Photographer held by police under terrorism powers (update 2.40pm)
May 10, 2010
Page One: Man detained after photographing building in central London
Picture credit: Grant Smith
A professional photographer has threatened to take legal action after he was detained by police under anti-terrorism legislation this morning, AP has learned.
Architectural photographer Grant Smith said he was stopped while photographing a building in the City of London and physically restrained by officers who confiscated his camera and mobile phone.
?A police officer put a hand on my chest and stopped me moving,? said Smith who had been using a Canon Powershot G10 compact camera
The incident took place at 1 Aldermanbury Square, home to Standard Chartered Bank, at around 11am, leaving Smith feeling humiliated in front of workers from nearby offices.
The photographer told police he was entitled to take pictures in a public place.
Smith – who was wearing a ?bright red top? – said he had been taking photos for around 40 minutes when police swooped, having been alerted by security guards working at a property across the road.
?Police said they had got word from the guards that I had been acting suspiciously,? the photographer told us this lunchtime.
Smith said two officers took hold of both his arms and refused to allow him to photograph the drama.
They searched the Australian-born photographer and only released him once they had seen his driving licence.
An officer asked how long he had lived in the UK and accused him of a ?non-compliant and obstructive attitude?.
A third officer then arrived on the scene.
Police told him they were using their powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act.
Police searched the photographer and demanded to see his ID.
Officers later returned his camera and mobile phone. Though, Smith said the latter was only given back after he had called out to one of the officers who had placed the mobile in his pocket.
?I will be contacting the NUJ [National Union of Journalists] about this. If I can, I will take them [police] to court,? Smith added.
A spokesman for City of London Police told us: ‘A man was spoken to by officers earlier today (May 10th) after police were called by security personnel. He was later searched under terrorism powers.’
The Metropolitan Police recently changed its guidelines on photography, making it clear to officers they run the risk of breaking the law if they stop photographers taking pictures in a public place.
Last weekend, the photographer took part in a panel discussion on Photography, Security and Terrorism, as part of the National Photography Symposium in Derby.
Last December the photographer was stopped and searched while taking photographs for a project on churches, also in the City.
In a recent meeting with Amateur Photographer, the counter-terrorism minister attempted to reassure photographers that police do not target them using stop-and-search powers.
Picture credit: Grant Smith
Picture: A Canon PowerShot G10 compact, similar to the camera used by the photographer when he was stopped today
Page Two: MORE PICTURES
Picture credits: Grant Smith
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