The National Union of Journalists is demanding an apology from Nottinghamshire police after video tape was seized from a student videojournalist covering the ‘Occupy Nottingham’ protests.
Update: Union to complain to IPCC over incident
From the NUJ Nottingham Branch:
Today, the NUJ has written to Nottinghamshire’s chief constable Julia Hodson calling for the apology to be made in person to 20-year-old Lewis Stainer, a student at New College in Nottingham.
Last Friday he was given back his film after it was seized on Monday 21st November by the police for evidential reasons. Lewis had been filming in the old Market Square for his course project when police made four arrests at the Occupy Nottingham camp. Subsequently two people were charged with offences.
National officials of the NUJ have also decided today to give Lewis Stainer legal support while the union’s legal officers carry out a full investigation into the incident. Lewis who’s studying a BTEC in TV and Film says he wants an apology as well as compensation for the stress and inconvenience he experienced in having his coursework seized.
The union is increasingly unhappy at the number of problems involving photographers across the country.
Diana Peasey, chair of the Nottingham NUJ branch said ‘we know photographers are under increasing pressure here. They’re often told they can’t photograph crime scenes or face having their camera or material seized by police under section 19 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. It is done all too frequently.’
‘We have our own Police and Media guidelines which the NUJ negotiated with the Nottinghamshire police. Section 7 says specifically:
‘Police officers do not have the authority to prevent a person taking a photograph or to confiscate cameras or film and such conduct could result in criminal, civil, or disciplinary act.’
Ms Peasey said “It is clear that the PACE legislation is overriding the Media guidelines and we need to toughen them up to ensure that the police understand they cannot intimidate photographers and journalists at crime scenes or major incidents.”
Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire Constabulary’s Complaints and Misconduct unit is also looking into the incident.
Diana Peasey, chair, Nottingham NUJ branch.
Material ‘acquired or created for the purposes of journalism’ is Special Procedure and protected from seizure in this way under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The London Photographers Branch is strongly against the use of journalistic material as evidence.
Members approached by the police for your material you should contact the NUJ immediately. During office hours you can contact the NUJ Legal Department on 020 7843 3721. If you urgently need help you call the 24hr NUJ emergency legal helpline on 0800 5877530.
LPB Posts on Seizure of Material: