London Cops Told Not to Accept Drinks from Journalists

By Gary Cutlack on at

New guidelines for London's police have been revealed, ones designed to take into account some of the the recommendations of Lord Justice Leveson's report regarding police and media relations and that require cops to inform their bosses if they're friends with a journalist.

The updated Media Policy Toolkit for the Met Police goes much further than simply warning on the risks of being poked for information by a journalist, inferring that all of London's police officers should register the fact that they even have a journalist for a friend, with the guidelines saying: "If you have a relationship with a specific journalist on a personal basis outside of your role as a police officer or member of police staff (such as a relative or close friend) then details should be logged."

Members of the police force should also avoid having a drink bought for by a journalist -- which is good news for the bank balances of journalists --  adding that: "Hospitality taken from journalists should be the exception not the rule" and that "...staff should start from the presumption that meetings with journalists should not be accompanied by alcohol."

Officers are warned to think about "the public perception of acceptance" when it comes to having a drink bought for them, lest they end up on the front page of a tabloid newspaper. The full guide has been released due to a freedom of information request, and can be found here [PDF]. [Press Gazette]