According to the National Union of Journalists and the Union's London Photographers' Branch, last Saturday member Carmen Valino was photographing a crime scene from outside a police cordon while on assignment for the Hackney Gazette when she was approached by a police sergeant.
Despite identifying herself as a press photographer, the police sergeant told Valino that she was disrupting a police investigation and ordered her to hand over her camera. "After protesting to the Sergeant that she was in a public place, outside the cordon he had no right to take her camera, he grabbed her wrist and pulled out his handcuffs. Before he could put the cuffs on she handed him her camera," says the NUJ. "He then left for five minutes before coming back, bringing Valino inside the cordon and asking her to show him the images and deleting them. Valino was told that she could come back in a few hours to photograph the scene."
Speaking to BJP, a Hackney Police spokeswoman confirms the incident and adds that it was "clearny not the intention of the MPS to prevent people from taking photographs."
She continues: "Our officers do receive guidance around the issue of photography through briefings and internal communication and we continue to drive this work forward. It is therefore disappointing when this guidance is not followed correctly. Any allegations or complaints about police treatment of photographers is taken very seriously and will be dealt with appropriately. Anyone who is unhappy with the actions of individual police officers can make a formal complaint, which will be thoroughly investigated."
For more details on the incident, read Press photographer forced to delete images (published 03 August).
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