The Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner appeared to blame journalists for not covering Just Stop Oil protests “appropriately” after the force was heavily criticised for arresting members of the press.

David Lloyd admitted officers may have “got it wrong” after LBC’s Charlotte Lynch was detained as she tried to report on the demonstrations causing widespread disruption on the M25 in Hertfordshire.

But he insisted journalists should be “thinking about” whether it was right to give the protests the “oxygen of publicity”.

Read more: Heavy traffic in fourth day of M25 protests - live updates

Watford Observer: A Just Stop Oil protesters on an M25 gantryA Just Stop Oil protesters on an M25 gantry (Image: Just Stop Oil)

Hertfordshire Costabulary sparked outrage after Ms Lynch described being handcuffed and left in a cell on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance despite having shown officers media accreditation.

Documentary maker Rich Felgate and photographer Tom Bowles were also arrested a day earlier for trying to capture footage of the activists in Kings Langley.

The pair had their equipment seized and were taken to a police station, despite efforts to show their press cards and explain they were there in a journalistic capacity.

Read more: Images show protester placed a lock around his neck on M25 gantry

Mr Lloyd told LBC's Nick Ferrari this morning (November 10): “I think we’ve just got to ask ourselves as a society if we are handling the Just Stop Oil appropriately by giving them the oxygen of publicity."

Mr Ferrari replied: “I put it to you that you are far better versed in police affairs than I am, but perhaps in the news business I might just have the edge. This is news – if you close vast tracks of a 116-mile orbital road because of one particular protest… that’s what we in the business call news.”

The commissioner apologised for the arrest of Ms Lynch but doubled down on his criticism of the way events along the motorway had been covered in the media.

He drew a comparison with how he imagined the press would report on a person trying to take their own life on a ring road, which he did not think would be covered “in the same way”.

He said: “The question I’m pushing back to you is that fine line between reporting the news and making the news and whether or not that is crossed on occasion by reporting it in such a sensational way.

“I recognise it’s news, I recognise it’s interesting. But it would similarly be news if a vast portion of an orbital motorway were closed because someone was trying to commit suicide.

“We wouldn’t be – you wouldn’t be reporting that in the same way, and I just think you need to think about it. I’m not saying anyone should have any control over it, I’m very much up for a free press, but I just think that voluntarily you should be thinking about how do we report that.”

Hertfordshire Police, in a statement released on Wednesday evening, acknowledged that while the actions of its officers at the scene were “understandable”, Ms Lynch’s arrest “would not have been necessary”.

It added that extra measures are now in place to ensure that legitimate media can do their job, with officers instructed to ensure they conduct “full and thorough checks”.

The force said: “In addition, Mr (Chief Constable Charlie) Hall is requesting an independent force to examine our approach to these arrests and to identify any learning we should take in managing these challenging situations.”

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