§ 40. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the light of the chief constable of Thames valley's report on "Operation Major", a copy of which has been sent to him, if he will issue new guidelines to police forces about holding press conferences about the arrest of individuals before those individuals have been tried.
§ Mr. Hurd
On 29 December 1982, in the light of the recommendations of Mr. Byford's review of the Yorkshire Ripper case, the Department issued to chief officers of police circulars of guidance of general application about, inter alia the Contempt of Court Act 1981. My noble Friend Lord Whitelaw, then Home Secretary, announced this to the House on 18 January 1983 and copies of both circulars were placed in the Library of the House.
The guidance on the 1981 Act took full account of the need for careful handling by the police of their statements to the media following arrests and before the completion of all proceedings in the courts. We see no need for any further guidance in the light of the chief constable's recent report to his police authority about "Operation Major".