for Metropolitan Police Service staff on dealing with media
reporters, press photographers and television crews
I believe - and many of you believe - that a key factor in the
way we work is how we treat one another and the members of the
public with whom we come into contact
We will build trust by listening and responding. Be accessible
and approachable. Build relationships. Encourage others to
challenge and get involved.'
Members of the media are not only members of the
public; they can influence the way the Metropolitan Police
Service is portrayed. It is important that we build good
relationships with them, even when the circumstances are
difficult. They have a duty to report many of those things that
we have to deal with - crime, demonstrations, accidents, major
events and incidents. This guide is designed to help you take the
appropriate action when you have to deal with members of the
- Members of the media have a duty to report from the scene
of many of the incidents we have to deal with. We should actively
help them carry out their responsibilities provided they do not
interfere with ours.
- Where it is necessary to put cordons in place, it is much
better to provide the media with a good vantage point from which
they can operate rather than to exclude them, otherwise they may
try to get around the cordons and interfere with police
operations. Providing an area for members of the media does not
exclude them from operating from other areas to which the general
public have access.
- Members of the media have a duty to take photographs and
film incidents and we have no legal power or moral responsibility
to prevent or restrict what they record. It is a matter for their
editors to control what is published or broadcast, not the
police. Once images are recorded, we have no power to delete or
confiscate them without a court order, even if we think they
contain damaging or useful evidence.
- If someone who is distressed or bereaved asks for police
to intervene to prevent members of the media filming or
photographing them, we may pass on their request but we have no
power to prevent or restrict media activity. If they are
trespassing on private property, the person who owns or controls
the premises may eject them and may ask for your help in
preventing a breach of the peace while they do so. The media have
their own rules of conduct and complaints procedures if members
of the public object.
- To help you identify genuine members of the media, they
carry identification, which they will produce to you on request.
An example of the UK Press Card is shown [on the paper
- Members of the media do not need a permit to photograph
or film in public places.
- To enter private property while accompanying police, the
media must obtain permission, which must be recorded, from the
person who owns or is in control the premises. We cannot give or
deny permission to members of the media to enter private premises
whether the premises are directly involved in the police
operation or not. This is a matter between the person who owns or
is in control the premises and the members of the media.
- Giving members of the media access to incident scenes is
a matter for the Senior Investigating Officer. The gathering of
evidence and forensic retrieval make access unlikely in the early
stages and this should be explained to members of the media.
Requests for access should be passed to the Senior Investigating
Officer who should allow access in appropriate cases as soon as
- Advice and assistance in dealing with members of the
media is available 24 hours a day via the Press Bureau at New
The UK Press Card
All the UK's professional reporters, photographers, and broadcast
crews rely on swift public and official help to bring the news to
Britain's homes and businesses. And every one of them can get a
genuine UK Press Card.
The official UK Press Card is an excellent way to identify
newsgatherers in the aftermath of a major news event or at any
other time. This is guaranteed by the UKPCA's gatekeepers, who
represent all the organisations which employ or represent
At the core of the scheme is a unique photocard and hotline
system managed jointly by the gatekeepers. It has a number of
security features and is recognised by the Association of Chief
Police Officers for England and Wales (ACPO) and by its sister
organisation in Scotland, ACPOS.
Each UK Press card has a unique serial number. Each cardholder
has a separate personal identification number or word. By using
the hotline - 0870 837 6477 - anybody can verify that the card is
genuine and that the holder is a bona fide newsgatherer.
The card also has several secret security features in addition to
the verification hotline. There are only revealed to the police
or similar authorities. The card is produced using similar
technology to the photo driving licence, with the photograph and
design integrated into the structure of the card.
Every card carries the logo of the issuing organisation or the
holder's employer together with the holder's name and the card
serial number. And no card is valid for more than two years,
ensuring a periodic review of the holder's right to have it.