A dispute between police and the National Union of Journalists over officers confiscating a video filmed by a student journalist could be taken to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Lewis Stainer was filming in November when he caught footage of an arrest on camera during the Occupy Nottingham protest.
He claimed the police used excessive force and should not have taken his video tape, leading the Nottingham branch of the National Union of Journalists to intervene on his behalf.
The tape was eventually handed back two weeks’ later and an investigation was also carried out by the Nottinghamshire Police Professional Standards unit.
Detective Sergeant Neil Hallam carried out the police investigation which concluded: “There is significant corporate learning to come out of this incident. A review is underway, under the lead of Head of Corporate Communications.”
However, not satisfied with the outcome and the lack of a police apology, the union referred the case to its legal team with a recommendation that a complaint is made to the IPCC.
The police confiscated the tape claiming it was ‘evidential’ under section 19 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Lewis, a TV and film student at New College, says he is ‘unhappy’ about the lack of a forthcoming apology from the force.
The police report into Lewis’s case says it cannot be proven that PC Adam Francis used excessive force in seizing the material from him and there was no need for the officer to make an apology in person to him.
It says that PC Francis was also justified in editing the ‘evidential’ footage before handing a copy back to Lewis.
The investigation made two recommendations for Nottinghamshire police: to consider the legal problems if evidential footage was made public, and to review guidelines regarding press photographers.
Diana Peasey, the chair of the Nottingham NUJ branch said: “Legislation recognises that journalists have ‘rights’ under Special Procedures and the tape should never have been confiscated in the first place.”
Nottingham Police had not commented at the time of publication.