A REPORTER working for LBC has said “it’s not the job of journalists to do the police’s job for them” after she was arrested while covering Just Stop Oil protests on Tuesday.

Charlotte Lynch, who has been a reporter for five years, was at junction 21 of the M25 in Hertfordshire yesterday with her press pass – an official form of identification carried by all reporters.

Environmental protesters continued to disrupt the busy road on Tuesday in spite of the major Met Police operation to foil their plans.

Lynch told LBC: “I’d been there for around 45 minutes before two male officers approached me and questioned what I was doing as I was taking pictures and videos of the protester.

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“I was on a road bridge over the motorway […] well clear of the demonstration.

“I immediately showed these officers my press card and explained I worked for LBC […] and I explained I was there reporting on the protest.”

Lynch said she was asked how she got there and how she knew about the protest which she explained Just Stop Oil had posted about on social media.

However, two minutes later she said, “handcuffs were banged on my hands” and her phone was “immediately snatched away.

The reporter was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance, searched and taken in a custody van to Stevenage police station.

She continued: “My rights were read to me so at that point I kept my mouth shut”.

Lynch said she knew she had not committed an offence but that it was still a frightening experience.

She added: “We do have a free and fair press in this country. It’s not the job of journalists to do the police’s job for them.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan hit out at the police’s action and told LBC: “Journalists shouldn’t get arrested for doing their job.”

She added: “We are defenders of free speech.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Police said: "As always, our priority remains to ensure public safety – we have a responsibility for the health and safety of all those involved and everyone at the scene, including emergency services, members of the public, members of the press and the protestors themselves.

"These operations are very fluid and fast moving, with the potential to cause widespread and sustained disruption, that not only affects Hertfordshire’s stretch of the M25 but also the wider road networks.

"Our officers 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.

"Three people were arrested in connection with protest activity on the M25 in Hertfordshire today (Tuesday 8 November). Of these three, two remain in police custody. The third person was released with no further action.

"Though as a matter of course we do not comment on the circumstances surrounding individual arrests, the arresting officer would have had reasonable grounds at the time to make an arrest in order to ascertain the circumstances surrounding their presence at the location.

"As is standard practice with large scale operations such as these, all elements including tactics and grounds for arrest remain constantly under review and development."