AddThis SmartLayers

Police chief tells reporters to cover protests like suicide attempts

David LloydA police chief has suggested protests should be covered in the same way as suicide attempts after the force he oversees came under fire for arresting three journalists.

Hertfordshire police and crime commissioner David Lloyd made the suggestion after apologising for Hertfordshire Police’s arrest of LBC reporter Charlotte Lynch, documentary maker Rich Felgate and photographer Tom Bowles.

Charlotte, Rich and Tom were all covering a Just Stop Oil demonstration on the M25 at the time of their arrests, and were held for between five and 13 hours before being released.

In an interview with LBC this morning, Conservative PCC Mr Lloyd said sorry for the force’s actions but went on to assert that journalists should “work out” how the publicity sought by Just Stop Oil could be “moderated”.

He further urged editors to think about where the protests “sit on the front pages of newspapers”.

Mr Lloyd told presenter Nick Ferrari: “When we have people who have mental health issues and are using those very same bridges and gantries because they wish to harm themselves, we don’t have as the lead story on any main media outlet that someone is standing there, trying to commit suicide.

“We find ways of telling people that the motorway is closed, but we don’t say ‘someone is trying to commit suicide’. I think that we handle that appropriately.

“I think we’ve just got to ask ourselves as a society if we are handling Just Stop Oil appropriately by giving them the oxygen of publicity.”

Charlotte, who was a regional reporter for LBC owner Global for the North-East of England and Yorkshire before moving to a London-based role last year, has opened up further on her experience of being arrested.

She said: “Even as the arresting officer was walking me to the cell, the penny hadn’t dropped. It wasn’t until he stood by the door and gestured for me to go in, and I saw the inside of a cell for the first time, it became real.

“I immediately burst into tears. I could tell he felt sorry for me.

“I am just a journalist who was doing my job. I am 25 years old and I have been a reporter for five years, but it was only a year ago that I moved to London to take on my first national role with LBC.

“For the first time in my life, I felt alone. No one knew where I was or what had happened.”