A press photographer from a weekly newspaper was obstructed by police officers when trying to take pictures of a road traffic collision on Thursday.
Northants Telegraph photographer Tony Waugh was sent to cover the crash on the A5 near Rugby when he was asked by two officers not to take photos because of the ‘sensitive’ nature of the scene.
After an argument with the two officers and a Northamptonshire Police press officer, Tony eventually captured the crash scene on camera just before the recovery vehicle finished clearing the wreckage.
Northamptonshire Police told HTFP that officers did not want pictures to be published as one of the vehicle’s distinct design could reveal the crash victim’s identity to relatives before they had been properly informed.
Tony told officers that he appreciated the sensitive nature of the incident but time was running out for him to get any photographs of the crash.
“I needed to capture images before it was cleared, so I kindly let the officers know that they did not have the right to stop me from carrying out my job,” he told HTFP.
“The press office rang and I was advised by him to ‘listen to the officer at the scene’. I told him I would refuse to do so, as the officer had no right to prohibit me from carrying out my job. I then hung up.
“I spoke to the officers, again protesting my objections of being prevented from legitimately carrying out my job. I asked for their collar numbers and was informed of my incident number.
“I then asked if I were to take images, would I be arrested? I did not receive a reply. So I proceeded taking images without further delay, just as the recovery vehicle was leaving the scene.
“I cannot express enough the anger and frustration felt at being obstructed by these two officers. I found them to be ill-informed of protocol and completely obstructive.”
Tony says he also made an official complaint to Northamptonshire Police about the matter.
Northamptonshire Police said they also contacted the newspaper asking for the photographs not to be published. It is understood that the pictures which may have identified the victim were not used.