BBC chiefs will up news crew security after public abuse leaves female staff fearing for safety

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BBC Scotland bosses have pledged to step up efforts to ensure its journalists are protected from abuse.

Action is being taken after a number of news crews reported being subjected to personal abuse from members of the public while on outside broadcasts.

BBC bosses say they will protect staff. Picture: AFP

BBC bosses say they will protect staff. Picture: AFP

It is understood news crews, including some female staff, suffered a level of abuse which left them fearing for their safety.

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On one occasion, a crew had to move location due to ongoing verbal abuse.

Security was provided to staff at the time, but the BBC has now indicated it is likely to increase assistance for outside broadcasts.

The action comes at a time when concern is mounting about the abuse journalists often face online.

Staff briefing

In addition to increasing security, the BBC has vowed to call-out future instances of abuse when they happen at events by reporting them to organisers.

Staff were told about the action during a briefing at BBC Scotland's headquarters in Glasgow.

Head of newsgathering Howard Simpson told BBC staff: "You do a fantastic job out in the field but we know there have been instances recently when some of you have had difficult situations to deal with as you go about your job in telling our audiences what's happening.

"As ever you deal with this really professionally - but be assured that if these incidents happen while covering organised events in future, we will call it out with organisers so that we reduce the chances of it happening again.

"Giving our audience as much information and as many facts as we can is crucial to what we do - no matter how uncomfortable that is for some vocal minorities who would rather hear only what they want to hear."