Police have declined to release a recording of a complaint made about the behaviour of two photographers, despite claims that an off-duty officer triggered the phone call.
Amateur Photographer (AP) asked Surrey Police to make a recording of the phone call available to help clarify the chain of events that led to uniformed officers attending the scene on Guildford High Street on 27 June.
However, the force has told AP that it is unable to release a recording of the conversation, for data protection reasons.
Photographer Don Morley said that uniformed officers told him and his friend, Bernard Lockley, they had been alerted to the incident by two off-duty policemen.
Officers quizzed the pair over fears, later shown to be misplaced, that they had captured indecent photographs of a child.
Morley, 76, said uniformed police told them they had ‘been reported by their off-duty colleagues as being under suspicion of taking indecent images’.
Lockley, 79, accuses the off-duty officers of behaving like ‘agent provocateurs’, sparking the call by first approaching the child’s family.
But police maintain that a call was made, independently, by a woman expressing concern about two men photographing her grandson.
One of the off-duty officers is understood to have asked Morley to delete an image of the boy, even though it broke no law.
Officers who reviewed the digital images concluded that the photographers – left shocked by the experience – were innocent of any wrongdoing.
By chance, the drama was witnessed by a passing lawyer.
Morley asserts that, from inspecting the EXIF data embedded in the
file of the controversial image, he captured it at 12.39pm – 11 minutes
before the time police gave for the complaint being made.
Asked if it was possible to release a recording of the initial complaint, a Surrey Police spokesperson told AP: ‘We are unable to release calls made to our control room for data protection reasons.
‘I have spoken to the other off-duty officer who was involved in the incident and our statement remains unchanged.’