A photographer held by police near Buckingham Palace yesterday – and searched under anti-terror laws – was accused of displaying suspicious behaviour in front of Prince Charles, Amateur Photographer understands. The Met Police has now issued a statement on the matter (see below).
Jules Mattsson, 16, – who has declined to speak publicly about the incident – was pounced on by an armed undercover police officer while photographing a cadet unit on the Mall.
Mattsson is understood to have been acting on the belief that he been given permission to photograph the cadets, prior to the event.
But a Royal Protection Unit officer swooped on the photographer when he tried to take pictures of cadets saluting Prince Charles during a march past.
Prince Charles took the salute in the Mall to celebrate 150 years of the British Cadet Movement in the UK.
Mattsson (pictured) is then understood to have been dragged through a crowd of spectators and stopped and searched under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act.
We understand that the photographer was later told he was in a ‘sterile’ area, close to a member of the royal family, and had not gained prior permission to be there from event organisers.
Picture: A few days ago, at New Scotland Yard, Mattsson celebrated a European decision that Section 44 stop-and-search is illegal. He is understood to have been stopped yesterday under Section 43 which, by law, requires an officer to suspect someone of being a terrorist. The 16-year-old has won widespread public support since police had stopped him taking pictures of police cadets in Essex last month
Photo credit: Chris Cheesman
The official Met Police statement, as sent to Amateur Photographer this afternoon, is below:
‘At 14:15hrs on Tuesday 6 July a plain clothes Police Officer stopped and searched a 16-year-old male under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act. The officer spoke to the male about his behaviour. No offences were apparent and no further action was taken by the officer.
Why was he stopped? Although taking photos in itself is not an issue, if an officer witnesses what they deem to be suspicious behaviour then they are justified in carrying out a stop. In this instance the officer spoke to him about his behaviour. No offences were apparent and no further action was taken by the officer.
Did we use S43 because S44 no longer legal?
The MPS continues to use S44 stop and search powers under the Terrorism Act 2000. S44 remains a legal power under current legislation. The current authority remains in place for it to be used at specific locations across London.
re photography in public places:
We encourage officers and the public to be vigilant against terrorism, however, we recognise the importance not only of protecting the public but also promoting the freedom of the public and the media to take and publish photographs.
Guidance around the issue has been made clear to officers and PCSOs through briefings and internal communications and all staff are encouraged to refer to the Metropolitan Police Service’s guidance around photography in public places for clarity on this issue.
re Photography and Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000
Officers have the power to stop and search a person who they reasonably suspect to be a terrorist. The purpose of the stop and search is to discover whether that person has in their possession anything which may constitute evidence that they are a terrorist.
Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched under s43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to discover whether the images constitute evidence that the person is involved in terrorism. Officers also have the power to seize and retain any article found during the search which the officer reasonably suspects may constitute evidence that the person is a terrorist. This includes any mobile telephone or camera containing such evidence.
Officers do not have the power to delete digital images or destroy film at any point during a search. Deletion or destruction may only take place following seizure if there is a lawful power (such as a court order) that permits such deletion or destruction.‘