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Journalist's night in the cells captured on video by colleagues

A “drunken” journalist shouting at police in the middle of a city centre is always likely to make headlines.

But when West Briton community editor Jeff Reines was dramatically arrested for causing a disturbance, it was part of a well-organised plan.

It was all to give an insight into the first leg of the justice system and the resulting footage is now online.

It all started months earlier when Cornwall and Devon Media’s digital editor, Gareth Bartlett, completed a Press Association course in video journalism.

The training inspired him to come up with ideas to kick-start the paper’s video content.

Jeff volunteered for the task of spending a night in prison and soon, in co-operation with the local police, formulated a plan to bring it to life. Jeff was given a code-word so he could call-off the exercise at any time.

Police will also be using the footage to train their own officers – and was told to not make it too easy for them.

He made his way to the city’s plaza where he bought a four-pack of beer and sat down on a bench.

Then he began wandering around and made gestures for the benefit of Gareths camera which were following him to document the action for both in-print and online.

Soon after, the police warned Jeff about drinking in public because “a complaint” had been made about his behaviour.

As he ignored their requests, it wasn’t long before the drama escalated and Jeff found himself taken to the ground and handcuffed.

With neither side breaking the role, Jeff was carted off to the nearest custody centre in the back of the van before being “charged” and detained.

Just before the cell door was shut for the night, Gareth slipped the camera in to his colleague so he could capture his thoughts over the next 12 hours.

The result is an honest, uncomfortable and even surprising look from the inside of a cell – something Jeff is not keen to repeat any time soon.


Darren (03/04/2008 14:32:39)
Interesting video, but I didn’t notice him getting his DNA taken as seems to routinely happen in arrests nowadays. That would have been quite humiliating.
Did the police not want that bit revealing on the video?