Red card for red cars

THE METROPOLITAN Police has ticked off its Diplomatic Protection Group officers after several incidents involving the cops in the red cars and photographers. This follows lobbying by photographer Nigel Howard. The message reminds them of the guidelines on dealing with the media and that "Regardless of whether we agree with their rôle and methods or not, representatives of the media are entitled to do their job without unnecessary interference from police officers."
DPS officers taking the details of an NUJ video journalist: photo © Jason Parkinson
DPS officers taking the details of an NUJ video journalist at a protest for Mumia Abu-Jamal in London's Grosvenor Square on 29 March. Blurred by us.

That email to officers

CO6 and the Press

In recent weeks there have been a number of occasions when officers from CO6, whilst carrying out their protection role, have had dealings with photographers and camera operators from various sections of the media. The officers have intervened or hindered these photographers from taking pictures of the principal who was the subject of CO6 protection. It must be pointed out that it is in no way part of the role of CO6 to prevent the press from doing their job if it does not compromise the safety of the person being protected. Regardless of whether we agree with their role and methods or not, representatives of the media are entitled to do their job without unnecessary interference from police officers.

The following is an excerpt from Guidelines for MPS staff on dealing with media reporters, press photographers and television crews:

“1. Members of the media have a duty to take photographs and film incidents and we have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what they record. It is a matter for their editors to control what is published or broadcast, not the police. Once images are recorded, we have no power to delete or confiscate them without a court order, even if we think they contain damaging or useful evidence.”

“Please bear this in mind should you have dealings with the press in the future.”

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Howe and also Supt Operations Ian Apps at the DPG for their positive attitude and professionalism in ensuring a better working relationship with officers from their department and photojournalists, It is a step forward and a most welcome one

.

In times when security is at an all time high and is paramount in everyone's minds it is refreshing to see that a sensible understanding of our role as photojournalists is understood and recognised by those officers.

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