Police Nightjack blogger's identity revealed as Lancashire officer

A SECRET police blogger has been revealed as a Lancashire detective following a high court ruling that stripped away his anonymity.

Detective Constable Richard Horton, based in Lancashire Police's Eastern division, had tried to keep his identity secret as he uploaded diary entries on to his critically acclaimed NightJack blog.

Following a national newspaper investigation into who was writing the blogs, Mr Horton was outed as the author and attempted to take out an injunction against the Times newspaper to stop it printing his name.

But in a landmark High Court case this week a judge rules that anonymous bloggers cannot use the court process to keep their identity a secret.

Lancashire Police have issued Mr Horton with a written warning.

Mr Horton's blogs, which were awarded the orwell Prize for political writing, offered a behind-the-scenes look at front-line policing and advised those under police investigation to “complain about every officer... show no respect to the legal system or anybody working in it”.

The Times said that some blog entries contained confidential details of cases being worked on by Mr Horton.

People and locations were changed to offer a thin veil of anonymity but some, including those relating to child sex offences, could be traced back to genuine prosecutions, the paper said.

Mr Horton has now deleted all his blog entries.

A police spokesperson said: “The commentary in the blog is indeed the work of a serving Lancashire detective and clearly the views and opinions expressed are those of the author himself and not those of the wider Constabulary.

“We have conducted a full internal investigation and the officer accepts that parts of his public commentary have fallen short of the standards of professional behaviour we expect of our police officers.

“He has been spoken to regarding his professional behaviour and, in line with disciplinary procedures, has been issued with a written warning.”

Comments (10)

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7:28pm Tue 16 Jun 09

ms9 says...

Whilst I can't say I agreed with everything Det Con Horton said in his blog, feeling his job meant that he sometimes only saw the worst of East Lancs (and every demographic, including my own), I resolutely defend his right to say it. It's a great shame London journalists felt they should force his blog off the internet and lead to disciplinary action. Do we know which towns he worked in anyone?
Whilst I can't say I agreed with everything Det Con Horton said in his blog, feeling his job meant that he sometimes only saw the worst of East Lancs (and every demographic, including my own), I resolutely defend his right to say it. It's a great shame London journalists felt they should force his blog off the internet and lead to disciplinary action. Do we know which towns he worked in anyone? ms9

7:56pm Tue 16 Jun 09

tccharmer says...

Someone once said and I quote, I dont agree with the comments made but I will defend with my life ,the right to say it.
Seems to apply here I think.
Someone once said and I quote, I dont agree with the comments made but I will defend with my life ,the right to say it. Seems to apply here I think. tccharmer

9:26pm Tue 16 Jun 09

Southern Badger says...

Isn't it a shame that a reputable newspaper uses its power to shut down an original and independent voice
Isn't it a shame that a reputable newspaper uses its power to shut down an original and independent voice Southern Badger

10:18pm Tue 16 Jun 09

Totally says...

Southern Badger wrote:
Isn't it a shame that a reputable newspaper uses its power to shut down an original and independent voice
I couldn't agree more. Meanwhile treason is committed across the UK and no-one bats an eyelid. Nightjack was more tuned in to decent people than all of the media put together.
[quote][p][bold]Southern Badger[/bold] wrote: Isn't it a shame that a reputable newspaper uses its power to shut down an original and independent voice[/p][/quote]I couldn't agree more. Meanwhile treason is committed across the UK and no-one bats an eyelid. Nightjack was more tuned in to decent people than all of the media put together. Totally

11:31pm Tue 16 Jun 09

JohnR1 says...

Am I mistaken or is there a law preventing 'whistle blowers' from being prosecuted or victimised for revealing the truth behind certain activities covered up by institutions working to a different agenda to the one portrayed by their public face? Or does this not apply in the case of the police, NHS and the like?
Am I mistaken or is there a law preventing 'whistle blowers' from being prosecuted or victimised for revealing the truth behind certain activities covered up by institutions working to a different agenda to the one portrayed by their public face? Or does this not apply in the case of the police, NHS and the like? JohnR1

8:30am Wed 17 Jun 09

Jimmy Paterson says...

Bad luck getting caught Detective Horton -- you should have realised that your senior officers wouldn't allow such online scriblings!
It's odd that those who are 'of doubtful character',useless, sick,lame or lazy simply get a cushy job in your organisation and yet you get disciplined for getting an award!!?
Bad luck getting caught Detective Horton -- you should have realised that your senior officers wouldn't allow such online scriblings! It's odd that those who are 'of doubtful character',useless, sick,lame or lazy simply get a cushy job in your organisation and yet you get disciplined for getting an award!!? Jimmy Paterson

9:08am Wed 17 Jun 09

campbell69s says...

Human Rights Act 1998
Article 10
Freedom of expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
Human Rights Act 1998 Article 10 Freedom of expression 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. campbell69s

2:55pm Wed 17 Jun 09

disgusted tunbridge wells says...

The Times is taking a lot of flak over its decision to out (and end) the Orwell-prize winning Night Jack blog."
Another nail in the coffin of newspapers who always prided themselves on their "sources"
The Times is taking a lot of flak over its decision to out (and end) the Orwell-prize winning Night Jack blog." Another nail in the coffin of newspapers who always prided themselves on their "sources" disgusted tunbridge wells

6:49pm Wed 17 Jun 09

plodder says...

I have not read the blog so am only going off the quotes I have read in recent newspaper reports. However if they are correct I for one am glad he has been disciplined. Telling everyone who has contact with the police to complain against his colleagues is disgraceful.Perhaps DC Horton has forgotten how stressfull it is for his colleagues to get a complaint or if his advice is followed multiple complaints. Perhaps he has forgotten that the standard of proof is lower for discipline cases than criminal cases. I hope he has been mis-quoted but if not he should be ashamed of what he has written.
I have not read the blog so am only going off the quotes I have read in recent newspaper reports. However if they are correct I for one am glad he has been disciplined. Telling everyone who has contact with the police to complain against his colleagues is disgraceful.Perhaps DC Horton has forgotten how stressfull it is for his colleagues to get a complaint or if his advice is followed multiple complaints. Perhaps he has forgotten that the standard of proof is lower for discipline cases than criminal cases. I hope he has been mis-quoted but if not he should be ashamed of what he has written. plodder

8:27pm Wed 17 Jun 09

ebygum says...


DC Horton is a very lucky man, a written warning, for something that could set the police back years.Do you know how hard it is to gain the trust of rape victims, child abuse victims etc, yet he writes abouts these things, which if the LET are to be believed are traceable to real cases, would you come forward thinking you could be subject to a blog.
The real detectives are working hard, and dont have the time to sit everyday writing rubbish on their computers, DC Horton must not be very busy, or perhaps was doing it in police time on nights, hence his title.
If it is in fact true he wrote about real, on going investigations, has anyone looked at that document he signed when he joined, the official secrets act.
DC Horton, you are a disgrace to the vast majority of hard working police officers, and you should resign, but you wont, too big a pension at stake.
DC Horton is a very lucky man, a written warning, for something that could set the police back years.Do you know how hard it is to gain the trust of rape victims, child abuse victims etc, yet he writes abouts these things, which if the LET are to be believed are traceable to real cases, would you come forward thinking you could be subject to a blog. The real detectives are working hard, and dont have the time to sit everyday writing rubbish on their computers, DC Horton must not be very busy, or perhaps was doing it in police time on nights, hence his title. If it is in fact true he wrote about real, on going investigations, has anyone looked at that document he signed when he joined, the official secrets act. DC Horton, you are a disgrace to the vast majority of hard working police officers, and you should resign, but you wont, too big a pension at stake. ebygum

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