Peterborough police are no longer identifying individuals charged with crimes

Police in Peterborough, Ont., are looking for a suspect following an armed robbery on Feb. 3, 2024. Global News Peterborough file

The Peterborough Police Service says its new policy of not naming an accused in its daily media releases follows policies being implementing by other police services across Ontario.

The service says its policy change went into effect on Jan. 14; however, media were not informed of the decision until Wednesday morning via a media release.

Police say the name of an accused will only be released if it is considered essential to the investigation or a matter of public safety.

“During a review of the media relations policy, the issue was identified and as result of discussions the Peterborough Police Service feels the court process is the more appropriate process through which names should and can be released,” Chief Scott Gilbert said.

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“In making this change, the service is continuing to focus on public safety, crime prevention and community policing rather than public shaming or increasing stigma.”

The service says the issue of releasing names has been an ongoing debate across policing and it is joining the growing number of services across the province with a similar policy.

The Durham Regional Police Service is one service that releases only the names of accused in more serious crimes.

The Guelph Police Service also does not release names. St. Thomas Police only release names of individuals who are recidivist — a convicted criminal who re-offends and are a threat to public safety or property.

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