Arrested Nick Clegg photographer speaks out (updated police statement)
September 27, 2011
A press photographer may lodge a formal complaint against police after he was arrested, handcuffed and held in a cell after waiting to photograph Nick Clegg and his wife.
Freelance photographer Alan Davidson, 62, said he was accused of assaulting a police officer outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham where delegates and some members of the press were staying for the Lib-Dem conference last week.
Davidson had been hoping to photograph Nick Clegg and wife Miriam on the day Clegg was due to deliver a key speech to delegates on 21 September.
But he was arrested, driven off in a ?caged? police vehicle and spent an hour in a cell courtesy of West Midlands Police after being fingerprinted and having a sample of DNA taken.
?It was a chance to get an early picture for the [London] Evening Standard,? said Davidson who has been a photographer for the past 40 years.
The incident appears to have centred on a row that broke out over a bag Davidson said a police officer had given him permission to leave, in an area used by the press opposite the hotel?s entrance.
In an interview with Amateur Photographer (AP) Davidson said another officer then told him he did not have permission to leave the bag there and was ordered to move it. ?I was then surrounded by three officers,? said Davidson.
?I was going back into the hotel and brushed one of the police officers with my arm? A police car arrived and I was arrested on the spot and taken away in handcuffs.?
The photographer, who had six bags with him after checking out of the hotel, said police had to store his luggage in a separate cell until he was released later that day.
?It was five hours from the arrest until I got back to the hotel. I had missed the picture,? he told us.
The photographer, who is currently covering the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, said he plans to talk to his lawyer and may issue a formal complaint against the force.
?This is the first time I?ve been arrested. It was a huge error. I was doing nothing wrong,? Davidson added.
The photographer said he was particularly grateful to the police officer who carried his six bags down from the cell and called him a taxi.
A spokesman for West Midlands Police confirmed that the photographer was arrested and released after spending four hours in police custody.
The spokesman added: ‘Due to the low-level nature of what had happened, the officer in question was happy for the matter to be dealt with by a community resolution.’
Davidson, whose camera gear includes a Leica M9 and Nikon D3S, said he was asked to personally apologise to the officer, promising that such a thing will not happen again.
Police did not take any further action.