"Chief Constable Andy Trotter, chairman of ACPO's Media Advisory Group, has written to all Chief Constables after what he described as "a number of recent instances highlighted in the press where officers have detained photographers and deleted images from their cameras".
His letter, which is of significance for journalists working for local, regional and national papers as well as broadcasters, said officers should not prevent anyone taking photographs in public.
It said: "There are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place. Therefore members of the public and press should not be prevented from doing so.
"We need to cooperate with the media and amateur photographers. They play a vital role as their images help us identify criminals.
"We must acknowledge that citizen journalism is a feature of modern life and police officers are now photographed and filmed more than ever."