Today’s issue has a couple of articles about the guidelines, police etc …. both of which feature me.

here is what they say:


Title: Watching the detectives
Date: 30 May 2007

‘If you get to the officers, they know about the guidelines and will bend over backwards to accommodate you. But the rank and file just don’t seem to like the media’. These are the words of seasoned press photographer and British Press Photographers Association honcho Jeff Moore.

It has been a momentous battle for photographic and journalistic bodies to agree the guidelines they believe are needed to improve relations between the press pack and the police. And now it looks as if the guidelines, which have already been adopted in London, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire, are to be made available across the country.

But what’s the point of printing out thousands of booklets and handing them to police officers if they are ignored when the heat is on? After the July 2005 London bombings, press photographers claimed that they were denied access to scenes with cordons set up so far away that they could not get their shots.

Photographers also complain that they are preventing from capturing far less cateclysmic events as well. Both Alan Lodge and Andy Handley were told to stop photographing incidents on their local beat, and when they pointed out their rights, were arrested and their kit confiscated. With the support of the NUJ, Handley has received an apology. But Moore says many photographers, when facing this sort of obstruction, don’t want to cause problems. ‘Most photographers don’t complain, but they should. You have to take the police officer’s number then make a formal complaint, otherwise things won’t change’.

Things are changing, but education is needed amongst police officers. The guidelines should be explained to police cadets, and the prejudice that the press are intrusive pests banished. As Moore says simply: ‘We need to get across to the police that we are not trying to stitch them up’.

Katie Scott, News Editor.


Title: Police guidelines adopted
Date: 30 May 2007

Guidelines designed to help improve relations between the police and press photographers will be rolled out nationwide in the next few months, but already sceptics are voicing concerns that they will have little effect.

The guidelines were first set out in a landmark agreement between key press organisations – including the National Union of Journalists, the Chartered Institute of Journalists and the British Press Photographers Association (BPPA) – and the press bureau at New Scotland Yard early in 2006 (BJP, 05 April, 2006). The decision to pen the guidelines was as a result of worsening relations between the press and police, notably during the London bombings of July 2005, when press photographers complained of ‘gratuitous obstruction’.

In response, and after months of negotiations, the Metropolitan Police Force adopted a nine-point ‘best practice’ guide to working with media personnel, though it stopped short of making them part of the force’s operational orders. Police forces in Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire have both already adopted their own guidelines, however, after further negotiations, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has now agreed that the guidelines will be rolled out across the country.

ACPO spokeswoman Lisa Vasco told BJP: ‘We are hoping to get the guidelines out to all forces nationwide in the next couple of months. It will then be up to the separate forces to decide what they do with the guidelines once they get them.’

John Toner, freelance organiser at the National Union of Journalists, was instrumental in the talks and is confident that they will have a positive impact how police officers handle press photographers. ‘I have been in negotiations with ACPO for eight months. It has now told me that the roll-out will happen and I hope it will have an effect nationwide’.

Lack of knowledge
However, others are sceptical. BPPA spokesman Jeff Moore, who is also a freelance press photographer, said that his experiences in London would suggest that the guidelines are not always effective. ‘Some police officers, even if they know what the media guidelines are, don’t take any notice of them. The guidelines have been with the Met for nearly a year now but if you deal with the average police officer, they don’t seem to know about them.’

Meanwhile, in Nottingham, press photographer Alan Lodge made his tenth court appearance on 11 May to fight a charge of obstructing a police officer. Lodge was arrested on 18 March 2006 while attempting to photograph an incident on Alfred Street in Nottingham (BJP, 05 April).

He alleges that he was asked to stop photographing by an officer on the scene, but refused, producing his press card and pointing to the police/press guidelines. The police claim that Lodge next became ‘aggressive’ and arrested him for assault on a police officer. He was next ‘de-arrested’ for this offence but, after asking for his camera kit back, was then charged with breach of the peace – a charge that was later altered to obstruction of a police officer.

A trial was set for 17 October 2006, but adjourned because the contents of the photographer’s memory card had been requested as evidence from the Crown Prosecution Service by the photographer’s defence team, and weren’t made available in time. Lodge’s next court appearance was 02 March, when his case was again adjourned. At this time, NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear told BJP: ‘Alan had a perfect right to photograph in a public place a matter of clear public interest. If the court takes away that right then all of us will suffer as it will have a chilling effect on the exercise of press freedom. The court should throw these ludicrous charges out and make a clear statement about the rights of press photographers.’

Following similar circumstances in Milton Keynes, a press photographer of 30 years has received a formal apology from the local police force and had a obstruction caution rescinded. Andy Handley, a photographer for the MK News, was handcuffed and arrested after trying to take a photo of a road traffic accident on 12 September, 2006. It was reported at the time that Handley was taken to a police station, photographed, fingerprinted and DNA tested before being held in Central Milton Keynes Police cells. His case was taken up by the NUJ.

onwards and upwards ………..

Previous links to the original incident, and issues about it all …..

Arrested for taking pictures! [again]


Another ‘armed’ turnout’ of Nottinghamshire Police. [another false alarm]

Gun Crime and Police response – Collected Links