This Government has for the last couple of years accepted the principle. Rather like people who are blackmailed do, that they are prepared to be blackmailed.

"When you're blackmailed, a good blackmailer asks you for £10,000 and not for a million because you haven't got a million. But now you've agreed to the principle, you'll give him money so he comes back a month later. And slowly but surely he strips you of every penny you've got."

Strong stuff indeed and views that need to be taken notice of. Even Labour must have realised by now that Government by headline is not good government.
wouldn't be a bad idea if the police themselves decided to give up the public grandstanding.
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