The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I think the practical advice -- and with all this, my -- what I hope was little bits of practical help were not making an assumption that many police officers didn't know these things. Of course they do. But I was trying to provide them with what they asked for, particularly for new recruits and more junior ranks particularly.

But in relation to on or off the record, my key recommendation to people would be: talk to the journalist and find out what this actually means before you start. To exercise some judgment about it. Many journalists are absolutely proper about it, tell you exactly what they will do or won't do with an off-the-record briefing, and if you explain to them that you can give them information but they can't use it at the moment, will respect that. There's no issue. Some won't. Some are untrustworthy, and like any other walk of life, one has to weigh up people very carefully in terms of what they're saying.

I have no doubt that the police will have to occasionally do off-the-record briefing, because otherwise they would jeopardise an investigation, and a reporter may have got a bit of a story which, if they ran it, would be very harmful, and the only way to prevent that being run, in a sensible fashion, would be to give them an off-the-record briefing and to tell them that you would inform them as soon as you could when it was possible to let that get out onto the public airwaves.

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