A little earlier this year, ACPO published guidance on police interaction with PCC candidates. Below is an extract – the “general principles” behind the guidance.
It appears that the Labour candidate is contravening this guidance on his campaign Facebook page [page accessed at 7.30pm on 10th October 2012, screen shot below]. As there is no indication as to when the photo was taken, and no indication that the officer pictured is party to the candidate’s use of the photo, his face has been obscured.
I am drawing the attention of the candidate and West Midlands Police to this matter.
Are there other examples of these ACPO guidelines being broken?
UPDATE [04.33, 11th October 2012]: Below (and here, until he deletes it) is the response from the candidate. No response to date from the force. Whilst it will be interesting to see whether or not they agree with the candidate that “no breach whatsoever”, there remain some questions about the candidate’s use of the photo. I suspect I will be returning to this over the next few days.
UPDATE [12th October, 0830]: Two further developments.
Firstly, from West Midlands Police:
Secondly, an interesting and informative perspective from Sam Chapman, who runs the excellent “Top of the Cops” website. Sam provided the following as a comment to this blog:
Indeed, Sam did subsequently “blog on this wider issue”, in a blog entitled “The Church of ACPO”, itself well worth reading.
I can’t see this being the end of the matter. There are most definitely wider questions that these matters raise.
UPDATE [14th October]: It seems there are some outstanding questions on this, even though West Midlands Police have tweeted “We’re fully aware of the ACPO guidance and cannot comment any further on this”. These , therefore, are matters that I am raising today with West Midlands Police through a Freedom of Information request. My request is as follows:
[START OF FoI REQUEST]
“As – I know – you are fully aware, the ACPO “Guidance for interaction with PCC candidates” states:
1. Has the force ACPO team (or any representative of the ACPO team) been sighted on the photo in use by the Labour candidate for West Midlands PCC on his Facebook page in the weeks leading to 14th October 2012?
2. Has the force ACPO team (or any representative of the ACPO team) formally or informally considered the photo in the context of ACPO guidance Section 7.1 that “under the essential principles test [this] should not be allowed”?
3. Has any representative of the force raised this matter with any representative of the Police Authority? If so, with whom, on what dates, and what was the outcome of the discussion?
4. Has the agreement of the force (or the Police Authority) been sought by the Labour candidate for use of the photo? If yes, what was the outcome of his request?
5. Has the force raised Section 7.2 of the ACPO guidance with the Labour candidate?
6. Has the force raised Section 7.3 of the ACPO guidance with the Labour candidate?”
[END OF FoI REQUEST]
If there are other questions that might sensibly be raised with the force about this, do please let me (or, indeed, the force) know.
UPDATE [13th November]: Well, West Midlands Police was supposed to reply within 20 working days. And here we are, 22 working days later. I wonder…