Less is more; Police Minister says new media policy helps police investigation
As you would know by now, the working relationship between the media and the police, is somewhere at its lowest ebb. Police are now only providing bulletins scanty of details to the media since verbal communications were suspended. The situation has become exasperating because we are unable to provide official information on the work of the police as well as the crime situation running the risk of being inaccurate to the public we serve. The rupture took place earlier this year, and last week, the media decided to boycott coverage of a police event, to make its case that the chill is unsatisfactory at best. The official response from the police has been that in providing details, cases can be prejudiced. Today, wearing his hat as Minister of Home Affairs, we asked Wilfred Elrington, about this impractical policy.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Home Affairs
“You would have noticed that a change took place after I was named Minister of Home Affairs. I had always had great concern about the practice that was done in the past where whenever there was a shooting or a murder, you would have different police officers who would go into a long briefing of the media on the matter and would engage in answering a number of questions. I always had grave doubts about the wisdom of doing that. Certainly when I was being trained as an attorney the instructions we got was that when matters are under investigation, the less said, the better. And so I expressed that concern to the commissioner and the CEO when I got appointed Minister of Home Affairs and I thought, I suggested to them that maybe the more correct would be simply to send out a press release to the media in a timely manner so that the Belizeans can be informed of the incident but so that we would not be divulging information which could in fact prejudice a subsequent trial or even investigation. It is my view that the less said when these matters occur the better it is because it gives to the police a greater chance of obtaining both evidence and conviction. That’s simply my view. So they have been acting, I would imagine, basically on the suggestion that I made to the commissioner and the CEO at the time when
I got appointed.”