Hamill’s Beat - Police and the media; the worst bit

Undated Surrey Police handout photo of Milly Dowler. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday June 23, 2011. Levi Bellfield was found guilty today of murdering schoolgirl Milly Dowler. An Old Bailey jury found Bellfield guilty of abducting and murdering the 13-year-old after she walked past the killer's home. See PA story COURTS Milly. Photo credit should read: Surrey Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Undated Surrey Police handout photo of Milly Dowler. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday June 23, 2011. Levi Bellfield was found guilty today of murdering schoolgirl Milly Dowler. An Old Bailey jury found Bellfield guilty of abducting and murdering the 13-year-old after she walked past the killer's home. See PA story COURTS Milly. Photo credit should read: Surrey Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Have you heard the suggestion for a recorded message for your’phone? It’s doing the rounds: “I’m not available to answer my phone just now. Please leave a message and the News of the World will get back to you.”

Of course the revelation that an investigator working for the press hacked into missing Milly Dowler’s phone is outrageous. The sordid business of illegality on behalf of the tabloids is shocking. But for me personally, as the senior police press officer in Derry for many years, the notion that even a few English officers may have accepted bribes for information is even worse.

I can honestly say when I was working with the press the notion of officers accepting cash for information was never even suspected. It would have been utterly disloyal and criminal bribery of a grave variety. In general we had a policy of maximum openness with the media consistent with legitimate investigative constraints.

Read more from Norman Hamill every Tuesday in the Journal.