Resolution statement 03410-18 A Man v getwestlondon.co.uk
Summary of complaint
1. A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that getwestlondon.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined, “Disgraced policeman sacked for starting sexual relationship with woman he had helped send to jail,” published on 15 December 2017.
2. The article reported that the complainant had been dismissed from the police service, having been found to have committed gross misconduct for honesty and integrity, and dishonourable conduct. It reported that the complainant had been investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), following a complaint that he had begun a relationship with a woman he had previously investigated as part of a police operation.
3. The complainant said that the article was
inaccurate, as it repeated a number of claims about the alleged relationship
from the IPCC statement on his case, which had now been removed by the
organisation after the complainant had challenged its accuracy.
4. The publication
did not accept that it had breached the Code. It said that the article had
accurately reported the IPCC press release on this matter. It said that it was
entitled to rely on the press release issued by the organisation that had carried
out the investigation. The publication said it had no reason to believe, at the
time of publication, that the press release may contain inaccuracies. The
publication offered to make amendments to the article, and add a footnote
clarification, making clear that the article had been changed.
Relevant Code provisions
5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. During IPSO’s
investigation, the publication offered to remove the article.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve
the matter to his satisfaction.
9. As the complaint
was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a
determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received:09/05/18
Date complaint concluded: 05/06/18