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TV & Radio

Channel 4 takes down video report on police relations with Brixton residents over links to marketing company

Of five interviewees, only one did not have connections with marketing company Livity

Channel 4 has removed a video report on community tensions with police in Brixton from its website after it emerged that four of the people interviewed were employees of a marketing company Livity.

The report featured five interviews with members of the local community in south London, all of whom were critical of relations between the public and the Metropolitan Police – but only one of four interviewees was credited with having a connection with Livity.

It was shown last week in the wake of revelations of alleged corruption over the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

The reporter, Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, a former professional wheelchair basketball player who used to edit a youth magazine run from the Livity office, defended his work on Twitter, arguing that all the views were representative of local opinion and the people he spoke to lived or worked in the area.

Livity is linked to Channel 4, having promoted its gang culture drama Top Boy. The company also worked with the broadcaster on The Stake, a project which aimed to inspire entrepreneurship in young people.

The broadcaster admitted it failed to make adequate inquiries into the two-minute film.

The report was filmed at a Brixton Unite day organised by the police and Lambeth council which attracted a number of protesters.

It coincided with the announcement by Home Secretary Theresa May of a judge-led inquiry into undercover policing following revelations that Scotland Yard had spied on groups supporting Stephen Lawrence’s family’s quest for justice.

One of the Livity employees, producer Matthew Peltier, described how he had been stopped and searched by police over 15 years.

Youth development manager Naomi Brown said young people felt “negative” towards officers whilst two others – Beulah Lambert and Henry Houdini - spoke of a “disconnect” and lack of trust felt by people.

Mr Jarrett-Bryan concluded: “I found little hope of change here but a community still fighting for parity.”

The fifth interviewee was Lee Jasper, former chief race advisor to London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Livity has been praised by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in his book Britain’s Everyday Heroes.

In a statement a Channel 4 News spokesman said the film had been a “quick turnaround project”. The claim made directly beforehand was that the reporter had spent the day in Brixton.

“We accept we should have been clear that they were from one place of work but we were not aware that was the case with all of them. We should have made further inquiries and we regret this oversight. The video has now been removed from the Channel 4 News website,” the spokesman said.

Last year Channel 4 apologised after a report by Mr Jarrett–Bryan about Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli wrongly attributed spoof Twitter quotes to him.

In July Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham gave evidence to MPs in which he cited the reporter as evidence of the broadcaster’s commitment to disability broadcasting.