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Police request identities are kept a secret

PUBLISHED: 10:45 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 07 September 2010

Robyn Rosen POLICE officers in local safer neighbourhood teams are requesting their photographs be removed from websites for fear of their own safety and future job prospects. In August 2008, Haringey piloted a scheme which was then rolled out across Lon

Robyn Rosen

POLICE officers in local safer neighbourhood teams are requesting their photographs be removed from websites for fear of their own safety and future job prospects.

In August 2008, Haringey piloted a scheme which was then rolled out across London of individual websites for each Safer Neighbourhood Team, providing contact details and photographs of officers.

But since then, some officers have asked to have their photos removed.

Haringey police say they are unable to confirm exactly how many officers have requested their pictures be removed.

Sgt Paul Davies, of the Muswell Hill Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: "Some officers feel that the public see our name badges and names when we do drop in centres and surgeries. They have our email addresses and telephone numbers so why do they need our photos as well? Some people think it's a step too far.

"I do appreciate some people live more local than me and for their own privacy don't want their pictures publicised for the sake of themselves and their families."

A PCSO in Highgate's Haringey team, who wanted to remain anonymous, added: "One of our team thinks she will be spotted by the boys around here. She thinks she is vulnerable."

The officer also claimed the police had advised him not to have his picture taken so as not to jeopardise any future job prospects.

"What was said to us was that if you want to become a police officer they advised us not to have our picture taken," he said.

PCSO Robert Lewis, from the Crouch End team, said: "I don't mind having the photo up. I work in this area to do my bit for society and the area so my face is out there the whole time anyway."

Jon Williams, Chief Inspector of Haringey Safer Neighbourhoods said: "The process of gathering pictures to install on the website is ongoing and at this stage we cannot give figures around how many officers do or do not wish to be featured.

"There is no obligation for officers within the Met to have their picture published on the internet and we respect personal decisions. Safer Neighbourhoods officers are a visible presence on the streets of their individual wards and work hard to make themselves well known. Their contact details, including mobile numbers, are already well publicised and they organise and attend meetings to engage with local people."

But there was outrage from Crouch End councillor Ron Aitken and Lib Dem spokesperson for policing.

He said: "They are in the public eye and are wearing the uniform of the metropolitan police so it is unreasonable for them to demand that they don't be photographed.

"You can't have a Safer Neighbourhood Team and also have secrecy about who the members of it are."

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said: "I feel that this flies in the face of the whole point of having friendly, accessible, known police officers and PCSOs. It would be a great shame if fears led to this new initiative ending.


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