Guidelines concerning police treatment of photojournalists covering news events are to be extended nationwide, AP can reveal.rnrn(Picture for illustration purposes only)

Guidelines concerning police treatment of photojournalists covering news events are to be extended nationwide, AP can reveal.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has confirmed to AP that it is planning to extend the guidelines to all police forces.

?We are working toward this,? said ACPO spokeswoman Lisa Vasco who told us that details will be made available in a few weeks.

ACPO co-ordinates police policy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Currently, the guidelines are used only by the Metropolitan Police in London.

The latest move comes a year after press photographers claimed a victory by forcing the Met to adopt the guidelines – following what photojournalists described as ?worsening relations? between the police and the press, particularly after the terrorist attacks on London on 7 July 2005 (see AP 25 March 2006).

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIOJ), the British Press Photographers Association and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) led the campaign.

Spearheading the move for the guidelines to be extended was John Toner, freelance organiser for the NUJ.

Speaking yesterday he told AP: ?Shortly after The Met agreed its media guidelines last year, I contacted ACPO to ask if they would consider something similar.

?It took until January 2007 to arrange a meeting, but I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the decision was taken after that.’

Toner added: ?We believe this will be a major step forward for journalists across England and Wales, and we look forward to ACPO’s official launch of the guidelines.?

A crucial part of the guidelines, drawn up for the Met last year, states: ?Members of the media have a duty to take photographs and film incidents and we have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what they record.?

It adds: ?It is a matter for their editors to control what is published or broadcast, not the police.

?Once images are recorded, we have no power to delete or confiscate them without a court order, even if we think they contain damaging or useful evidence.?

Though the Met has adopted the guidelines, photographers claim they are not always followed by officers in practice.

Police and press are reported to have clashed at Heathrow Airport, following security alerts there last summer, for example.

The original police guidelines – published last year on the website of the Editorial Photographers UK – can be viewed here Policeguidelines

The guidelines also include advice for photographers when dealing with police.

? Police in Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire are understood to operate under their own guidelines, according to the NUJ.

(Picture for illustration purposes only)