“Who’s a Journalist, Who isn’t?”

Commander Broadhurst addresses the NUJ Photographers Conference
Commander Broadhurst addresses the NUJ Photographers Conference

On Monday Commander Broadhurst, head of public order at the Metropolitan Police spoke at the NUJ Photographers Conference and with all the events over the past few years he received a rather frosty response from those there.

The Commander was heckled off the platform as he began to question the legitimacy of those carrying press cards. He asked in his speech, probably rhetorically but received some very pointed answers:

I don’t know what vetting system there is for holding an NUJ card. Can anybody who has a camera apply for an NUJ card? […] How do we manage who’s doing what? legitimately or otherwise.

– Commander Broadhurst, Metropolitan Police

He went on to question the motives of journalists working in public order situations and it quickly descended into a shouting match between the conference and the Commander. Probably sensing he had dug himself deep enough into a hole he left the platform and went into answering questions.

It’s well worth listening to both the Commanders speech and the discussion afterwards as it probably explains a lot towards the treatment of press photographers by police over the last few years. If the man in charge of public order policing doesn’t know how the UK Press Card works it’s little surprise so few police respect it.

The Commanders Speech.

Discussion with Commander Broadhurst.