Warwickshire Police have now apologised. A statement read: “As a result of concerns raised after publication of a press release regarding a man charged with theft, we accept that our decision not to name him was wrong and inconsistent with the current national guidance.

“We will now be adopting the national ACPO guidance in respect to naming individuals on charge. We apologise that our previous approach has not been consistent with this.”

The force confirmed: “Paul Andrew Greaves, a 54-year-old retired police officer, of Belvoir Lodge, Carlton, Nottinghamshire (and formerly of the Stratford area) has been charged with the theft of £113,000 from the former Warwickshire Police headquarters at Leek Wootton. He will appear before magistrates in Leamington on 22nd May.”

As well as drawing criticism from Twitter, Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner office condemned the initial decision.

Deputy Crime Commissioner Eric Wood said: “Warwickshire Police has a reputation for being an open and transparent organisation and I am extremely disappointed at what has transpired in the last 24 hours.

“I was very surprised to hear about this sudden change of policy yesterday evening, and immediately contacted Deputy Chief Constable Neil Brunton on behalf of the Commissioner to discuss our concerns. We have since had a number of robust conversations.

“Both the Commissioner and I firmly believe that it is in the public interest that this individual is named. He is charged with a serious offence.

“The Commissioner is demanding a full and frank report on all of the circumstances that led to this decision, and we will be seeking assurances that in future all national guidelines are adhered to.

“We are committed to ensuring that Warwickshire Police operate in an open and transparent manner, and that lessons have been learned from the mistakes of the last 24 hours.”