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VIDEO: Gloucestershire Police apologises to amateur photographer after threatening to make his day a "living hell"

By Michael_Yong  |  Posted: March 28, 2014

By Michael Yong

  • Picture snatch from the video

  • Tesco in Churchdown

  • Picture snatch from the video

Comments (18)

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.”

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18 comments

  • julianbailey  |  March 29 2014, 9:21AM

    police should learn to respect the people that pay there wages my friend got fire from his job for less than this

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  • Chaos100  |  March 28 2014, 6:18PM

    I suppose if anyone thanks they can cope with idiots like this bloke secretly recording and acting like some form of big time reporter could always go to gloucester police station and get an application form. I would imagine these keyboard folk are prime candidates for the position of constable. They seem to have all the answers. Like meymey, this poster seems to think you only need to give a name to police and not an address. I hope you never represent anyone in a court sunshine, your knowledge of the law when a criminal offence has been committed, is ....... Limited to say the least. Join the queue and sign up for the police readers, your full of ideas, i am sure they would make a huge difference.

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  • RoadWombat  |  March 28 2014, 2:52PM

    Forgot to add - Lecorche has come out with the most sensible comment so far.

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  • RoadWombat  |  March 28 2014, 2:51PM

    Yes, the officer got it wrong. Big deal. They aren't some perfect being created on another planet - they're ordinary people doing an extraordinary job and sometimes they (like everyone else) get it wrong, as we all do from time to time. Get over it.

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  • raidermanuk  |  March 28 2014, 10:58AM

    mikehibby - the point i'm making is that you don't seem to see the bigger picture.

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  • CaptCX  |  March 28 2014, 10:55AM

    MikeHibby - Are you sure you're not getting the Daily Mail supposed readership mixed up with The Guardian's? Mail readers aren't usually accused of being overly-worried about human rights.

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  • meymey  |  March 28 2014, 10:49AM

    you do not need to give your name or address or answer any questions , if you are arrested you are then required to give your name only

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  • meymey  |  March 28 2014, 10:39AM

    maybe this plod should be sent to barton moss has this type of policing seems to be normal there at the present time, im sure he would fit in well with the GMP

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  • beno1995  |  March 28 2014, 10:37AM

    I was once sat in a lay-by during the evening eating a McDonald's and doing some business work on my laptop. Obviously (being a law abiding citizen) I was not going to eat whilst driving. A police car pulled in behind me, blocking me in. He came to the window, asked me if the laptop was mine and if I could prove it. I ended up having to show my driving license and the username on the PC to prove it was mine. They were very arrogant about asking questions regarding the laptop. They asked why I was in the lay-by to which I replied "because I am eating, as per the law." They disliked that comment, and began asking me if I had been drinking or taking illicit drugs. Long story short, they were very arrogant and rude, they had no reason to suspect me (I was in a suit on my way home from work) and were simply bored and entertaining themselves at the expense of the tax payer. Unfortunately I think there are a minority of officers who abuse their powers; most are out to make some change. However from my experience, Gloucestershire Police seems to have more than most of these types of offices, which is a real shame.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  March 28 2014, 10:33AM

    buffersyeoman the common law offense of "outraging public decency" could be applied to a member of the public taking pictures of a fatal accident for personal use if an average person thinks it's not a decent thing to do. I also agree with mikehibby's and Lecorche's comments here, just wait until he starts taking pictures of you in your front gardens or your smalls on the washing line and puts them online or whatever he dose with them!

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