Jump to content
Account Notice
  • To post a recruitment query in the "Recruitment Areas" or in the "Force Specific Areas" you will require a Recruitment Pass or a Membership Package. Click HERE to read more.
  • Your Account Is Currently Limited
AnotherCameraman

TV crew (again)

Recommended Posts

AnotherCameraman

Let's be clear from the outset that I'm absolutely not talking about people who run around with consumer cameras trying to create confrontation for the sake of YouTube hits. I'm talking about experienced television professionals working on assignment (though in law there is often no difference between the two.)

Anyway. A few years ago I posted on this forum regarding the increasingly fractious relationship between the police and TV crews. I'm making this post because it is getting worse, not better. I have some responsibility for training and for new entrants to the industry, and I am trying to give them the best advice I can. Right now, all I can tell themis that being harrassed (yes, harrassed, in the legal sense) by the police is an occupational hazard of camerawork.

These situations generally arise from a police demand of information from people.

The claim is often made that the requested information will be used to somehow check someone out and verify that they're not wanted by the police, and establish that they can be left alone in future. It clear that this is not true; I have colleagues who have been stopped three times in a day (which is not unusual, it's happened to me) and given full details each time, so clearly the police don't actually have any mechanism to mark something to be left alone. The police presumably know that, so it's not clear why they really want the information. What actually happens is that a few months later, once the computer systems have ground into action, if someone gives their details and has ever done so before, they'll be subjected to an even more severe inquisition than usual on the basis that "oh, you've been stopped before." All this makes the police appear dishonest and creates a perverse incentive for crews not to supply information, because we know that it will not make things easier in future, it will make things harder in future.

It's long been clear that trying to explain who you are and why you're there to the police is a waste of time; no answer will be good enough and no explanation will be accepted. It raises a suspicion that the police are deliberately creating an argument then escalating it in the hope of provoking an arrestable offence. We're starting to assume that the police have some sort of arrest target and will target anyone, for any reason or none, in order to achieve it. A lot of crews are becoming quite wise to this, and taking pains to ensure their interactions with the police are passive and soft-spoken to the point where even the most inventive police officer struggles to find a reason to make an arrest. In the end, if a police officer wants to arrest someone, he or she can probably find a reason to do so, so the police generally win the battle. However, I'm aware of several professional organisations in the field of journalism and broadcasting whose legal departments are almost constantly engaged in civil actions against the police, so the the police generally do not win the war, and most experienced journalists and camera crews are secure in that knowledge.

The key question is why these encounters happen at all. A report of someone at large with a camera is not a police matter, any more than a report of someone at large with a housebrick. All this behaviour is not helping anyone. There is no policing purpose to it. All it's going to do is create another sector of society that dislikes law enforcement, and for what - ten minutes of having fun messing a cameraman about? 

It's not very smart, is it?

-AC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Fedster

Any advice on a specific area of law is from either currently-serving UK police officers, and is offered to the best of their ability, or from members of the public who are perhaps aspiring to be serving police officers and may not hold the necessary level of knowledge to provide such assistance or by any other member who may offer their opinion. Either way such advice can only be treated as an opinion and nothing more. Members should look for the Verified Members Badge that appears on the posters name as advice from members holding this badge are verified police employees. The information is based on their own individual experiences, expertise and training. It is stressed, however, that if any information or advice found in these forums is used by any person or organisation, then the respective police officer(s) and staff can not and will not take any responsibility for any outcome in any investigation in a criminal or civil enquiry. Any advice or opinion offered is to the best of the individuals knowledge and ability based on the information you have supplied, and we will stress that we will never be knowingly misleading or untruthful in content.

[*]Please note, we do not offer advice or assistance in order to avoid penalties that you have incurred or maybe pending. [*]Such requests are deemed to be of an Operational nature and against our main Forum Rules. [*]You should always seek Legal Advice from a Qualified Solicitor in the event of any impending prosecutions or other involved legal matter.

Administration Team Police Community

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

stewie_griffin

Completely agree. 

I think it might be the fact that when a call comes in about 'suspicious persons', 9/10 times they're gone by the time the police arrive (especially if they really are up to no good).

However, if the 'suspicious persons' turn out to be a camera crew, or someone filming, lo and behold they are still there. So the attending police officers are 'kind of forced' into doing something, even if it is only trying to get their information. They are also usually amenable, unlike most of the people the police have to deal with.

On a personal/professional level, I have never managed to find a camera crew or anyone filming anything. Despite getting worryingly close on a couple of occasions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

Zulu 22
Posted (edited)

I think that someone is being a little “touchy” here with their comment. It depends very much on what are the actions of the Camera man in the first place. Are they being intrusive and interfering with a Police action or incident in progress which, may well be obstructing the Police performing their duties.  Personally I have not heard of a data base of Camera Persons being held or being in existence.  You could also ask for the definition that you are using as a “Cameraman or TV Crew. What is intrusive and have we not learned any lesson from the “Cliff Richard” fiasco of TV crews being intrusive and, they were present with the consent of the South Yorkshire Police. That was an incident that should never have happened, as was born out by the subsequent Court cases against the BBC.

You also have to ask the question of “Who are genuine Camera Crew and operating for who. There have been many cases where Camera Crew have not been looking for the truth but just hoping for some type of scoop. Some have little respect for the truth of their projection. I recall some years ago of a still photograph taking from a TV Camera Crew showing a Manchester Police officer kicking a student on the ground outside Manchester University. The publication brought about the suspension of a young officer as a result.  During the investigation it transpired that those filming were not the only camera crew. Another film was found that showed that the officer had seen the student being attacked and beaten to the ground. The officer had run up and had actually jumped over the injured student putting himself between the attacker and the student victim. The officer was lucky that this came forward but it certainly pointed out as to the ethics of the original Camera Crew.

Nothing is Black and White and, just as there are some officers who fall below expected standards, so are there Camera Crew who fall below the same stands of ethics and practicality. I do not feel that any genuine Camera Crew has anything to fear if they are filming and are not interfering with or obstructing the Police in their duties.

How do you know that you have a Bone Fide Camera Crew who are recording unless you ask them for identification and their credentials. Any genuine crew would produce any identification, just as any officer would.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Zulu 22

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


Indiana Jones
55 minutes ago, AnotherCameraman said:

Let's be clear from...........

........It's not very smart, is it?

-AC

Nice castigation.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

AnotherCameraman

Look at it from my perspective. I've been standing on a street corner with a camera on a tripod waiting to meet someone. Unbeknownst to me, someone has reported my presence to the police. The police leap to obey and send two people. The first I know about it is an angry, confrontational shout of "you! stay there! don't move!" from behind me. I'll immediately realise what's going on, but I'm now being confronted on the street by two angry armed men in paramilitary uniforms who I don't know, and who want my address under threat of taking my possessions, affecting my career and dragging me off in chains. Touchy? Yes, very. So would you be.

How do you know you have a "bona fide camera crew?" You don't. There's not really any such thing; I regularly work for the big broadcasters and I am under no illusions that doing so alters my rights or responsibilities in the slightest. There is still the press card, though the Met in particular have shown that they no longer take it seriously and, as I say, it doesn't really change anything. Anyway, from what I've seen, the police don't care if they have a bona fide camera crew or not; they're not really trying to find out who the person is, they're trying to provoke a confrontation.

If I do give up who I am, I risk being put on a list to be given extra hassle in future. We know this because our members are sometimes told how many times they've been stopped. I can give you one name here because it's a well-known case in the field - look up a guy called Jules Mattsson, who was assaulted by the Met, sued, won, and years later had to take them to court again to find out what information they'd been keeping on file about him. I don't know if the average police officer patrolling London is privy to this but some sort of system certainly exists.

I should emphasise: I do not want this relationship with the police. Ten years ago, I would have been happy to help where I could. The police seem to take the attitude that they are very powerful and can do what they like, and that's probably true.

But it's a stupid approach. The police will never have the support of some sectors of society, but they could have the support of the sort of people I work with, who are generally not criminally-minded and would prefer to see themselves as on the side of law and order. The police are pointlessly destroying that relationship and I am here to beg, to plead, for any sensible ideas anyone has to improve the situation.

AC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


scary100

I am going to apologise now if this post becomes a little 'blunt'....

I've been in the role now as an officer for a year, late starter joining the force in my 40's after a long career in teaching and taking a pay drop. So OP, my response  isn't from someone who has been in the job for years and I have learnt a hell of a lot in a short space of time (and still have more to learn) and would consider myself as someone with a lot of life experiences.

If the person with the camera has nothing to hide then there shouldn't be an issue in giving details or the police simply checking that nothing untoward is taking place. After all, I am sure you along with every other member of the public would be supportive of any preventative measures or intelligence gathering which stops crime or any potential future terrorism offences taking place given the threat level in this country? 

Would you rather officers challenge? (despite it possibly inconveniencing or simply p**&ing someone off for a few moments) or leave it to chance because they ''may' upset someone and it turning out to be a missed opportunity in preventing a crime from happening?

Officers may have information or be part of an operation that you or any other members of the public won't be privy to at that given time when you or any other person with a camera are seen at a location which again could cause some serious harm with you just being there.

You may be annoyed, but don't give officers a hard time for simply carrying out their lawful duties in what is already an unforgiving role if mistakes are made which could costs lives or serious harm. For you it's an inconvenience and you can carry on with your normal day to day lives, for an officer not to challenge something could result in a much bigger consequence.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zulu 22

If a Camera Crew (which denotes plural) are bone fide then they would have nothing to hide by trying to hide their identity. Should it be a Police Officer, not in uniform, then he would quite readily identify himself by producing his warrant card.  It would appear that you are assuming that all Camera Crew are carrying out a legitimate business but, that is not always correct, although I would accept that in the majority of cases they would be carrying out a legitimate act. It would take no time at all to satisfy an officer that in fact that was the case. 

You say quote "Look at it from my perspective. I've been standing on a street corner with a camera on a tripod waiting to meet someone. Unbeknownst to me, someone has reported my presence to the police. The police leap to obey and send two people. The first I know about it is an angry, confrontational shout of "you! stay there! don't move!" from behind me. I'll immediately realise what's going on, but I'm now being confronted on the street by two angry armed men in paramilitary uniforms who I don't know, and who want my address under threat of taking my possessions, affecting my career and dragging me off in chains. Touchy? Yes, very. So would you be".  

Well as a starting point someone, unbeknown to you has reported suspicious circumstances. Those circumstances had the response of as you say "Two angry armed men in paramilitary uniforms"  Now you would not normally get a response from an armed unit unless there was a perceived serious threat. They do not deal with normal everyday complaints, they respond to a perceived threat of possible armed offences.  The officers do not know that until they arrive and deal with the incident.

It could be that you are being ultra sensitive and prepared to be easily offended. I would be just as alarmed that you have some responsibility for the training of Camera Crew. If you are preaching to them your attitude of being hostile to been stopped and checked out. Such teaching would only exacerbate the response of more Camera Crews, perhaps believing that such action and objection is the norm.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


skydiver

The only time I have come across 'camera crew' is when we have had reports which have turned out to be people shooting semi pro music videos for use on YouTube.  A quick 2 minute word was enough to establish what they were up to.  Sometimes crews or production companies call us to tell us where and when they will be filming which is nice, however I don't think this sort of example is what 'anothercameraman' is talking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

AnotherCameraman

I'll sum up what I think is being suggested here to save space.

The prevailing line of thought seems to be that if we tell the police who we are and what we're doing, the police will be satisfied and leave us alone.

The problem is, that isn't what tends to happen. If it were, I wouldn't be here asking these questions. In my experience that's what happened in the 2000s. The police would make an approach, we'd show a press card, and they'd say "OK, fine," and leave us alone.

Now, things are very different. Explain that you're standing outside Bank tube station on assignment for Channel 4 News and the response will very often be "well, anyone could say that."

Which is true; anyone could say that. Anyone could have a business card printed with a reasonable facsimile of a broadcasters' logo. Anyone could fake a printout of an email describing an assignment. Anyone with a printer can do that.

So the problem, if you like, is not what people are or aren't willing to tell the police. The problem is that if you decide you're not going to believe what someone tells you, no answer they give is ever going to satisfy you, and you've created a situation that can only end up in confrontation and argument.

Ultimately, this encourages people like me to go "no comment" early in a discussion because that's what we've found causes us the least amount of grief. You are encouraging people to do exactly what you claim you don't want them to do, not because we want to be in any way hostile, but simply because we've found that ends the encounter sooner - on average.

Skydiver, if you are a police officer and you have had an encounter with a music video shoot that took two minutes or less, my hat is off to you; that is not how it usually goes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


AnotherCameraman

Oh, and Zulu - a guy in a police uniform with a baton is an armed man in paramilitary uniform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ether
2 hours ago, AnotherCameraman said:

Oh, and Zulu - a guy in a police uniform with a baton is an armed man in paramilitary uniform.

No he isn’t, stop politicising the role of the police. 

There is no military element to the police, quite the opposite 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


Ether
21 hours ago, AnotherCameraman said:

Look at it from my perspective. I've been standing on a street corner with a camera on a tripod waiting to meet someone. Unbeknownst to me, someone has reported my presence to the police. The police leap to obey and send two people. The first I know about it is an angry, confrontational shout of "you! stay there! don't move!" from behind me. I'll immediately realise what's going on, but I'm now being confronted on the street by two angry armed men in paramilitary uniforms who I don't know, and who want my address under threat of taking my possessions, affecting my career and dragging me off in chains. Touchy? Yes, very. So would you be.

How do you know you have a "bona fide camera crew?" You don't. There's not really any such thing; I regularly work for the big broadcasters and I am under no illusions that doing so alters my rights or responsibilities in the slightest. There is still the press card, though the Met in particular have shown that they no longer take it seriously and, as I say, it doesn't really change anything. Anyway, from what I've seen, the police don't care if they have a bona fide camera crew or not; they're not really trying to find out who the person is, they're trying to provoke a confrontation.

If I do give up who I am, I risk being put on a list to be given extra hassle in future. We know this because our members are sometimes told how many times they've been stopped. I can give you one name here because it's a well-known case in the field - look up a guy called Jules Mattsson, who was assaulted by the Met, sued, won, and years later had to take them to court again to find out what information they'd been keeping on file about him. I don't know if the average police officer patrolling London is privy to this but some sort of system certainly exists.

I should emphasise: I do not want this relationship with the police. Ten years ago, I would have been happy to help where I could. The police seem to take the attitude that they are very powerful and can do what they like, and that's probably true.

But it's a stupid approach. The police will never have the support of some sectors of society, but they could have the support of the sort of people I work with, who are generally not criminally-minded and would prefer to see themselves as on the side of law and order. The police are pointlessly destroying that relationship and I am here to beg, to plead, for any sensible ideas anyone has to improve the situation.

AC

Reading this sweeping generalisation, where you assume that all police are the same, strangely the same complaint you are making in how all camera carrying people are treated. 

So to summarise, you are complaining about your treatment, by behaving in the same manner you are complaining about. 

Ever think some people just have a busy or hectic day, even if they wear a uniform? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

Zulu 22
3 hours ago, AnotherCameraman said:

Ultimately, this encourages people like me to go "no comment" early in a discussion because that's what we've found causes us the least amount of grief. You are encouraging people to do exactly what you claim you don't want them to do, not because we want to be in any way hostile, but simply because we've found that ends the encounter sooner - on average.

With a comment like that I can understand why you might encounter problems. Usually the only people using "No Comment" are those that have something to hide.

It is obvious also that you have no idea what a Para Military is.  The Police are there to safeguard the Public and Society. Those same Police officers, as has been shown today, sometimes pay the ultimate price for safeguarding the public.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


Ether
1 hour ago, Zulu 22 said:

With a comment like that I can understand why you might encounter problems. Usually the only people using "No Comment" are those that have something to hide.

It is obvious also that you have no idea what a Para Military is.  The Police are there to safeguard the Public and Society. Those same Police officers, as has been shown today, sometimes pay the ultimate price for safeguarding the public.

If I was even arrested, no comment is definitely the way to go if you have any guilt whatsoever 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

About us

Police Community was originally founded in 2014 by two serving Police Officers.

In 2016 it was incorporated as a limited company called RAW Digital Media Limited and then purchased 3 other forums; Police Specials, UK Police Online and Police UK to form the largest policing discussion forum network in the UK. In 2019 the decision was taken to merge all four forums into this main form of www.police.community

Get in touch

Twitter

Facebook

    Meet The Team

  • Chief Bakes
    Chief Bakes Management
  • Chief Rat
    Chief Rat Management
  • Chief Cheetah
    Chief Cheetah Management
  • Fedster
    Fedster Admin Team
  • Sir Penguin
    Sir Penguin Admin Team
  • Hoofing
    Hoofing Global Moderators
  • XA84
    XA84 Global Moderators
  • David
    David Global Moderators
  • Cuddles
    Cuddles Global Moderators
  • Devil
    Devil Global Moderators
  • MindTheGap
    MindTheGap Global Moderators
  • blakey
    blakey Global Moderators
×
×
  • Create New...

WE ARE RECRUITING !!!

Check out our latest positions here at Police Community or by clicking on Jobs from the main menu, to play your part in shaping our fantastic community. This site is built on great people, why not be at the heart of what we do. Any questions just ask!