NUJ calls for an end to journalist arrests

The NUJ has called for guidelines already agreed between the Metropolitan Police, the NUJ, the British Press Photographers Association and the Chartered Institute of Journalists to be incorporated into the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

The suggestion was made in the union’s submission to the current review of PACE, which stipulated there should be ‘no further erosion of the position of journalists”.

It follows growing concern about police treatment of journalists in the wake of recent incidents. Last week, Alan Lodge was convicted of obstruction because he refused to move while photographing a police raid.

Milton Keynes Citizen reporter Sally Murrer also last week told Press Gazette how she was locked up for 30 hours, bugged and strip-searched as part of a police leak inquiry in May.

The NUJ has highlighted the importance of journalists’ freedom as recognised in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The submission to the PACE review asks for the prevention of journalists being arrested or having their equipment confiscated unless there are exceptional circumstances.

NUJ legal officer Roy Mincoff said: ‘There are examples of NUJ members who have been arrested and had material seized in circumstances where it would be difficult to argue was necessary, and has interfered with their ability to work and earn a living.’

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