I am getting tired of having to highlight these cases but they keep on happening, despite the statements from senior police and politicians. This one happened at the weekend and is reported in full on the NUJ website:
Carmen Valino had images deleted from her camera by police and was threatened with arrest whilst photographing the scene of a shooting in Hackney, East London.
The incident happened on Saturday 31 July as Valino photographed a crime scene from outside the police cordon whilst on assignment from the Hackney Gazette.
She had identified herself as a journalist and showed her UK Press Card to the police.
A police Sergeant approached Valino telling her that she was disrupting a police investigation and to hand over her camera. After protesting to the Sergeant that she was in a public place, outside the cordon he had no right to take her camera, he grabbed her wrist and pulled out his handcuffs. Before he could put the cuffs on she handed him her camera. He then left for five minutes before coming back, bringing Valino inside the cordon and asking her to show him the images and deleting them. Valino was told that she could come back in a few hours to photograph the scene.
This incident highlights how police are not following the law or the agreed ACPO Media Guidelines which state:
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.
How many more times? This has to stop. See here for some previous examples I have covered recently.
I am starting to think that the only way this will ever stop is if members of the public to whom this happens launch private prosecutions against the police officers involved, perhaps with the support of an organisation like Liberty. The officers who do these things are clearly breaking the law by acting in this way and I suspect they would not have a leg to stand on.
It is clear that all the edicts from on high are having little effect on the actions of officers on the ground.