Met Police PR chief says officers were 'extremely upset' by Times front page image - Press Gazette

Met Police PR chief says officers were 'extremely upset' by Times front page image

Met Police communications chief Martin Fewell has said officers were “extremely upset” by Friday’s Times front page which showed a photograph of PC Keith Palmer as he lay dying.

The image was used two days after the attack on Westminster in which PC Palmer sustained fatal injuries.

The front-page showed both the attacker and PC Palmer (not visible in the cropped version above) lying on the ground from a distance.

It was taken by Times deputy political editor Sam Coates who was among a number of Lobby journalists nearby at the time of the Westminster attack.

Former Channel 4 news deputy editor turned Met Police director of communications Fewell spoke to Andrea Catherwood on today’s Radio 4 Media Shaw.

He said: “We both have lost colleagues and I don’t think  our news organisation would have put images of dying colleagues on the television and I don’t think those around the table from newspapers would expect their news organisations to put pictures of dying colleagues in their newspapers.

“There was a real sentiment within the Met Police that was frankly extremely upset about that…

“They didn’t want to see the family and the colleagues of Keith Palmer upset by those [images]…It was important news organisation didn’t use images in social media where they can be shared around and used as trophies to glamorise the actions of an attacker.”

Times deputy editor Emma Tucker, also appearing on the programme, said: “We never set out to offend or upset people.

“By the Friday it was clear that one of the key stories that was emerging was the story of a security lapse, the fact that an unarmed police officer had been murdered in the precinct of the Houses of Parliament and the gates remained open after the attacker had got in.”

She emphasised that the picture was used because it conveyed that information and noted that it was taken from a distance and the people involved were not identifiable.

She said: “If the officer hadn’t died I don’t think people would have minded.”

Asked whether she regretted publishing it, she said: “Absolutely not… This was a picture that was an important illustration of a story about a security lapse, I totally stand by the fact that we used it.”

Channel 4 News declined an invitation to appear on the programme to discuss its mistake on Wednesday night when it named the wrong man – Abu Izzadeen – as the Westminster attacker.

Fewell said that publishing the correct identity of the attacker on Wednesday night might have compromised the arrests that were made.

Newsnight reporter John Sweeney said: “There but for the grace of God go I. We looked at Abu Izzadeen… Another guy with another name also came to fore.

“My view was we were not going to name anyone, we are going to play this as safe as possible…You should wait until you check it. We knew their story was wrong and it was surprising it took them that long to correct it.”



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette


5 thoughts on “Met Police PR chief says officers were 'extremely upset' by Times front page image”

  1. First best wishes to P.C. Keiths + IS family (SAD LOSS)
    Now my question for all Govt M.P.
    WHY did you lot remove a armed officers from the area where Keith was killed?

    we have been told by news information you removed the armed officer because they intimidated you all entering the building there (stupid excuses in my opinion )
    The dress cord of any armed officer is meant to intimidate the offender/bomber/terrorist.
    it would not well if the armed officer only had shorts + t shirt on now would it NO?

    So “I personally think Keith would still be live today if you M.P.s had left the armed officer in that area and Not removed them.(as they where their to protect him as well as the area)
    all you M.P.s involved in this decision to remove the armed officers form there should be kick out of office + plus all Govt jobs A.S.A.P.(for gross negligence here)
    Plus also you could have cost keith is life by no armed guard in the area because YOU M.P.
    removed them so left P.C. keith vontobel to attack by any body.
    (So should be held accountable in my opinion for the P.C. death)
    WHY well if armed officers were there the criminal would not have got any where,
    near Keith to inflict wounds on him he died from by a knife the perpetrator of the crime would have been killed or subdued by the armed officer a fact!
    ( And keith would still be alive today)
    What “I cannot understand is what give the M.P.s the power to dictate where an armed officer should or should not be place on duty(this should be done by the police chiefs not M.P.s)
    As the police chief’s know where the vulnerable area are that could be under threat from any
    criminal or terrorists (So WHY did the M.Ps over ride the police chief’s order here?)
    and move the armed officer for this area.
    (All the M.P.s involved in this action to remove them should now lose their jobs A.S.A.P.)
    Govt acounterbilerty is need here all the M.P.s should be held accountable for Keiths death
    as they ALL let P.C. keith down just over a dress code nothing eles just a dress code and also put the rest of the public + over member of Govt in that area in danger that use that entrance to go to work!
    (WHAT where ALL you M.P.s think off”I for one would like to know?)

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