TV broadcasts of police raids are attacked by judge

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THE GROWING practice of the media being invited to attend police raids during crime investigations and immediately broadcasting what they have seen was strongly criticised in the High Court yesterday.

A judge called for new Home Office guidance to police forces on relations between police and the media as he gave judgment in the case of a London shop-owner who protested that he was "humiliated on television" during a search for illegally held stuffed animals.

Lord Justice Rose said that "save in exceptional circumstances" it did not seem to him to be in the public interest for procedures such as the execution of search warrants and interviews of suspects that might involve innocent people to be published in the media immediately.

He added: "For my part, I would deplore a general practice by any police force of inviting the media along to be present when investigative procedures are being undertaken."

Despite the criticism, Lord Justice Rose, sitting in London with Mr Justice Bell, dismissed an application for judicial review by Robert Sclare, who protested over his ordeal when his shop Get Stuffed, in Islington, north London, was raided in March.

Up to 30 police officers, accompanied by reporters, a television crew, officials from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and campaigners against the trade in wild animals, were involved in the raid.

The judges ruled that although the raid caused them disquiet, there was no illegality or impropriety.