Police forces have been provided with new guidance promoting openness, transparency and a professional approach to working with the media.
The College of Policing's Media Relations Authorised Professional Practice will apply to forces in England and Wales and outlines how officers and staff can work with the media to the benefit of the public.
It comes after a six week consultation, which included the public, broadcast and print media, and police forces.
College of Policing CEO Alex Marshall said:"Communicating openly and professionally with the media is an important part of the way in which the police are held to account. It can help the public understand the work of the police and engage them in preventing crime. "Our communication should meet the highest standards of integrity, accountability and openness, at every level of policing."
Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for media relations, said: "A successful working relationship between police and the media is vital. In the routine, that relationship works well. In some situations where the police service's primary duty to protect the public and prevent crime can come before sharing information, these guidelines can assist clear and consistent decision-making. "They encourage openness and transparency, while recognising the responsibility of the police to safeguard confidential information and act with professionalism and integrity."
The guidance covers areas including:
· Code of Ethics principles including openness, transparency and confidentiality
· Information about police investigations or ongoing operations
· Identities of those under arrest
· Taking the media on police operations
· The role of corporate communications departments
· Police under investigation
Notes to editors
· A full version of the guidance can be found on the Authorised Professional Practice website.
· This Authorised Professional Practice (APP) is designed to assist those working in police forces who engage with the media. It updates both the 2010 Communications Advisory Group's guidance and the College of Policing's 2013 Guidance on Relationships with the Media.
· It takes account of recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry (part 1) into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press (2012), and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report Without fear or favour, published in 2011.