In­ves­ti­ga­tion file re­leased by mis­take

PressReader - Tke Channel - In­ves­ti­ga­tion file re­leased by mis­take
Po­lice have launched an in­ter­nal probe into how a homi­cide file was mis­tak­enly re­leased to lo­cal me­dia and as­sessed whether it could jeop­ar­dize wit­nesses whose per­sonal in­for­ma­tion had been dis­closed.Duty Insp. Pa­tri­cia Fer­gu­son re­sponded to an­other of­fi­cer’s er­ror in an in­ci­dent be­lieved to be the first of its kind as she spoke to the me­dia Sun­day af­ter­noon out­side the Mar­riott Ho­tel on Walk­ley Road.That was where re­spond­ing pa­trol of­fi­cers had found a man dead in a room on Sat­ur­day night.“It’s some­thing that we apol­o­gize for and some­thing we take very se­ri­ously and we’re go­ing to be tak­ing steps into look­ing into how this hap­pened and how we can pre­vent it from hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture,” said Fer­gu­son, who was tight-lipped about the homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tion.The me­dia was quickly con­tacted with a re­quest to de­stroy the 24page re­port and not to use the in­for­ma­tion, she said.“We no­ti­fied the peo­ple whose in­for­ma­tion has been re­leased to en­sure that they are aware this has hap­pened.“We’ve as­sessed any risks for safety, any of that type of is­sue,” Fer­gu­son said.Asked if the re­lease had jeop­ar­dized the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Fer­gu­son noted the re­port was re­leased to mem­bers of the me­dia and not to the gen­eral pub­lic and that in­ves­ti­ga­tors “are go­ing to do what­ever they can to make sure that this has no im­pact.”Early Sun­day morn­ing, the re­port marked “con­fi­den­tial” was dis­trib­uted to about 180 peo­ple on a me­dia list used to dis­sem­i­nate of­fi­cial news re­leases. It in­cluded the names, ad­dresses and phone num­bers of wit­nesses, what they told po­lice and the iden­tity of the de­ceased man, whose next of kin hadn’t been no­ti­fied yet.A re­call for the email con­tain­ing the re­port was is­sued about 90 min­utes later.Po­lice con­firmed the un­in­ten­tional re­lease in a sub­se­quent email, ask­ing that me­dia not pub­lish any in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the doc­u­ment be­cause it “could jeop­ar­dize the safety of in­di­vid­u­als in our com­mu­nity and com­pro­mise the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

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