Police officers must have greater awareness and recognition of the UK Press Card used by photographers and journalists, an official police inquiry into the G20 demonstrations has said.

Published today, the inquiry criticises police handling of the protest.

The report, called Adapting to Protest, states: ‘It is recommended that officers on cordons have a greater awareness of the ACPO [Association of Chief Police Officers] guidance in relation to Press Cards and the duties of legitimate members of the press to report matters of public interest.’

Describing communication as ‘key’ the inquiry concludes: ‘Police communication with the press and media has also been identified as in need of development.

‘Journalists interviewed recognised that the police were forthcoming in providing information prior to the event. However, they did not perceive that this translated into a similar level of co-operation on the day. Many noted the failure of police to respond to negative reporting.’

Following the protests, on 1 and 2 April, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) made a ‘collective complaint’ to the police watchdog over the way photojournalists were treated during the G20 protests.

Journalists claimed that police misused section 14 of the Public Order Act to clear journalists away from an area of the City of London on 2 April.

The NUJ said it was essential for the public to have ‘eyes and ears’ at such events and that obstructing press reporting was an ‘outrageous affront to our civil liberties and completely undermines confidence in the policing of demonstrations’.

Video footage was reported to show police threatening photographers and a TV crew, the latter believed to be from Sky News.


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Picture: Chris Cheesman

G20 protests image