We encourage our freelance journalism course students to cover live incidents, like accidents and disasters.

And our freelance journalism course course students find that it helps if they carry some kind of professional ID. There are various types, depending on your status.

The best is the official UK Press Card. But you have to be a full member of a recognised professional organisation to apply for one – ie, the NUJ, CIOJ or BAJ.

You have to meet the organisation’s membership criteria, either as a freelancer, or a staff journalist depending on your situation.

If you don’t qualify for UK Press Card, then you could apply to the NUJ, CIOJ or BAJ for a student card. This does not carry the same authority with the emergency services as the full card, but can help.

An ordinary business card may help, but doesn’t really distinguish you the hordes of citizen journalists and bloggers out there.

Ultimately, the level of cooperation you get depends on the police officer(s) at the scene. Some are unhelpful, whichever card you carry. Some are helpful, even if you only have a student card.

See our freelance journalism course