The Metropolitan Police is conducting an investigation into the behaviour of one of its officers following video footage of the officer grabbing a photographer’s camera.
Photographer Marc Vallee and videojournalist Jason Parkinson are considering legal action following the skirmish with police outside the Greek embassy in London earlier this week.
Video footage of the incident, on Current TV, appears to show a police officer grab at Vallee’s camera and tear off the lenshood.
Metropolitan Police said in a statement: ‘The officer featured in this clip will be investigated regarding his conduct with a member of the media. There are clear service guidelines that all officers are expected to adhere to that protects the rights of media.”
‘The Metropolitan Police Service seeks to protect the interests and rights of media to do their job, through educating all our staff within the Service. Before every operation all our staff are briefed as to the role of the media and wherever operationally possible to facilitate them. This was a spontaneous demonstration that at points included outbreaks of disorder, which required an emergency response from police.”
Vallee and Parkinson met the NUJ on Wednesday following the incidents and are now considering their options.
Photographers at the protest have also complained that police ushered them from the area.
The NUJ has criticised the Metropolitan Police for its handling of the protests, claiming that it prevented journalists from doing their job.
Guidelines for Metropolitan Police Service staff on dealing with media reporters, press photographers and television crews state that: “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.”
NUJ legal officer Roy Mincoff said: “The police must remember that they have responsibilities towards the media.
“Even where a protest is itself illegal, the media have a right to report on events and the police should not be taking action with the intention of obstructing journalists in their work.”