Luke Butterly 2

Luke Butterly, The Detail

Individual Excellence Awards
The AOP Award for Inspiring Local Journalism sponsored by Google News Initiative

Luke Butterly exemplifies the importance of local journalism, having used his journalism skills and connections to unearth injustices facing migrant communities, prompting policy changes and amplifying marginalised voices.

Migrant support groups in Northern Ireland had expressed concerns that data on migrant victims of crime was bring shared with immigration enforcement officials at the Home Office. The Police Service Northern Ireland (PSN) had repeatedly told migrant groups that they did not share data in practice. However, The Detail revealed in February 2023 that the PSNI had actually shared information dozens of time, including on victims of domestic abuse. Migrant groups described the information sharing as a betrayal of trust, and said that the practice flew in the face of PSNI campaigns, including Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls.

The reporting took several months, including ongoing engagement with migrant support groups and many attempts to secure the figures needed. The stories were shared on The Details socials, including widely-viewed clips on Instagram, sparking a wider conversation about

the status of migrants in Northern Ireland. Thanks to that conversation, The Detail discovered that all police forces in the UK were sharing data, showing that stories at a local level often have national implications. This story was also published in the Guardian.

The issues raised by Luke’s reporting were discussed at a meeting of the Northern Ireland Policing Board – the PSNI’s oversight body. The PSNI later conducted a full review of their policies. The Detail recently learnt that the PSNI has since stopped the automatic data sharing of migrant victims and witnesses of crimes with the Home Office - the first force in the UK to take this approach. The PSNI said this change was due to The Detail’s reporting.

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