Police Persecution at Aintree

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Readers of papers and journals rely for good pictures on hard-working photographers, who, at motor races, are often doing a somewhat dangerous job of work. And it is work, for they are expected by their Editors to bring back good photographs. Consequently, the public as well as its Press is angered when unnecessary obstructions are put in the path of professional camera-men.

At Aintree, on the occasion of the British G. P., a number of photographers, including one of Motor Sport’s staff, were prevented by two Police Inspectors from moving round the circuit. Not only this, but they were, we understand, treated in an aggressive and ill-mannered fashion. Fortunately this is unusual amongst the Police Forces of this country — let it be kept this way! These luckless camera-men, including representatives of foreign papers, were actually, we gather, threatened with arrest and were certainly detained during the opening stages of the race, when incidents might well have happened requiring photographic coverage.

Our representative appealed to Lord Howe, the R.A.C. Steward, and His Lordship confirmed that the Clerk of the Course, Mr. H. J. Morgan, had authority over the police in the matter of free movement of Press photographers. The Police Inspectors refused to accept this. It costs money as well as time to send reporters and photographers to Aintree from the sunny South and for their guidance the B.A.R.C. had issued printed instructions and official arm-bands to the Press. Why Police Inspectors should interfere with these arrangements is beyond us. If Mrs. Mirabelle Topham doesn’t want Press support for racing at Aintree she has only to say so — the police at Aintree, who have their own office, seem to accept Mirabelle’s rulings as gospel, whereas, let it be made very plain, the Clerk of the Course has jurisdiction over the conduct of motor racing at Aintree or anywhere else. We have the names of the two Inspectors who so rudely and incorrectly interfered with the freedom of the photographers. We hope that the Chief Constable of Lancashire will write to us about this serious and unhappy matter. He may also care to apologise for the incident. If he does so we assure him that space will be found for publication of his letter.