Demand for inquiry into police grows

DEMANDS for an inquiry into why an Evening Star reporter's phone calls were intercepted by police were stepped up today after a letter from the paper's editor was sent to the home secretary.

DEMANDS for an inquiry into why an Evening Star reporter's phone calls were intercepted by police were stepped up today after a letter from the paper's editor was sent to the home secretary.

As reported in yesterday's paper former Star crime reporter Mark Bulstrode had his personal mobile phone records probed by detectives at Suffolk police after approaching the force with information about the re-opening of an historic investigation.

The police's covert search, authorised by detective superintendent Roy Lambert, only came to light after he made two requests under the Data Protection Act.

The revelation has provoked serious concern from both The Star and The East Anglian Daily Times, our sister paper where Mr Bulstrode is now employed.


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Campaign group The Freedom Association and The Society of Editors have also strongly condemned the police's actions.

Now, Star editor Nigel Pickover has written a letter to home secretary John Reid, Suffolk Police's chief constable Alastair McWhirter and the chairman of Suffolk Police Authority expressing outrage and calling for a full inquiry.

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The letter reads: “Mr Bulstrode had his personal mobile phone records intercepted by Suffolk Constabulary in order for them to try to establish his sources for a story he was preparing.

“He had, in fact, received this information in a quite open and normal way for any reporter working in, and being a part of the local community.

“As a result of checking his mobile phone records no one was charged with any criminal offence or even a disciplinary matter. We understand one member of staff was reminded about the protocols of dealing with the press.

“This action has shattered the trust that had built up over many years between the media in Suffolk and the county's police force.”

A letter of complaint has also been sent to Mr McWhirter by the EADT's editor Terry Hunt, who is requesting a full explanation.

A Suffolk police spokesman yesterday said the force was concerned that the disclosure of the information could have jeopardised an investigation into a serious crime, potentially resulting in an offender evading justice.

Are you concerned about what data may be held about you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

N Big Brother is watching us - read Edblog at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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