Arrested photographer: Court case too expensive

December 15, 2009

An amateur photographer who was arrested while allegedly taking pictures of posters on a London street has decided not to pursue legal action on the grounds that it will be too expensive.

Last Thursday Karol Berezowski said officers handcuffed him before taking him by car to Hounslow Police Station where he was held for three hours.

The photographer had objected to a police search under anti-terrorism powers.

Berezowski claimed police forced him to the ground before bundling him into a police car at around midday on Hounslow High Street.

Immediately after he was released from police custody Berezowski told Amateur Photographer that he was determined to fight the case in court.

However, today he told us that he has agreed to pay the £80 fine he was given by police for a ‘Public Order offence’.

He believes that hiring a lawyer will prove too costly.

The incident is the latest in a long line of reported stops on photographers, which led to Amateur Photographer magazine’s nationwide campaign to defend photographers’ rights.

Among the first anti-terrorism stops reported to AP took place in 2005.

Police were accused of acting overzealously after they stopped and searched photography enthusiast Roy Jhuboo while he was out taking pictures in Limehouse, east London.

Police told him that he could have been on a reconnaissance mission to launch a ‘rocket’ on nearby Canary Wharf. Two police vans were called after Jhuboo was spotted taking pictures of a house during a walk from Tower Hill.

Since then AP has received growing reports of photographers being stopped in public places, leading to a campaign by the magazine to defend photographers’ rights.

In March 2009, AP staff raised photographers’ concerns in a meeting with the counter-terrorism minister.

Police organisations and the Home Office have since agreed that photographers should not be restricted to pursue their hobby or profession.

However, photographers – both amateur and professional – continue to complain at the attitude of police and private security guards on the ground.

Yesterday, Scotland Yard issued a warning to police officers after widespread media coverage over the police use of anti-terrorism legislation.

Picture credit: Karol Berezowski

AP Rights Watch


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