5 Jan 2012

British police told not to be so cosy with journalists

12:10 pm on 5 January 2012

A British report into cosy relationships between police and journalists says officers should be the ones taking notes.

The recommendation is part of a report responding to a phone hacking scandal that led to the closure of Rupert Murdoch's 168-year-old tabloid News of the World in July last year, the ABC reports.

The British government ordered an inquiry when a questionable relationship between the Metropolitan Police and News International Ltd was uncovered amid the phone hacking scandal.

Dame Elizabeth Filkin issued her recommendations on Wednesday warning officers to be wary of alcohol and flirting reporters, saying they are old media tactics to get police to spill the beans.

Dame Elizabeth wants the groups to keep talking, but says officers should take notes of every meeting and the information given.

Critics, however, say more regulation will scare already conservative police and will result in less information for the public.

Dame Elizabeth says she is not sure of the extent of bribes accepted in exchange for sensitive information, but thinks the practice was limited.

The News of the World printed its last edition on 10 July 2011 after it was accused of hacking into the phones of teenage murder victim Milly Dowler, the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and relatives of victims of the 2005 London bombings.

Scotland Yard believes up to 4000 people may have had their voicemails accessed.

In the following months, a number of former News of the World journalists and editors were arrested and News International executives were asked by MPs to explain themselves.