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Farron comments on police staff arrests

April 18, 2013 11:58 AM

Tim with policeSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has called the arrests of two members of police staff a 'threat to free speech'.

Two police workers have been arrested after details of the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner's expenses for evening functions were leaked. A 47-year-old man and 50-year-old woman were held after documents were revealed detailing the expenses of the commissioner, who was elected as a Conservative candidate just last November.

Cumbria Police say the pair have been arrested on suspicion of data protection offences and misconduct in a public office following the revelations about the Conservative police and crime commissioner.

Tim said: "Politicians of all colours regularly praise whistleblowers - and it is wrong to seek to silence whistleblowers in this case. Details of the expenses of public officials ought to be publicly available anyway, we shouldn't have to rely on leaks to find these things out. This information was in the public interest, and I'm sure could have been accessed by a simple FOI request. Most councils publish this information on a regular basis so why not the police commissioner? To arrest these staff members is high handed, a threat to free speech and a very dangerous precedent."