NUJ logs anti-terror abuses

The NUJ's submission to the Rapid Review by Lord Ken Macdonald QC of counter-terrorism powers is now out, and it's worth taking the time to read it:

The submission lists numerous cases of spuriously applied "counter-terrorism" powers being used on journalists at work, especially photographers. The more bizarre incidents include Stephen Clarke, arrested and held in Manchester on suspicion of photographing sewer- gratings. (His DNA was retained by police.) And architectural photographer Grant Smith was stopped by police under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act three times in three weeks, mostly for photographing London buildings designed by his architect clients.

The NUJ concludes: "There is a disparity between the framework provided by legislation, policy and guidance when compared to the operational practice of police officers."

That this review is happening is itself encouraging. Also encouraging was the Metropolitan Police's invitation to the Freelance Office to attend the officers' "public order" policing briefing ahead of the events around the September papal visit to London. This was not the briefing for the press, but the operational run-through for the inspectors and sergeants commanding constables on the ground.

Freelance Organiser John Toner and LFB Chair Dave Rotchelle were among the NUJ delegation. Dave reports that it was made abundantly clear to officers during the briefing that it was not their business to obstruct photographers.

Please report any incidents of police obstructing you in your work - or being helpful - via the policing incident report form at

[Site map] Last modified: 03 Nov 2010 - © 2010 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editors of the time
Send comments to the editors: