Screening and anonymity for police officers

An urgent application for screening and anonymity for police officers due to give evidence at the Inquiry was made to the Inquiry Panel this morning.  In order to determine the application the Panel indicated that it would be necessary to carry out further enquiries and obtain up to date information on the matters raised including security material.

In the interim, to preserve the effectiveness of any future ruling but allow the Inquiry to continue with its work without undue delay the Chairman has ruled that the following measures will be taken on a temporary basis:

  • A temporary cipher will be allocated to each police officer to avoid use of their name on an interim basis

  • To avoid publication of the names of police officer through the showing of documents on the public and press monitors, those monitors will be taken out of use on a temporary basis whilst interim redactions are made to the documents.

Further, the Chairman made a restriction order under s 19(1)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005 in relation to the redaction measures ordered today to last for as long as the temporary measures are in place.  This prevents the publication of any name or identification of a person who is the subject of redaction in the Press or any other section of the media taken from the record of the evidence of the Robert Hamill Inquiry on the website or obtained from any other source. That order is made conditional upon the media being free to make an application to argue against the continuation of the order, any such application being heard at 10.30 am on 11.03.09.

The Chairman made it clear that the restriction order applies not only to the media but to all and extends to any inadvertent disclosure during the proceedings.