Gloucestershire Police has apologised to an amateur photographer at a crash scene after a police sergeant threatened to make his day “living hell”.
A full misconduct investigation by the police force has now been completed and the complaint upheld against the sergeant.
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?”
Yesterday, a spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said the officer had been disciplined.
He added: “A written warning has been given to the officer and we apologise unreservedly to the member of the public for the way they were treated.
“All officers sign an oath to serve the public with respect to all people and while we believe our staff uphold this in the vast majority of incidents clearly in this case the standard of behaviour fell short of what is expected.
“The officer was removed from frontline duties at the start of the internal investigation and will now be subject to a personal development plan to ensure this doesn't happen again.”
The video here.
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.”
Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl had asked for the incident to be investigated thoroughly.
At the time of the complaint, he said: “I appreciate the work of the police can be very challenging, but no matter what the situation, they should deal with the public in a civil and responsible manner at all times.
“I hope this incident will not cause the public to lose faith in the good work done every day by the majority of hard-working, dedicated officers which is why I have asked for this issue to be dealt with with the utmost urgency.”