Why can’t cops and the scribes who cover them just get along? After a particularly sketchy stretch of poor relations between London’s Metropolitan Police and the press, the famed agency’s new commissioner says she is ready to “reset the relationship.”
Cressida Dick, the new top cop at Scotland Yard, says she wants to “reset the relationship” between her officers and the media, suggesting that they were often “working towards the same goals,” reports The Telegraph. In a speech to the Society of Editors in Cambridge, Dick said it was time to move on from the problems of the past and find ways to have a more constructive relationship. She said police officers should be more open and transparent with journalists and should not treat them like criminals. Dick was appointed commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police in April. Her comments come after a period of acute tension between the police and the press following a media phone hacking scandal and a subsequent inquiry that criticized the symbiotic relationship between the two sides. The relationship was further soured during Operation Elveden, an investigation into allegations that journalists were paying public officials for information.
Dick’s predecessor, Bernard Hogan-Howe, was often accused of stifling communication between the media and the police, with critics suggesting officers were worried about engaging with reporters for fear of being sacked. Dick said, “The basic message is do not be afraid…If you are qualified to speak about something and you are doing it for policing reasons, rather than you fancy having a chat, I will forgive mistakes.” She continued, “I will be transparent in my relationship with the press; the public expect that. However, a relationship with a journalist should not be categorized in the same way as a relationship with a criminal. That sends out the wrong message to everyone and destroys confidence on all sides.”