Amateur photographer ‘arrested’ for police officer pic

July 13, 2009

Amateur Photographer investigates claims that a photographer was arrested on Chatham High Street in Kent under anti-terrorism laws after taking a picture of a police officer.

Alex Turner has complained to the Professional Standards Department of Kent Police after he was arrested on 8 July.

Writing on his blog says he was initially stopped by two men who claimed to work for ‘Medway Council’, as he took pictures near ‘Snappy Snaps’.

The photographer said he declined to provide details of his identity when requested because the men did not identify themselves as police officers.

And, because he was using an Olympus OM1 film camera, he was unable to show them a preview of the pictures he had taken.

They then called on a nearby Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) and were later joined by another officer.

‘As I was arrested I was handcuffed. I asked why she had arrested me. She stated because I had taken a photograph of her and that she considered this to be an unlawful obstruction.

‘After a short time I was led up the high street and detained in a police van for around 20 minutes.’

Turner says that officers then spoke to him about the threat of terrorism and the ‘suspicious nature of people with cameras’.

The photographer says he was later ‘dearrested’ after police officers conducted a search and checked his identity through the driving licence he was carrying.

A spokesman for Kent Police confirmed this morning: ‘We can confirm that on Wednesday 8 July, at approximately 12.30pm, a man was arrested on Military Road, Chatham. After a short period of time the man was dearrested and no further action will be taken.’

Turner says the officer told him he was being arrested under ‘Section 44’ of the Terrorism Act.

However, police refused to confirm to AP which section of the Terrorism Act was used.

‘This is the only information [we are] supplying for media enquiries,’ the spokesman added.

But Turner says the incident has left him ‘upset, embarrassed and traumatised’.

‘I believe the way I was treated was unjustified and wholly disproportionate,’ Turner adds.

‘I assert that officer xxxx misused her powers of arrest and demonstrated a poor understanding of the law in relation to arrest, the use of force, the use of detention, photography in public places, obstruction and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2000.’


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Picture: Alex Turner, who has complained to Kent Police, says he was arrested after taking this picture of police officers, the faces of which he has chosen not to show in the images supplied to AP

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