Ex-Policing Minister, Lord Coaker, fights for law change after LBC reporter's ‘horrifying’ arrest

16 November 2022, 10:36

Nick Ferrari speaks to Lord Coaker after Charlotte Lynch's arrest

By Hannah Holland

Labour Peer and former Policing Minister Lord Coaker told Nick Ferrari that "journalistic freedom" should be "properly recognised by the police" as new Public Order Bill moves through parliament.

Lord Coaker’s plan to put an amendment into the Public Order Bill comes after LBC Reporter, Charlotte Lynch, was detained by police for seven hours whilst covering a Just Stop Oil demonstration on the M25.

Lord Coaker prefaced the discussion by saying that Charlotte’s arrest “horrified us all”.

He told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC that, as the Public Order Bill starts to be discussed in the House of Lords, it was “an opportunity” to put an amendment into the bill which “would seek to ensure that journalistic freedom was properly recognised by the police.”

He added that the amendment would ensure “there was clear guidance” for police officers dealing with “difficult situations”, ultimately ensuring that “journalistic freedom is not interfered with”.

Read more: 'Arrested for doing my job': LBC's Charlotte Lynch tells of being held in a cell while covering M25 protest

Read more: 'She shouldn't be arrested for doing her job': Minister blasts cops who nicked LBC reporter covering Just Stop Oil

The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, unveiled her plans for a crackdown on disruptive protests, promising that the Public Order Bill would stop demonstrators holding the public “to ransom”.

The bill will allow Secretaries of State to apply for injunctions in the public interest where protests are causing disruptions or an “adverse impact on public safety”.

Charlotte Lynch tells James O'Brien she 'just lost it' while being under arrest

Nick asked Lord Coaker: “Why do you, why do some of your parliamentary colleagues value the freedom of the media so closely?”

“Journalists are on the front line, we’ve seen that in many areas of the world", Lord Coaker responded.

He added: “They play an important role in ensuring that the public can see what’s going on for themselves, they can interrogate both those who, in this case were protesting, or indeed looking at what the police were doing and then we can discuss it.

“That’s part of a democracy - it’s accountability, it’s ensuring that people are held responsible for their actions.

“Not in a negative way but in a proper way which informs the democratic process and that’s certainly what Charlotte was doing, that’s what you do every day and your colleagues at LBC do and that’s an important part of our democracy.

“We’re fighting for democracy in different parts of the world and in this case it went wrong and we just think the guidance needs to be made clearer so that police officers on the front line can deal with that in a way which we would all think is appropriate while they do their duty.”

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