An amateur photographer has won an apology from police after he was falsely accused of drunken behaviour while taking pictures at a shopping centre last year.
Chris White was stopped by private security guards while taking pictures of his daughter eating an ice-cream at Braehead shopping centre near Glasgow on 7 October 2011.
Police were called to the centre which, at the time, imposed an outright ban on photography.
Global publicity surrounding the incident – which included a huge Facebook campaign supporting the photographer – forced the shopping centre into a U-turn, allowing pictures for non-commercial purposes of families and friends.
However, shortly after the drama White said he received a letter from police claiming officers were told he had been seen talking to himself, was under the influence of alcohol and had taken a photo of a shop assistant with the zip of his trousers undone.
White – who was not arrested and faced no criminal charges – vehemently denied the allegations and considered legal action against Strathclyde Police for alleged defamation of character.
At the time, White told Amateur Photographer (AP) that he had not drunk any alcohol since Burn’s Night 2000.
The force today said it found no evidence the photographer was under the influence of alcohol.
A spokesperson for Strathclyde Police told AP: ‘We can confirm that we have written to Mr White in connection with a specific allegation made by a member of the public who perceived that he was under the influence of alcohol.
‘Police enquiries reveal that there was no evidence to support that allegation and we have apologised to Mr White in that regard.’
Welcoming the apology as a ‘slight result’, White told AP: ‘We took the decision not to pursue things any further as, from our point of view, the original story was [about] publishing the issue of taking photos in public.’
Speaking earlier this year, White said he feared that the possibility of losing any lawsuit could lead to huge legal costs, so he decided against launching a civil action against the force.
Last year, Strathclyde Police published a statement about the photographer’s alleged behaviour on its website.
In the statement – which has since been removed – police denied the incident had anything to do with photography, claiming that security staff had been alerted to a ‘very specific concern’ raised by members of the public.
However, the online police statement failed to provide further details.
Strathclyde Police denied White’s claim that he had been quizzed under anti-terrorism laws.