One of the recent backlashes from the News of the World ‘phone hacking scandal’ was the release of information from actor Hugh grant who published a transcript of a secret recording made with a News of the World reporter. Paul McMullan is quoted as having alleged that 20% of Met officers had “taken backhanders from tabloid hacks” for information provided to the papers on stories.
With some 30,000 Metrpolitan officers one wonders how a single journalist can know about 6,000 of them. It struck me as an incredibly high amount & reminded me of the fact that 89.7 per cent of all statistics are made up.
In 32 years with the force I have known of occasions when officers have called the press to give them information on stories. I once rang the Sun’s night desk to tell them about a heard of horses who had rampaged through an urban street wrecking parked cars & numerous fences, hedges, gates & lawns, not because I wanted some money but I thought it was quite an interesting & unusual event. It got about one & a half inches on page 16. I wasn’t offered any cash nor would I have accepted any. I know of several people who spoken with journalists & given them a true account of an event when someone higher in the organisation has provided them with corporate spin, or in other words, just lies. I’ve never heard of anyone being offered any money much less accepting it.
The plain fact of the matter is that the vast majority of police officers don’t have information which any journalist worth their salt would consider spending their beer & burger allowances on.
Unless they want to know which unemployed drug-fuelled burglar has got which handout-leaching chav pregnant, or how often they’ve threatened each other on Facebook.