‘Terrorist’ photographer forces police retraining

April 1, 2010

Thames Valley Police has been forced to retrain its officers on the correct use of anti-terrorism powers after a photographer was wrongly suspected of being a terrorist.

Amateur photographer Stephen Russell was on a trip to buy fish and chips when police demanded he delete pictures that he taken of a police officer attending a minor incident in Kidlington, Oxfordshire.

The officer had been called after a gang had hurled a bottle at a passer-by.

Russell said he had taken the photos because it was ‘unusual’ to see such police activity in the village.

The photographer was then subjected to a police search under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act.

By law, police should only stop and search a person under Section 43 if they ‘reasonably suspect’ the person to be a terrorist.

Thames Valley Police launched an internal investigation after Russell lodged a formal complaint.

A police spokesman said Russell has since met with officers to discuss the incident.

The spokesman today told Amateur Photographer: ?We?ve ensured that officers are refreshed on the guidelines in terms of their use of this [Section 43] power.?

Russell, 59, last month told the Oxford Mail newspaper that the officer told him to delete the four images he had captured.

But the photographer refused, telling the officer that it was not illegal to take such photographs.

‘He used the Terrorism Act to search me. I’m not a terrorist,’ said Russell who was then told to supply his personal details.


Fish and chip man in ‘delete your pictures’ terror search

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