Photographer booked for obstruction makes police assault complaint - Press Gazette

Photographer booked for obstruction makes police assault complaint

A magazine photographer claims he has been threatened and prevented from doing his job by Greater Manchester Police officers in Oldham – for the third time.

He says an officer pushed his camera away and intimidated and abused him for over ten minutes.

The officer then booked his car for obstruction and started checking his tyres and tax disc.

The incident happened on the afternoon of Monday, 16 January, in Oldham.

The photographer says that a police officer waved his car over as he approached an incident scene and that after a couple of minutes he got out his vehicle, carrying his camera.

He said: “Before I had time to say anything, he put his hand on mine and pushed me and the camera away for no reason.

“I asked him politely to please get off me and not to come into my personal space as he was making me feel threatened and intimidated – especially after the last assault in Oldham a few weeks ago.

“He kept coming at me in a intimidating manner. Then his colleague came running over and the two of them bullied me away and were in my face every time I tried to move from them, even though I was in a public place.”

He added: “Then they gave me a ticket for obstruction and opened the door in an attempt to take the car keys. They said the car would be towed away.

“I did nothing more than get out of my car with a camera in my hand. The officer said they were managing an accident. But there were no casualties on site and no tape across the road where I was.

“They simply did not like the fact I was a journalist.”

The photographer has made a statement to GMP’s Professional Practices Board and has referred the case to the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

He is still waiting for GMP’s response to an incident in December when he claims an officer injured his hands and legs when he tried to video an accident.

After that incident, Greater Manchester Police launched an inquiry and reminded its officers that they must not stop the press from taking photographs in public places.

A spokeswoman said then: ‘Greater Manchester Police respects the rights of journalists and has previously issued guidance to officers about journalistic rights.

‘That advice will be reiterated to all officers. It would not be appropriate to comment further pending the outcome of the complaint investigation.”

Guidelines issued by the Metropolitan Police state: ‘Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel.”



Press Gazette's must-read weekly newsletter featuring interviews, data, insight and investigations.