Comic copper teaches colleagues journo rights

A VIDEO to be played to police officers in training on the rights of journalists covering "public order" situations - presented by a stand-up comedian and "serving copper" - is now online.

Alfie Moore

Comedian and "serving copper" Alfie Moore compères the NUJ Public Order Press and Police training video for police officers.

In NUJ Public Order Press and Police, the five-minute video commissioned by the NUJ and made by Rob Whitehouse, police officer Alfie Moore asks, "How should we get on with journalists and photographers when we're in the middle of controlling a riot?" Alfie, himself a riot veteran, speaks to camera in front of a simlated riot at the Met's public order training facility at Gravesend.

He emphasises that all his advice is based on "official guidelines set out by police chiefs" and that "journalists and photographers have legal rights to report events like this." Examples of NUJ Press Cards are clearly displayed on screen.

Particularly eye-opening are the answers given by police taking a break from riot training on exactly what rights journalists do have, and what powers police have (or don't have) to restrict them. Several times the officers get it wrong - they're quickly corrected.

Using humour, Alfie dispels some "urban myths" about whether journalists "need a permit" to photograph or film in a public place (we don't) and whether coppers can confiscate or delete material (in limited circumstances), should the police help the media "obtain a good vantage point at the scene?" ("dialogue is important"), can police intervene to stop "interviews of the distressed and bereaved?"

The answer given to the last one is, no, the police can "pass on requests", with viewers alerted to the NUJ's own Code of Conduct. "They (journalists) have to justify intrusion of privacy", as Alfie reminds us.

Justine Curran, National Policing Lead, Public Order stresses in the video that reporting on what happens in riots is part of "how democracy works." The video will be played at all College of Policing command courses and become part of the police service database. It's also funny! The video's at www.bit.ly/PressPolice

Last modified: 25 Sep 2016 - © 2016 contributors
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