Published Wednesday, 28 March 2012
Sir Hugh Order, former PSNI Chief Constable, spoke at Leveson on Wednesday. (© Getty)
Sir Hugh told the Leveson Inquiry, which is investigating media ethics, he benefited "far more from their information than anything I had to say to them".
He held the PSNI top spot for seven years from 2002 and explained that during the early days, there was "a general lack of interest in matters concerning the province from the national media despite the fact that the threat was increasing at certain times"
The second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, which was set up last year following the News of the World phone hacking scandal, is examining the relationship between members of the police force and the media.
Sir Hugh added that he "would not want to become overly bureaucratic" and although he was not averse to officers making a note of when they met a reporter, he felt it was important that senior officers were able to tell the story of policing in Northern Ireland.
We need to be careful not to become so rigid and so bound by rules that we actually spoil what is a crucial relationship with the media and that officers don't feel too fettered in having sensible, professional conversations across all ranks.
Sir Hugh Orde
He said it was important that officers were confident in their own ability and "not impugn our integrity without having to write chapter and verse"
The former Chief Constable also spoke as president of the Association of Chief Police, his current role.
He said he was concerned about not overreacting about contact between press and police.
Summing up the independence between reporters and police forces, Sir Hugh added: "What the journalist chooses to write is absolutely their responsibility and I think one must be very careful not to try to shape what they write.
"Our obligation is to provide the information so they can write a story informed by the service and of course anyone else they choose to speak to."
Current Chief Constable Matt Baggott will also testify at London's Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday.
The hearings into the police and press interaction began last month.
So far, close to 200 witnesses have given evidence at the inquiry - including actors Hugh Grant and Steve Cooganand Tony Blair's former press secretary, Alastair Campbell.