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'End police surveillance' – Home Secretary told

28 May 2008

Police surveillance team © Private
Police surveillance team ©Private

The NUJ has called for Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to end police surveillance of journalists.

Photographers have complained that members of the Metropolitan Police Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) have been recording the activities of journalists, especially photographers, covering demonstrations in London.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, wrote to the Home Secretary saying:

"The routine and deliberate targeting of photographers and other journalists by the FIT undermines media freedom and can intimidate photographers trying to carry out their lawful work.
"The rights of photographers to work free from threat, harassment and intimidation must be upheld."

The letter called on the Home Secretary to:

  • Tell the union if the FIT team is instructed to photograph journalists;
  • Provide guidelines issued to FIT team members on their duties/role;
  • Explain why the FIT team is collecting information on journalists;
  • Give detail on who has access to information about journalists held on police databases.

Jeremy Dear added:

"While the police deny they are targeting legitimate photographers we have plenty of evidence to the contrary. This abuse must stop."

Tags: , photographers, surveillance, police, fit, guidelines