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Harassment notices to be reviewed after General Election

The use of Police Information Notices is to be looked after several high profile instances of misuse.

Police Information Notices (PIN) otherwise known as Harassment Notices are to be reviewed after the General Election.

The notices are issued by forces in an early attempt to prevent harassment and can be used in any potential legal proceedings to show the subject was aware they had been harassing someone.

However the College of Policing plans to carry out a public consultation of the use of PINs after the formation of a new government.

The move comes following a number of high profile instances where there has been public dispute over the use of the measure including journalists and public figures.

Songs of Praise presenter Diane Louise Jordan said her career and personal life suffered after she was issued with a PIN in 2014 for allegedly harassing the partner of her daughter’s estranged husband.

Her accuser later admitted fabricating the abuse and was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday April 20, 2017.

Ms Jordan told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme she felt “guilty until proven innocent” throughout the ordeal.

She said: “First of all I was really perplexed because I did not expect the police to turn up on my doorstep especially with something like that and I knew I had done nothing wrong.

“They were just saying ‘don’t worry about it… we’re not saying you’ve done anything wrong we’re just asking you to sign this and say that you have received it’.

“I signed it because I was trying to be a law abiding citizen but I did feel a sense of ‘wow this is weird’ I hadn’t even been asked if I was guilty or innocent and here I am in this situation where I am compelled to do something.

“They say it’s not a criminal record but the thing about it is that you are on record so if you need to have any sort of enhanced check, which I do because I work a lot with young people and charities, it does come up on it, it does have a block on your name and it does stay on your record.

“I didn’t know that when it first happened to me… it happened again with the same person and the second time I was wiser about these things so I refused to sign that one.

“There is a sense of relief I have been exonerated. I felt guilty until proven innocent and it’s a horrible thing to have hanging over you for years, I am lucky.

“These notices are still being issued to potentially completely innocent people even though a couple of years ago we were led to believe there would be changes to these notices.”

Former Croydon Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies was handed a PIN in 2014 for doorstepping and emailing a fraudster on his patch.

After MPs accused the Met of attacking press freedoms the force revoked the notice without admission of liability and said they would write to the College of Policing to request guidance.

The college had planned to begin consultation on the issue imminently but the process will now have to wait after the Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap General Election.

A spokesman said: “A public consultation will take place after the General Election on Early Harassment Notices, which will replace PINs.

“The consultation responses will be reviewed before new Authorised Professional Practise is issued to police on how best to manage the issuing of notices.”