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
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.