Sunday, March 06, 2011

UK: Photographer films his own 'anti-terror' arrest,



Man held in police station for eight hours after taking pictures of Christmas celebrations in Accrington, Lancashire.Police questioned an amateur photographer under anti-terrorist legislation and later arrested him, claiming pictures he was taking in a Lancashire town were "suspicious" and constituted "antisocial behaviour".

Footage recorded on a video camera by Bob Patefield, a former paramedic, shows how police approached him and a fellow photography enthusiast in Accrington town centre. They were told they were being questioned under the Terrorism Act.

Senior police officers last year promised to scale back the use of anti-terrorist legislation such as Section 44 of the act, which deals with photographers, after a series of high-profile cases in which photographers said they had been harassed by police for taking innocuous images in the street.

Patefield and his friend declined to give their details, as they are entitled to under the act. The police then appeared to change tack, saying the way the men were taking images constituted "antisocial behaviour". Patefield, who is in his 40s, was stopped three times before finally being arrested.

He and his friend were taking photographs of Christmas festivities on 19 December, after attending a photography exhibition. The last images on his camera before he was stopped show a picture of a Santa Claus, people in fancy dress and a pipe band marching through the town.

He turned on his video camera the moment he was approached by a police community support officer (PCSO). In the footage, she said: "Because of the Terrorism Act and everything in the country, we need to get everyone's details who is taking pictures of the town."
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