Police to allow mugshots of troublemakers in Wigan

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Greater manchester

Police have assured licensees in Wigan that they will look into allowing mugshots of troublemakers to be distributed to pubs.The issue hit the...

Police have assured licensees in Wigan that they will look into allowing mugshots of troublemakers to be distributed to pubs.

The issue hit the headlines earlier this month when it was reported in the national media that publicans had been forced to memorise pictures of hooligans because keeping copies would have infringed data protection laws.

Twenty mugshots of known troublemakers were shown to licensees during a Hindley Pubwatch meeting in Wigan. But when Mike Butterfield, licensee at the Dray Kings, asked for copies of the pictures he was told it would contravene the Data Protection Act to give them out.

It is understood that a councillor offered to take a copy of the pictures with a digital camera, but was refused permission.

However, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) defended this decision.

³Photographs are issued to Pubwatch schemes on the strict understanding that they are used within certain guidelines,² he said. ³Schemes are asked to sign a legal agreement, which restricts them to using the photographs responsibly.

³On this occasion, officers in Wigan decided to show the photographs to local licensees under controlled conditions because members hadn¹t at that point signed the legal agreement."

Mike said: "It feels like the police are tying one hand behind our back by not giving us the pictures. I have worked in other regions and the police have always been amenable to us displaying pictures for our staff.

³It¹s not just me though. All the other landlords in the area want these pictures so they know who the troublemakers are."

However GMP has reassured publicans that steps are being taken to introduce a 'consistent process' across the force.

"Licensees will sign a legal agreement which restricts them to using the photographs responsibly," the spokesman added.

Bill Stone, National Pubwatch¹s operations support executive, said: "This is still a woolly area ­ who is responsible for photos ­ and needs to be addressed. I welcome the fact that Manchester Police are looking into it.

"Anything that aids the problems that some pubs face is a step forward."

Related topics: Licensing law

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