Brighton Cat Killer: Sussex Police are asking £250 for old interview clip

The footage was captured as Steve Bouquet was being questioned by police over suspected stabbings of cats across the city.

Documentary maker Jody Doherty-Cove contacted Sussex Police for a copy of this clip and was awarded a £250 fee.

The force said they only charge the media for archival videos in some cases where there is no other police purpose, while the material issued at the same time is free.

A number of other forces were asked if there were any circumstances in which they would require video footage to be made available to the press – and said there was not.

Jody, who used to work for The Argus, wanted to use the video in his documentary Charged: How to Catch a Cat Killer.

He said: “Sharing footage of a criminal’s police interview should be based on whether it is in the public interest.

“However, the fees charged for the footage make it feel like Sussex Police are restricting their content based on the depth of a potential buyer’s pockets.

“Hopefully the squad can understand that small or local outlets often reach audiences untouched by larger outlets like ITV Prime Time.

“These communities should not miss seeing important aspects of the criminal justice system as the creators of the content they enjoy cannot afford to pay the sums demanded by Sussex Police.”

Royal Navy veteran Bouquet, who died earlier this year, killed nine cats and left seven others injured.

The 54-year-old performed the Spree between October 2018 and May 2019 before being caught by video surveillance set up by a pet owner.

Bouquet was sentenced to five years and three months in prison in July last year.

At the time, a video showing part of his police interview was released to the media.

An extended version of this was later made into an ITV documentary that aired in June.

In July, Sussex Police told Jody that a copy of this video would cost £250.

In an email, Sussex Police said: “We only offer a single license with a minimum price of £250 for non-exclusive use for up to three years.

“Please let me know if you want to buy.”

Jody later released his documentary, part of Charged: True Crime UK, which explores the country’s most shocking crime cases.

In the film, he said: “I’d like to show you an interesting extended police interview with the cat killer being broadcast on ITV, but it turns out Sussex Police sell licenses for their interviews with criminals and that would cost me £250 to do so .”

Sussex Police said this “administration time charge” was “standard practice and accepted in the manufacturing industry”.

Other forces were asked if there were any circumstances in which they would request videos to be made available to the press.

A Met Police spokesman said: “We only release footage if it will be used concurrently as part of an appeal or if it has been submitted in court as evidence.

“We don’t charge for that.”

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “It’s a categorical no from us. And I refer you to the College of Policing Code of Ethics for further guidance.”

Meanwhile, Surrey Police said: “We do not charge for providing video to the press.”

Kent Police said they were not aware of any instances where they had charged the press over videos.

And Hampshire Police said: “As a force we would not, under any circumstances, charge a fee for this.”

The Argus: Steve BouquetSteve Bouquet

A spokesman said: “We provide the media with a variety of information and materials on police affairs, operations and investigations on a daily basis, which can be freely used for simultaneous reporting.

“We support the principles of open justice and the broader benefits to our local communities of sharing this information legally and proportionately to prevent and detect crime and build trust in reporting.

“In this case, evidence used in court was made freely available to all media for use at the time.

“For requests to use non-contemporaneous material and where there is no other police purpose, we may charge an administration time fee so as not to burden the taxpayer.

“This is common practice in the manufacturing industry and is accepted.”

Charged – True Crime UK is a new series from Newsquest featuring insights from local journalists who covered the stories first hand.

Subscribe to the Charged – True Crime UK YouTube channel to keep up to date with the new documentaries. Brighton Cat Killer: Sussex Police are asking £250 for old interview clip

Fry Electronics Team

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