News was announced recently that the NUJ and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have reached an understanding over the recent stalemate concerning NUJ Issued Press Cards. The MPS who have been acting as lead force in the negotiations have acceded to the NUJ request that the NUJ Card be regarded as the “de facto” standard Press Card.
Whilst this is good news to all the NUJ Press Card holders, it is unfortunate for those who have Press Cards issued by other gatekeepers. Essentially it re-introduces the Two-tier system that we had a while back when we had the Met Police Press Card. Chief Inspector Chris P. Bacon of the New Scotland Yard said
This is a good decision for both the Metropolitan Police Service and the 43 other UK police forces, it will make it easier to identify the “bone fido” news gatherers and work with them, rather than having to cater for all the interlopers and naer do wells that we currently have to put up with. We also feel that the ability of the MPS to be able to remove someone’s press card will stop some of the Press from writing rude things about us, which has to be good for the morale of the Police Force, it also means that Chief Constables who are bedding their secretary will be less likely to be exposed for abusing their position or their staff, blah, blah, blah for about ten more minutes before he said anything interesting……. OK who wants a beer? The Met are paying!!
The Upside is that NUJ Card Holders will be the only ones permitted inside the gates at Downing Street and to any Police Organised Press Conferences. NUJ Press pens will also be set up at any major incidents and will generally be within the outer cordon, there will also be exemptions for ENG (TV crews) who even if not members of the NUJ will be permitted access to the inner circle. Non-cardholders or holders of cards issued by other gatekeepers will be kept outside of the outer cordon. The other downside is that newspapers are unlikely to give shifts to non-NUJ press cardholders, as they will not be able to gain access. Welcome back the closed shop, hurrah, I don’t care I am an NUJ Press Card Holder so bollox to the rest of you