A former colleague sent me this link today and asked me if I'd seen it. I hadn't, but it worried me enough to do some reading up on it. I found lots of coverage, including this web site set up to promote the cause of the arrested member of the University of Nottingham's staff. It made interesting reading, especially the fact that so many of Nottingham's staff had signed a letter in support. Very scary. It makes you realise what an important decision it is to call in the police. Once you have done, you lose all control - it doesn't matter if you then say, "oh sorry, we made a mistake, this really was a legitimate research paper" - it is out of your hands. There is only one reason I would call the police in without giving it a second thought, and that's when indecent or abusive images of children are found. That really is the police's domain to investigate (and in fact we would be breaking the law if we did anything else).
There are so many things about this case that worry me. In work terms, I'm thinking about what guidelines we might need to deal with this sort of incident. I will be on the phone to the HR Director tomorrow.