Warwickshire Police theft: Ex-officer Paul Greaves charged

Former Warwickshire Police headquarters The money was stolen from Leek Wootton, the former police headquarters

A retired police officer has been charged with the theft of £113,000 from Warwickshire Police's former HQ.

Paul Andrew Greaves, 54, from Stratford-upon-Avon was charged after the cash disappeared from the former headquarters in Leek Wootton.

The man was named by the Crown Prosecution Service after Warwickshire Police refused to reveal his identity.

The force has since apologised after the crime commissioner said it was "disappointed" at the decision.

Warwickshire Police said on Wednesday it would not name the officer until he appeared in court because of a "change in its policy".

'Robust conversations'

A statement issued on the force website 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".

Ever since Leveson and the criminal investigation into how some journalists acquire information from the police, there has been a row brewing between police chiefs and newsrooms.

The broad accusation from journalists is that the police are increasingly secretive and it's becoming harder for reporters to find out what the police are doing and why.

The police say that's rubbish. Be that as it may, it's highly likely that forces in England and Wales will soon adopt a rule of neither confirming nor denying the identity of people who have been arrested, even if a reporter knows for sure who it is.

Warwickshire's now abandoned policy not to name Paul Greaves after he had been charged went further than that.

Police chiefs argue the proposed national policy would be neither secret justice nor secret arrests, but an attempt to be fair, particularly to suspects who may be released without charge.

Deputy chief constable, Neil Brunton, defended the guidelines on Twitter after they were questioned by a journalist.

He said: "The policy was recently changed to align with national policy post Leverson [sic] and not because of today's outcome."

The force withdrew its previous statement after it said senior officers had discussed its policy on naming defendants.

It said: "In keeping with national policy Warwickshire Police does not name suspects on arrest. The force may, however, name suspects on charge unless it is inappropriate to do so.

"In the case in question it is inappropriate to name the person at this time."

On Thursday Eric Wood, the deputy police and crime commissioner, said he was "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.

"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."

'Wrong decision'

Mr Wood said he and the commissioner wanted a "full and frank report" on the circumstances leading to the decision.

"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."

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers [ACPO] said any police policy on naming was a matter for them and no new national guidelines had been issued on the subject.

Warwickshire Police issued an apology over the matter and said as a result of concerns raised it accepted the decision not to name Mr Greaves was wrong and inconsistent with national guidance.

"We will now be adopting the national ACPO guidance in respect to naming individuals on charge," the statement said.

"We apologise that our previous approach has not been consistent with this."

Mr Greaves will appear before magistrates in Leamington on 22 May, charged with "committing theft from his employer, Warwickshire Police, between June 2009 and September 2011", the CPS said.

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