Producers Handbook

Programmes Involving Criminal Activity

Filming with Criminals

Gordon Behind Bars

See 'Crime'.

Programme-makers should proceed with caution when filming with criminals or when filming criminal activity generally, and should seek legal advice before filming takes place if possible.

People may be willing to be filmed talking about crimes they have committed. Whilst this in itself is unproblematic and programme-makers will not have committed any offence by simply receiving the information (though see 'Terrorism'), there are a number of matters to consider.

The person admitting the criminal behaviour could be prosecuted after transmission and the film, including rushes, could be obtained by the police by a court order and used as evidence (see 'Police Search Powers & Journalistic Material'). Programme-makers should ask themselves why the person is willing to talk on camera about their criminal activity. Do they understand the potential consequences? Are they simply boasting/do they have any reason to lie? See 'Viewer Trust Guidelines'. Even if what the self-confessed criminal is saying is true, are they likely to deny it later anyway? Programme-makers should consider what possible effect this could have on the programme and generally.

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