A Leading Britain’s Conversation (LBC) journalist was arrested near Abbots Langley on November 9 after reporting on widespread environmental protests.
On four consecutive mornings from November 7 to 10, whilst world leaders convened at 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, multiple Just Stop Oil (JSO) supporters demanded the government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents.
Dozens of JSO activists scaled M25 gantries, causing widespread disruption for residents of Abbots and the surrounding areas.
LBC’s Charlotte Lynch was covering the protest on a bridge near junction 20 when she was suddenly approached by Herts police.
She tweeted: “I showed my press card, and I was handcuffed almost immediately. My phone was snatched out of my hand. I was searched twice, held in a cell for five hours, and I wasn’t questioned whilst in custody.
“It was absolutely terrifying being in a cell with a pad for a bed in one corner and a metal toilet in the other. I was just doing my job. What’s also terrifying is what this means for press freedom. It was blindingly obvious I was a reporter.”
Charlotte was later released, with the police admitting the arrest was not necessary.
A Herts Police statement said: “Our officers are facing very challenging circumstances and have been instructed to act as quickly as they can, using their professional judgement, to clear any possible protestors in order to get roads up and running and to prevent anyone from coming to harm.
“However, Chief Constable Charlie Hall recognises the concerns over the recent arrests of journalists who arrived at these locations and have been present with the protestors at the scenes.
“In addition, Mr Hall is today requesting an independent force to examine our approach to these arrests and to identify any learning we should take in managing these challenging situations.”