A freelance photographer has won an out-of-court settlement from the Metropolitan Police over pictures taken at a military parade last year.

A freelance photographer has won an out-of-court settlement from the Metropolitan Police over pictures taken at a military parade last year.

Police had initially told Jules Mattsson (pictured), then 15, that he needed parental permission to photograph police cadets in Romford, Essex.

He was eventually arrested for breach of the peace and detained for 15 minutes before being released.

Mattsson’s lawyers, Bindmans LLP, argued that officers had falsely imprisoned the photographer, assaulted him and breached his ‘right to report, under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1998’.

Mattsson repeatedly told officers that they had no right to stop him taking pictures in a public place.

He was told that his photography of cadets taking part in the Armed Forces Day in June 2010 was ?anti-social?.

Despite his protests, Mattsson claimed that police took his camera, frogmarched him away from the area and pushed him down some stairs after he refused to give an officer his personal details.

The reasons for stopping the photographer appeared to change by the minute, as revealed in Mattsson’s conversation with police which he recorded on his mobile phone and uploaded to YouTube afterwards, along with some pictures.

At one point an officer told the photographer that police did not need the power of the law to stop him taking pictures.

Mattsson – a student working as a photographer in his spare time – was told he was breaching the Terrorism Act, Public Order Act and child protection laws.

‘I was quickly and aggressively stopped by one of their [police cadet’s] adult officers asking me who I worked for ?’ the photographer wrote in his blog at the time.

‘I responded that I was a freelance and upon being told I needed parental permission to photograph them, I explained this was a public event in a public place and that I didn’t for editorial use.’

Mattsson was told that his photography presented a danger because, if he continued, he was ‘likely to be trampled on by soldiers’ from the parade.

Speaking today, Mattsson’s solicitor Chez Cotton said: ‘The police had no right to stop him photographing in a public place. The Inspector attempted to justify his actions in shocking and absurd ways.’

In a statement, the Met told Amateur Photographer today: ?We can confirm the MPS Directorate of Legal Services, on behalf of the Commissioner, agreed an out-of-court settlement, as well as paying compensation and meeting legal costs for a 16-year-old male, following an incident where he was prevented by officers taking pictures at the Armed Forces Parade in Romford on 26 June 2010.?

A Met spokesman added that the force has issued an apology.

The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed.



MattssonJules Mattsson outside Scotland Yard last year where photographers held protests over anti-terror legislation

(Pictures: C Cheesman)

  • Martin Bruntnell

    Why do these people in the policing and security services act the way they do,if you want to have a good look at a factory or sensitive building ( I don’t think it can be that sensitive if its there bang in your face)
    You only have to look at Google earth or any online mapping service to have a look around the site,I mentioned this to a security guard in the Bullring centre Birmingham but that just went over his head. I was not taking a photo of there property but had my feet on there ground !

  • Tom Waugh

    I’m just wondering why he has the Nikon name on his camera blacked out whilst displaying it twice in big lettering on his strap.

  • John Pheasant

    Terrific result! Whilst publications like AP do a great deal to spread the word about photographers’ rights (well done!), I think we need an ever wider publicity campaign (lead by AP?) to raise awareness of the technical aspects of the law. It’s a complex area (speaking as a lawyer but not one with expertise in this area) and developing basic guidance would be a great help to many.

  • Terence Davis

    Before I retired I had official dealings with police officers on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there is a sizeable minority of uniformed police officers who have limited brain power and even more limited common sense. The way in which this young man was bullied and threatened was disgraceful and for the police officer to invoke the terrorism allegation was absurd and frightening. The police officers concerned should be disciplined and the result of the disciplinary enquiries should be made public. Of course, this will happen, won’t it?

  • Trev Carter

    Truly “mindless goon” behavior on the part of the met police. Perhaps they should reconsider reinstating their higher pass mark in their entrance exams and protect the rest of us from these uniformed retards.

  • Graeme Finlayson

    The Police Service has really hit an all time low. Bullying and harassing a 15 year old with a camera taking photos in a public place.

    Hats off to young Mr Mattsson for the calm and professional way that he conducted himself during this incident. It’s in stark contrast with the disgraceful behaviour of the Met officers involved.

    Hopefully, the profile generated by this case will lead other forces to educate their officers about the laws they’re appointed to enforce.

  • David Murray

    I heard the recording Jules made of his encounter with rogue police officers on that day, it made me weep! Weep with anger that this decent young lad was being treated in such an appalling fashion. There is no doubt that very serious criminal offences were committed by police officers on that day, yet this has been swept under the carpet and no officers will be prosecuted. If this happened to me, I would bring criminal charges, myself, in the Magistrates Court.

  • Masterplan9

    Å´ell done Jules. Don’t ever give in to these guys. AP has covered many stories similar to yours and shown great support for the freelance photographer. I’ve even got one of their lens cleaning cloths that have your legal rights as a photographer printed on it. A very handy piece of accessory as I have found out myself.
    Once again great to victory to you and photographers alike .
    Uzi 9

  • Mark Nevitt

    I believe this a great example of the police’s attitude to Photographers,
    Good on you, If more photographers stand up for their right’s we may begin to step forward.