NUJ takes police complaints to the Home Office

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear is to meet with Home Office minister Tony McNulty to complain at the treatment of journalists and photographers by police.

Dear will tell the minister for police and security, with a responsibility for terrorism, of growing concerns over the monitoring and harassment of professional photographers. He will also raise the threat to the work of investigative journalists from terror legislation.

Shiv Malik was this month forced to hand over notes to a forthcoming book on terrorism after production order from Greater Manchester Police, made under the Terrorism Act 2000.

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Dossier

Dear said: ‘We will be raising our concerns about the harassment of photographers, particularly those covering demonstrations and public order incidents.

‘We’ve an ever-growing dossier of complaints ranging from physical attacks to verbal assaults, from intimidating surveillance to confiscation of equipment and unwarranted denial of access and restrictions placed on photography in public places.

‘We want a clear commitment that the Home Office will reinforce the message to the police that journalists’ rights to carry out their work free from arbitrary restrictions, free from threats and intimidation must be respected.”

In 2006 the union negotiated guidelines on dealing with the media with the Metropolitan Police, the country’s largest force, which was adopted by the Association of Chief Police Officers in April last year.

The guidelines say officers must not impede photographers covering demonstrations or events of any kind but several photographers have complained of heavy-handed treatment in the past 12 months.

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