Police seize films from amateur photographer
Police have seized films from an amateur photographer, accusing him of obtaining photographs of possibly sensitive material in Hull city centre.
Photo enthusiast Steve Carroll has lodged an official complaint against Humberside Police after the incident on 1 December.
Carroll said that the officers objected to him photographing ‘sensitive buildings’, one later adding that people had been anxious about his use of the camera.
Carroll told the officers he was entitled to take pictures in a public place.
‘All the shots were of people. I took shots of people crossing the road, the Big Issue seller, two youths drinking from beer cans, people walking in the street and so on,’ said Carroll who told us he was making his first attempt at ‘street photography’.
He admits a few of his shots were taken candidly, adding: ‘I did not take any photographs of children. I took most of the photographs openly, not trying to disguise the fact that I was photographing.’
Humberside Police seized two films containing the shots Carroll had taken. At the time of writing they had yet to return the films to the photographer.
A spokeswoman for the force told Amateur Photographer: ‘Camera film was seized by Humberside Police following a complaint from members of the public about photos being taken in the area of Prospect Centre, Hull.
‘An investigation is now underway and we are aware of complaints made by the man [Steve Carroll] which will be thoroughly investigated.’
The spokeswoman refused to comment further in light of the ongoing investigation.
The Stop/Search record form issued by the police states the reason for the stop as ‘obtaining photos of poss [sic] sensitive material’, according to a copy of the form supplied to us by the photographer.
Police did not carry out a search.
Carroll who lives in Sittingbourne, Kent had been visiting relatives in Hull at the time of the incident.
‘A little while previously I had seen an inspiring selection of ‘street photography’ presented at Maidstone Camera Club where I have been a member for nearly 30 years,’ he said.
‘I decided to have a go at street photography myself and in late November purchased a Voigtländer [Bessa] R4A with 21mm lens specifically for the purpose. This is a small and fairly unobtrusive camera.’
Carroll told us it was the first time he had used the Voigtländer and had taken around 45 shots before he decided to take a break for lunch.
‘At about 1.45pm, just after entering Boots store I was stopped by two police officers… They asked me to follow them back out to Prospect Street as they wanted to question me about ‘the way I had been using my camera’.
Below: A copy of the form police gave to Steve Carroll, stating the reason for the stop