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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Censoring blogs

I see that the inevitable has happened and that members of the North Wales Police Authority are to try and reign in Chief Constable, Richard Brunstrom's blog. Some Welsh Liberal Democrat Parliamentarians must be quite envious that authority members have this option.

Unsurprisingly, the chief perpetrator of this attempted censorship is a leading Conservative Assembly candidate who has taken exception to what I consider to be outspoken, but nevertheless fairly mild remarks, about a speeding motorist. I do not have to agree with Richard Brunstrom to defend his right to put his point of view. Why should a Chief Constable not be able to make his views known in support of Police Authority policy?

Mr Millar, who is taking on Culture Minister Alun Pugh in the Clwyd West seat next year, said, "The use of blogs by senior police officers in North Wales is clearly causing considerable offence to some residents who have expressed serious concern to me about the way in which, the chief constable in particular, is using them to court controversy and media attention.

"While I accept that blogs can be a useful tool in communicating with the public, I am certain that calling people nimbys and idiots does nothing to improve the image of our senior officers and certainly does not give the air of professionalism that people should rightly expect from the police."

He added, "The type of language which sometimes appears in these blogs is usually reserved for either the playground, or the memoirs and diaries of senior civil servants long after they have departed from office."

The value of Richard Brunstrom's blog is that it gives people an insight into his job and into him as a person. It humanises the North Wales Police Force. If he was not allowed to be himself then it would defeat the whole purpose. By comparison Mr. Millar sounds like a pompous arse.

N.B. One of the advantages of Mr. Brunstrom's blog is that it gives him the flexibility to draw attention to and comment on poor behaviour such as this example of lunatic driving by two motorcyclists on the A55.
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