Having obtained court orders, Metropolitan Police has received untransmitted footage from last month’s riots in London from the BBC, ITN and Sky News.
The production orders were made under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, with the Met stating that it was "identifying people through pictures, CCTV and through the media to ensure that people are brought to justice".
The Daily Telegraph is said to have disclosed material to the police after being served with a production order.
The BBC said material was only supplied when a court requested it.
A spokeswoman said: "Police requests for BBC untransmitted material are dealt through our legal department, regardless of the subject matter.
"We require requests for untransmitted material to be made through the courts. A production order requiring footage of the riots was served on the BBC and a court agreed that the material should be supplied."ITN and Sky News have both said their policy was also not to issue unbroadcast material to police without a court order.