Thursday, 16 July 2009

Arrested for being tall?

Dismayed, but not surprised, that police are still arresting photographers for taking photos in public places - without reasonable suspicion that these are connected with terrorism or other illegal acts.

Last week Kent police arrested 5' 11" Alex Turner who had refused to show his ID after being challenged in Chatham High Street.

From The Register:


According to his blog, our over-tall photographer Alex Turner was taking snaps in Chatham High St last Thursday, when he was approached by two unidentified men. They did not identify themselves, but demanded that he show them some ID and warned that if he failed to comply, they would summon police officers to deal with him.

This they did, and a PCSO and WPC quickly joined the fray. Turner took a photo of the pair, and was promptly arrested. It is unclear from his own account precisely what he was being arrested for. However, he does record that the WPC stated she had felt threatened by him when he took her picture, referring to his size - 5' 11" and about 12 stone - and implying that she found it intimidating.

Turner claims he was handcuffed, held in a police van for around 20 minutes, and forced to provide ID before they would release him. He was then searched in public by plain clothes officers who failed to provide any ID before they did so.

Following his release, he further claims that the police confirmed he was at liberty to take photographs, so long as - according to the PCSO - he did not take any photographs of the police.


See Alex Turner's blog for photos and his copy of the Search record form issued by Kent Police.

Crossposted from Liberal Democrat Voice, an independent, collaborative website run by Liberal Democrat activists. Helen is a contributing editor at the site.

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