Police chiefs: ‘Everyone has right to take photographs’ (update 30 June)

June 30, 2010

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has spoken out after a young photographer was stopped while taking pictures of police cadets last weekend.

Yesterday, we reported how police officers prevented Jules Mattsson, 16, from taking pictures of police cadets in Romford, Essex.

Police initially told the freelance photographer that he needed parental permission to take photos of the cadets who were taking part in a parade to mark Armed Forces Day.

Officers then claimed they had the power to use anti-terrorism laws and public order legislation.

One policeman told Mattsson he did not need a law to stop him taking pictures.

Mattsson had repeatedly, yet politely, informed officers that they had no right to stop him taking pictures in a public place.

ACPO, which co-ordinates police policy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, declined to comment on the specific incident while the Metropolitan Police looks into the matter.

However, speaking to Amateur Photographer this lunchtime, ACPO?s spokesman on stop-and-search Craig Mackey, said: ?ACPO has stated previously that everyone ?photographers, members of the media and the general public ? has a right to take photographs and film in public places. That has not changed.?

Mackey, who is the Chief Constable of Cumbria Police, added: ?It is the job of police officers out on the beat to be vigilant, to keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour and to act accordingly. And there is no doubt that every day their vigilance stops crime.

?Used correctly, stop-and-search is a powerful tool that can help protect all our communities from terrorism. Protecting the public remains our priority.?

Yesterday, the photographer looked set to take legal action against the Met but he declined to comment while legal discussions continued.


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