Crime Commissioner’s office wades into police theft row as police apologise

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The office of Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has waded into the row over the police’s decision not to name a former officer who was charged with theft.

Warwickshire Police, who have now apologised for their inconsistant handling of the matter, didn’t name the man, 54-year-old Paul Andrew Greaves, despite him being charged with the theft of £113,000 from his former employers yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. His name was released earlier this morning by the Crown Prosecution Service despite Warwickshire Police’s refusal to do so.

The move originally prompted a backlash on social networking site Twitter after the force announced that due to a change in policy the former policeman would not be named by the force.

The whole statement from Eric Wood, Warwickshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Warwickshire Police has a reputation for being an open and transparent organisation and I am extremely disappointed at what has transpired in the last 24 hours.

“I was very surprised to hear about this sudden change of policy yesterday evening, and immediately contacted Deputy Chief Constable Neil Brunton on behalf of the Commissioner to discuss our concerns. We have since had a number of robust conversations.”

He added: “Both the Commissioner and I firmly believe that it is in the public interest that this individual is named. He is charged with a serious offence. The Commissioner is demanding a full and frank report on all of the circumstances that led to this decision, and we will be seeking assurances that in future all national guidelines are adhered to.

“We are committed to ensuring that Warwickshire Police operate in an open and transparent manner, and that lessons have been learned from the mistakes of the last 24 hours.”

The initial press release about the 54-year-old from the Stratford area said: “Due to a change in policy we no longer release the name of an individual on charge. Journalists may request a surname for guidance the day before the first court appearance by calling the newsdesk.”

A statement released by Warwickshire Police just after midday today said: “As a result of concerns raised after publication of a press release regarding a man charged with theft, we accept that our decision not to name him was wrong and inconsistent with the current national guidance.

“We will now be adopting the national ACPO guidance in respect to naming individuals on charge. We apologise that our previous approach has not been consistent with this. Paul Andrew Greaves, a 54 year old retired police officer, has been charged with the theft of £113,000 from the former Warwickshire Police headquarters at Leek Wootton.”

Police confirmed the theft had taken place at their former head quarters at Leek Wootten and that the man will be appearing before Magistrates in Leamington on May 22.