Two days ago I cross-posted that photographer Grant Smith had yet again been abused by police under Section 44, going about his entirely lawful business. Today it looks like he may sue them:
He said: “They took away my camera, notebook and phone so I could not record what they were doing. I thought their reaction was completely disproportionate. I found it was a publicly humiliating experience. It was a bit like being mugged by teenagers.”
Mr Smith said he was consulting lawyers about the legality of the stop.
A City of London Police spokesman said: “A man was spoken to by officers on Monday after police were called by security personnel. He was later searched under terrorism powers.”
One officer commented: “There are hundreds of people who take photographs in the City every day and they do not have any issues. Sometimes it would be helpful if people responded when asked what their business was.
“The risk of terrorism is always there and we do not intend to drop our guard.”
Dropping their guard, when there’s never been a terrorist on earth who’d been so batshit insane as to stand in front of a building with a DSLR with the intention of later blowing it up? Utter garbage – Smith had already stated his business, and the police had no right to interfere with it, nor even to stop him. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 has been ruled illegal by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and the police have been repeatedly warned by ACPO not to abuse it in this way. Time will tell whether the allegedly civil liberties-friendly ConDem coalition responds positively to the ECHR. In the meantime I hope Smith sues the City police to death, because I don’t see them or their Metropolitan counterparts changing for anyone.
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