An MPS spokeswoman said that the review was part of ‘delivering value for money’ and ‘examples of best practice around the whole of media comms activity’ would be considered. It also includes media buying services, handled by MediaCom, and internal comms, handled by Seven Squared, as well as legal, financial and IT services.
The MPS' relationship with the media has been even more than usually sensitive since the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
The Leveson Report set up to look into the scandal favoured a tighter regime for briefings of journalists by police due to concerns that ‘off the record’ briefings could mean ‘certain journalists were favoured with information in exchange for hospitality or other tangible benefits’.
The report recommended that ‘for officers of the rank of Commander or Assistant Chief Constable and above, dealing with policy or significant organisational or operational matters, formality and record keeping should be required’.
The MPS was criticised in 2011 for employing a former NoTW journalist, Neil Wallis, as a part-time communications adviser. The media training review is not believed to include the type of work Wallis was doing.
This week, the MPS arrested six current and former journalists at the News of the World on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept telephone communications.
Last July PRWeek revealed that the MPS had put out a lucrative brief as it sought to revamp its police stations.