Resolution Statement 08051-16 Kavanagh v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      3rd November 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy

Complaint 08051-16 Kavanagh v Daily Mail

Summary of complaint

1. Stephen Kavanagh complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “The £200,000 boss who makes you pay his daily lunch bill”, published on 8 August 2016.

2. The article said that the complainant, the chief constable of Essex Police, had claimed tens of thousands of pounds in allowances for his home, food bills and private cars, despite being paid £200,000 per year. It said that the complainant was a “failing” chief constable, and had accepted a pay rise of £26,000. The article was accompanied by an aerial photograph of the complainant’s home.

3. The complainant said that the publication of aerial photographs of his home, as well as mentioning where it was located, invaded his and his family’s privacy. He said that it was inaccurate to report that he had accepted a pay rise of £26,000; he said that the newspaper had compared his part-year salary in 2013/14 without allowances, with this full-year salary for 2014/15 with allowances. He also said that it was inaccurate to say he was a “failing” chief constable as the latest assessment from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said that it was a “well led force”.

4. The newspaper said that it had taken the photograph of the complainant’s house from a property website. It said that the location of the house was not identifiable from the photograph, and denied that Clause 2 had breached. It said that as Essex Police was only one of four forces to be rated “inadequate” in respect of protecting the vulnerable from harm, it was not inaccurate to describe the complainant as “failing”. It accepted that it was inaccurate to report that the complainant had accepted a pay rise of £26,000.

Relevant Code provisions

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.

Clause 2 (Privacy)

(i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.

(ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant’s own public disclosures of information.

Mediated outcome

6. The complaint was not resolved through correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. The newspaper had removed the photograph from the online article when it was first contacted by the complainant, and said it would not re-publish the photograph. It also said, in view of the ongoing national security threat level, it would remind all of its journalists of the need to treat personal information about all police officers and their families with extra care before publication. In addition, it agreed to publish the following correction in the newspaper’s Corrections and Clarifications column:

An article on 8 August about highly paid police officers who receive generous ‘perks’ stated that Essex Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh had received a pay rise last year of £26,000. We now accept that this was not the case. We apologise for the error.

8. The complainant said these actions resolved 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: 22/08/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 13/10/2016