BBC asks Met Police for support in addressing growing concerns about attacks against its top journalists after the death of MP David Amess

  • BBC contacts Met Police over fears of an attack similar to Sir David Amess’s death
  • A Goverment Survey reveals that four out of five UK journalists have experienced violence and abuse.
  • It was found that one in three women journalists doesn’t feel secure working in Britain.
  • Nick Watt, Newsnight’s political editor was harassed at an anti-lockdown rally in June 

The BBC has been faced with death threats from top journalists and is now requesting guidance from the Metropolitan Police. 

According to reports, the organization wrote to Commissioner of Met Police Dame Cressida Dick in response to fears that an attack would be similar to one on Sir David Amess.   

BBC Chiefs took the threat seriously and contacted a Met journalism safety advisor to assist journalists in taking precautions in every aspect of their work.

This is just the latest in a series of incidents that have raised concerns about journalists’ safety. The Times reported that journalists have been subject to a lot of abuse over the past months.

Nick Watt is the Newsnight political editor. He was attacked by anti-lockdown activists at a rally and shouted that they were’scums’ and ‘traitors’. 

BBC political editor Nick Watt was forced to seek refuge from anti-lockdown campaigners during a rally in June

Nick Watt, BBC political editor was forced to flee from anti-lockdown campaigners at a June rally

Watt had to withdraw to Downing Street Security Gate, where he was protected by police.

Joseph Olswang (38), Alexander Peat (34) and Martin Hockridge (57) all deny violating the public law regarding this incident.

Following multiple adjournments Mr Hockridge was to be tried at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on yesterday. The hearing was rescheduled for March 23, next year, after Hockridge failed to appear.

Between June and July, the government held a consultation asking journalists for evidence regarding safety threats.

Out of the 360 responses, over 4/5 had reported having experienced violence, abuse, or threats while in the UK. 

One third were physical violence acts, with the rest consisting of verbal abuse or threats online. 

The death of Sir David Amess outside his constituency surgery in Southend-on-Sea on October 15 has heightened security fears for high-profile public figures, including journalists working at the BBC

Security concerns for journalists at the BBC have been raised by Sir David Amess’s death in Southend-on-Sea, outside of his constituency surgery on October 15.

According to the Government’s Call for Evidence, the majority of respondents didn’t report every incident to platforms, police, or employers due to a lack of confidence that they would be taken seriously.

The main theme was “The difficulties faced by journalists during demonstrations.” 

One reported, “Filming in crowds or demonstrations is becoming more and more difficult. It’s also less secure. Increasing numbers of activists and protestors are targeting media crews and filmmakers, threatening violence and intimidation.

 ‘A larger proportion of female than male respondents – over one in three – indicated that they do not feel safe when operating as a journalist in the UK.  

“A similar percentage of male respondents and females experienced violence, threats or abuse as a consequence of working in the UK,” said Suman. Female respondents had more reports of bullying and violence than male respondents. 

The BBC says 'the safety and security of our journalists around the world and in the UK is paramount'

According to the BBC, “The safety and security for our journalists in the UK and around the globe is of paramount importance.”

Security concerns for journalists at the BBC have been raised by Sir David Amess’s death in Southend-on-Sea, outside of his constituency surgery on October 15. 

Ali Harbi Ali 25, who was accused of stabbing Sir David to death in a brutal attack, pleaded guilty to not murder at a hearing earlier this month. 

BBC spokesmen stated that the safety and securityof our journalists worldwide and here in the UK was paramount. They are constantly seeking ways to improve their protection. 

“It’s totally unacceptable that journalists ever should be threatened or targeted because they do their jobs.”

Met Police stated that if a person has concerns about their safety or well-being, they can contact the police to have them assessed and provide security or crime prevention advice.