National Union of Journalists freelance organiser John Toner has written to Lancashire Constabulary to complain about the force issuing its own press passes.
The force issued passes to journalists wishing to cover the English Defence League protest in Blackburn on Saturday and initially refused access to those not carrying one, the union claimed.
- February 16, 2018
- February 13, 2018
- February 9, 2018
It was only after intervention by NUJ President Peter Murray that the police eventually backed down.
Toner said: ‘We have worked hard for many years to protect and promote recognition of the UK Press Card, which is recognised by ACPO.
“The Press Card contains a photograph, a hologram, is laminated and carries a verification phone number.
“We are constantly improving the integrity of the card and a RFID chip is being phased in. Lancashire Police’s ‘press pass’had no security features and was simply a photocopy. The one I saw had one journalist’s name and organisation crossed out, and another’s written in biro.
‘We need to convince the police that the UK Press Card should be sufficient identification for any working journalist.”
The NUJ has requested a meeting with the police and the UK Press Card Authority is also going to raise this issue as it claims this is the second instance of a police force issuing its own passes in relation to an EDL demonstration, following similar moves by Leicestershire police last October.