Professional photographer threatened with arrest and forced to delete images

London Photographers’ Branch reports that Carmen Valino, a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), was threatened with arrest and had images deleted from her camera by police whilst photographing the scene of a shooting in East London. They say she was photographing the crime scene from outside a police cordon whilst on assignment from the Hackney Gazette, and had identified herself as a journalist and shown her UK Press Card to police.

They allege that a police sergeant told Valino she was disrupting a police investigation and asked her to hand over her camera. After protesting that she was in a public place, outside the cordon and that he had no right to take her camera, she says he grabbed her wrist and pulled out his handcuffs. Before he could put the cuffs on she handed him her camera and he later made her delete the images.

The article states that this incident highlights how police officers are still woefully ignorant of the law regarding photography and the agreed ACPO Media Guidelines.

The incident comes just days after Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson admitted that officers do not always apply laws and guidelines to photographers correctly.

The NUJ General Secretary, Jeremy Dear, was quoted as saying “The abuse of the law must stop. There is a gulf between photographers legal rights and the current practices of individual police officers. The police should uphold the law, not abuse it – photographers acting in the public interest deserve better.”