Photographer wins apology from police: Full statement
April 21, 2009
Police have released a statement apologising to an amateur photographer who was quizzed on grounds of national security after he took a picture of a police car.
Malcolm Sleath was questioned by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who told him photos of police vehicles and officers were banned amid ongoing terrorism fears.
The 62-year-old said he took the picture at a park in Enfield, North London because he was concerned that the car, being driven along a path, was damaging the grass.
Officers in the car were also reported to have threatened Malcolm with counter-terrorism legislation, according to an article in The Times last week.
In a statement about the incident, which occurred on 13 April, the Metropolitan Police today told Amateur Photographer: ‘The police vehicle was patrolling the park as part of regular duties. This was seen by a man who believed that this vehicle should not have been driving on that particular part of the park. He therefore photographed the police vehicle.
‘The PCSO felt it was improper for the member of the public to photograph his vehicle and challenged him regarding this, citing the Terrorism Act 2000 and the current threat levels.’
The Met statement added: ‘He was not searched but was asked to account for his actions. A senior police officer from Enfield Police has discussed this matter with the member of the public concerned and has apologised. Following a review of the incident the PCSO has received formal words of advice in line with our disciplinary procedures.’
Commenting on the police behaviour, Malcolm last week told reporters: ‘That’s the sort of reaction you get when you’re living in a police state. It was completely bogus.’
Last week two Austrian tourists told how they were forced to delete pictures of London buses from their Canon compact cameras. This incident also involved PCSOs.