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Gloucestershire Police officer investigated after amateur photographer complaint

By CitizenNews  |  Posted: January 03, 2014

Still image from an amateur photographer's video footage

Police are investigating after a Gloucestershire traffic officer apparently seized an amateur photographer’s camera and threatened to make his day “a living hell”.

The 26-year-old man was taking pictures of a crash scene in which an 86-year-old pedestrian was knocked down, near Tesco in Churchdown on November 19.

He was approached by an officer and took a video recording which appears to capture the subsequent conversation, which he posted on video-sharing website YouTube.

The officer can apparently be heard saying he would arrest the man for obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty and seized the camera, insisting he delete the images on it.

He later returned the camera, without deleting any images, but after approving them.

The officer is heard to say: “We’ll nick you now and I will make your day a living hell, cause you’ll be in that cell all day. What I’ll probably do is I will ask for you to be remanded in custody and I will put you before the magistrate.”

He added: “You’re lucky that I didn’t knock you out. I swore at you, yeah. It got your attention, though, didn’t it?”

The amateur photographer, who asked not to be named, said: “I turned up there and I started taking pictures.

It’s round the corner from where I live and I was on the way to the shop. I usually take photos at the airport.

“I thought as I was local I might as well get some photos. I know I’m allowed to take pictures on public land.

“At the time there was no police tape cordoning off the road, the ambulance had gone, everyone had gone.

“He asked what news organisation I worked for and I declined to comment.”

The woman who was knocked down was treated at the scene but died later at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.

Andrew Wiard, chairman of the National Union of Journalists Photographers’ Council said: “We press photographers cannot be everywhere, and newspapers rely on the public to provide pictures if first on the spot.

“And it is clearly not the job of police officers to go around threatening members of the public whom they are supposed to protect. Simply put, the photographer committed no offence.”

A spokesman for Gloucestershire police said: “All police officers in Gloucestershire take an oath to ‘serve the public with respect to all people’.

“Any officer found to breach this oath or any allegations or complaints made about officers are thoroughly and robustly investigated.

“Regarding this particular incident, there is currently a misconduct investigation ongoing and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

View the video on YouTube.

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