Two-thirds of Britons say police can access phone records of journalists but only if approved by a judge

A new Ipsos MORI survey shows that two-thirds (67%) of people think that the police should be allowed to access journalist phone records, but only with the approval of a judge.

Two-thirds of Britons say police can access phone records of journalists but only if approved by a judge

A new Ipsos MORI survey shows that two-thirds (67%) of people think that the police should be allowed to access journalist phone records, but only with the approval of a judge. This follows a number of revelations early in the month that police, including officers charged with MP Chris Huhne’s investigation, had secretly obtained the phone records of newspaper reporters.

The survey also shows that 20% think the police should be allowed to access the phone records of journalists if the police think it is necessary, while 11% think that police should never be allowed access to their records.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI said:
“The public are concerned about privacy as well as law and order, and their consent can’t be taken for granted on these issues - our research tells us that while few think the police should never be able to use these types of powers, it depends on the seriousness of the alleged crime, who is affected, and the safeguards in place. People have much more confidence if a judge has to approve any requests.”

Technical note:

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,002 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain
  • Interviews were conducted by telephone on 11th – 14th October 2014.
  • Data is weighted to match the profile of the population.

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