NUJ alarmed at increase in incidents with the police and photographers

  • 09 Apr 2024

The union has commented after charges were dropped against a photographer arrested by South Wales Police one day before the trial was due to begin.

Natasha Hirst, NUJ president, said:

"There has been an alarming number of incidents of police overstepping their powers with photographers and reporters over the last couple of years, creating an increasingly hostile environment for journalists who are simply trying to do their job.

“Photographers carry out a vital role in independently documenting events that are in the public interest. Yet their safety is often put at risk by members of the public and unfortunately, as in this case, by police officers. It's important to see this case was dropped, but I hope that swift action is taken to return all equipment to the photographer, along with an apology and compensation for the appalling treatment he experienced at the hands of the South Wales Police. We will raise this case in our discussions with the police and continue to urge them to work with the NUJ to educate their officers on the role and remit of journalists and ensure that incidents like this do not happen again."

Pamela Morton, NUJ Wales organiser, said:

“It is extremely concerning to read the details of this case, especially the judge calling the case “disturbing” and raises serious questions.  Over the past 20 years, the union has worked with the police and NPCC, so that officers are clear that members of the media have a duty to report many of the incidents that the police deal with and the police should actively help journalists carry out their responsibilities.  The union’s Welsh Executive Council calls on the police forces in Wales including South Wales Police to work with the union to ensure that relations of trust and openness between the police and journalists are improved and that officers are fully aware of their responsibilities.”

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