Police bar base filming

Wintle: prevented from filming

A freelance cameraman attempting to film B-52 bombers loading up and taking off from RAF Fairford was obstructed by police, even though he had received clearance from the US Air Force.

Richard Wintle, a local journalist contracted by ITN to get footage of the base, was prevented from filming the bombers from his chosen vantage point near the runway and was forced to move to a designated area for the media. However, this gave him no view of military activity on the base and Wintle was effectively prevented from filming from a public area.

“I had been to the US Air Force’s press officer, Major Fox, who was very helpful,” said Wintle.

“He was initially worried that I would be filming using a satellite truck, which would cause interference with the aircraft. But I explained I was a lone cameraman and he agreed to let me film at the end of the runway at Gate 6, where I’ve filmed for the last two wars. But for some reason, the police decided I couldn’t film from the runway.”

After further enquiries by Press Gazette to Gloucestershire police, it emerged that officers bussed in from other forces may not have been briefed about the possibility of filming from alternative locations to Gate 13, the designated media post.

It admitted that “outside of the road closure areas for public safety and security reasons, there is nothing to stop the media from filming elsewhere around the perimeter of the base, providing they’re not undertaking satellite broadcasting or causing an obstruction to the public highway.

“It is possible that individual officers may have understood the policy with regards to Gate 13 and assume that this was the only area where filming is permitted,” said Gloucestershire police spokesman Steve Partridge.

“The policing of RAF Fairford is a major operation with officers being drawn in from a number of different forces and operating around the clock.

“No enquiries from the journalist involved were recorded by the constabulary press officers. If we had been aware, we would have taken steps to confirm with officers that journalists are allowed to film at this location.”

By Wale Azeez

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