The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Po­lice chief knew to ex­pect fall­out over Sir Cliff raid

I have never seen cov­er­age like this – ex-force boss af­ter raid at singer’ s home

- BY SIAN HAR­RI­SON

The for­mer chief con­sta­ble of South York­shire Po­lice said he knew there would be “reper­cus­sions” af­ter he saw BBC cov­er­age of the force’s search at Sir Cliff Richard’s home.

David Cromp­ton told Mr Jus­tice Mann he saw the broad­cast while on the beach dur­ing a fam­ily holiday in Wales, and was “not ex­pect­ing” to see footage filmed from a he­li­copter.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence at the High Court yes­ter­day, he said: “Hav­ing looked at the footage, I im­me­di­ately formed the view there would be reper­cus­sions. I was ex­pect­ing to see of­fi­cers go­ing in from the street, I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to see a he­li­copter, and I felt that would change the per­spec­tive of peo­ple view­ing this and at­tract crit­i­cism – and we would be part of that.”

Sir Cliff is claim­ing “sub­stan­tial” dam­ages for what he says was a “very se­ri­ous in­va­sion” of his pri­vacy when the raid on his home was broad­cast in 2014.

The cov­er­age in­cluded footage taken from a he­li­copter flown above the 77-year-old en­ter­tainer’s home on a pri­vate es­tate in Sun­ning­dale, Berk­shire.

The BBC con­tends there was a “le­git­i­mate pub­lic in­ter­est” in its cov­er­age and is vig­or­ously de­fend­ing the case.

Mr Cromp­ton told the court he thought the BBC’s use of a he­li­copter to film above Sir Cliff ’s prop­erty was “dis­pro­por­tion­ate”. He said: “I could never have imag­ined in my wildest dreams that the BBC would do what they did. I have never seen cov­er­age like this ever in my po­lice ca­reer.”

He said the al­le­ga­tion against Sir Cliff was “weak” and that he believed from the out­set the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion was “un­likely” to lead to a charge or pros­e­cu­tion.

The hear­ing has now been ad­journed un­til May 8.

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