Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Police v Press. Well I Never ....

Today was a good day. It started out as any other filming job, at Portslade near Brighton, where the Police were searching and digging up some poor persons garden looking for evidence of possible bodies having been buried there.

Then something quite unexpected happened, the Police invited us into the dig site to film them going about their work. That's right, you did just read that correctly. I should point out that it was not a crime scene as such, more a speculative dig to see if more investigation was required. However the press officers from West Sussex Police engaged with the press, listened to what we wanted and the results for us were great pictures and information to tell our viewers what was happening.

The scene .....

It was a bit of a shocker I can tell you, but a bit of common sense and a desire to engage with the press, resulted in an important, sensitive story being told accurately and with the minimum off fuss from both press and Police.

No speculation, no searching for pictures or getting in peoples way. The information was swift, and interviews were arranged with a senior officer who was also in attendance throughout the day. I know that it can't be this way all of the time, time and resources just sometimes don't allow it, but today was a day that common sense and good press relations came together, everyone did their jobs, and an accurate story was told.

The press officer ....

So for once, I doff my cap to the Police and the West Sussex press team, who made the day just that much more pleasant in the face of what could turn out to be a very unpleasant story.

Paul Martin.

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