Police probe Baby P text messages and websites

Contempt warnings

The Metropolitan Police is investigating websites which are naming the mother of Baby P and her boyfriend at time of the child's death.

A text message naming them, and encouraging people to sign a Sun petition on the case has been forwarded to thousands of people. Several social networking sites also have pages and groups which name the two as well as naming Haringey social workers deemed to be responsible.

Police are not so far considering charges against anyone but are talking to service providers to get them to follow reporting restrictions. But the names are freely available to anyone with internet access. Some just offer the names of the people involved, others incite violence against them. The danger is that such a hate campaign could jeopardise future charges against the people they name.

A spokesman for the Met said: "We are aware of text messages and internet sites referring to the case of Baby P and related issues.

"The MPS has specialist officers who actively monitor and liaise with IT and Internet providers to make them aware of potential contempt issues in relation to court cases. We look for co-operation with service providers, as well as the wider media, to adhere to strict reporting restrictions evoked by the judge in relation to this specific case."

But because the information has already been so widely distributed, like the BNP membership list, it will be all but impossible for the police to get takedown notices for every site on which the names appear. The mother has also been named on posters in London streets.

The government yesterday decided not to release the full detailed file on the case because: "disclosure would undermine the process of undertaking serious case reviews."

The Information Commissioner's Office said it had not been consulted in this case. The ICO said:

'The Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing personal information when necessary. However, case review files are likely to contain, not only sensitive personal information about the subject of the review, but often about third parties too, such as friends, relatives and professionals.... and there may be safety issues for those involved in the case.

Baby P's mother, her boyfriend and former lodger Jason Owens, 36, are all in prison awaiting sentencing.

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