An amateur photographer who was stopped while taking photographs in public two years ago has been awarded an out-of-court settlement after suing police for wrongful arrest.

An amateur photographer who was stopped while taking photographs in public two years ago has been awarded an out-of-court settlement after suing police for wrongful arrest.

Robert Patefield, from Colne, took out a civil action against the Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary, claiming he was unlawfully arrested while taking photos of Christmas festivities in Accrington in December 2009.

Patefield was released without charge after reportedly being held in custody for eight hours.

The prospect of a police payout was first reported by Amateur Photographer (AP) in September 2011.

AP today understands that Lancashire Police has agreed to make a payment but the final amount has yet to be confirmed.

Writing on the AP website forum, the photographer said: ?Many thanks to all who supported me.?

Patefield and a fellow photographer were at first quizzed by officers citing anti-terrorism laws.

Police later claimed that some members of the public had raised concerns about Patefield’s photography and accused him of taking photographs that could be deemed ‘anti-social’ .

Patefield said he was arrested after refusing to give officers his personal details.

The case attracted global attention as Patefield recorded the entire incident on a video subsequently published by The Guardian online.

Speaking at the time, Patefield said: ‘I consider myself to be a very law-abiding man. I was taking photos of everyday street goings-on.

‘There was a Father Christmas, a piped-band and people in fancy dress.’

Patefield maintained that CCTV footage showed that his photography was not anti-social and that no-one had complained to police about his behaviour.

In 2010, a Lancashire Police spokeswoman told us that its officers do not routinely stop people taking photographs in a public place but ‘clearly felt that the manner in which he was positioning his [Leica] camera and the way it was making some members of the public feel, could be construed as anti-social or indecent’.

Lancashire Police today refused to confirm whether or not it has made a payment to the photographer, adding that, if it had, the force would not be able to comment until the cheque had been accepted and cleared.

  • steven

    i was arrested by armed police,who had me charged,i wasn’t told what i had been arrested for until i was in front of the desk sergeant,i was kept in cells for 4 1/3 hours and bailed to go to court,in court a police statement said i was threatening and aggressive,but failed to mention he was holding a semi auto rifle and had a 9mm pistol at his side,i told the court that he felt threatened by me when had all those weapons he was not fit to be a armed officer,the court was adjourned for 3 weeks and at the next hearing the police dropped all charges,i was not given any compensation or even an apology.

  • Ru_anderson

    Make sure its on video and preferably witnessed and you are polite sympathetic and otherwise helpful all the way through. It may help to advise the officer that you think this might be unlawful arrest and that you strongly suggest he check with a superior officer before proceeding – on that basis if it dose go to court they haven’t a leg to stand on.

    Just make sure your video and sound record don’t happen to get “lost”….

  • trev

    I am so pleased that another photographer has stood up to protect his rights – we need to realise that “together we are strong and divided we fall” is so true. (oops am I breaching copyright with this quotaion?)

  • Martin Topping

    It’s a good idea to video any confrontation with security or police over such issues. Alays remember to be as courteous and polite as possible so as to avoid public order charges or the like. But point out (repeatably) that you’ve done nothing wrong, remind them (repeatably) if they’ve done wrong, and try to have reliable witnesses to back up your claims. Remember: police and security WILL lie if they think they can get away with it.

  • Graham Austin

    If our police officers know so little about the law what is going wrong with the force?

  • David Murray

    You are not obliged to give your details unless arrested. Some officers arrest you to circumvent this. However, if you can stand a period in a cell, you will get a handsome payout. Will certainly pay for a decent holiday somewhere warm. Me? I’m looking forward to my arrest.