PCC rules on privacy claim

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint of privacy against the Herald (Plymouth) after it reported on the arrest of a man during a police raid.

The individual concerned, Luke Dann, was named and photographed in the newspaper and the article was accompanied by a picture of his home. Mr Dann said that publication of this information, along with the name of the road on which he lived and details of his personalised car number plate, was an invasion of his private life. The police had not publicly released his name in connection with the incident.

However, the PCC did not agree that the newspaper had acted in breach of the Code of Practice. While the complainant had not been charged following the raid, it was not in dispute that he had been arrested during high profile police activity. As it made clear in its ruling, "the Commission does not consider that an arrest is a private matter, and reporting on police action is, in any case, inherently in the public interest and part of an open society unless there are formal reporting restrictions in place".

Details about the complainant, his house and his apparently privileged lifestyle did not concern anything "demonstrably private". Rather, the Commission concluded, "they amounted to the sort of incidental reporting that is quite normal and acceptable in the coverage of such incidents".

It was significant that the newspaper had not included any photographs of the interior of the complainant's home. Such images have previously been held by the PCC to be intrusive (see Popple v Scarborough Evening News and A Woman v Barking & Dagenham Recorder).

To see the full ruling, please click here.