WATCH OUT, GEORGE, HE'S GOT A SCREWDRIVER!
And this was recently? As in the coppers tried to bully you into deleting the photos by implying that it would give the impression that you were a paedophile, and this happened since the murder of Bijan Ebrahimi?Hi all, new here.
Actually, I'm not much of a photographer but had occasion to use a camera recently and the police were very heavy handed about the whole thing. I took *three* photos of boys who had been harassing my young daughter and who I've had numerous problems with in regard to anti social behaviour. I wanted to record who was causing the problems (as evidence, in case further hassle arose). This was in November, in the street, and the boys were wearing not just clothes but the full winter wear get up of hats and gloves etc.
The boys told their parents and the police visited me that evening. There was just myself and my daughter in the house when they came. They spent around half an hour asking and re-asking me to delete the photos and failing to clarify whether I'd broken the law. I counted at least 8 'requests' along the lines of "Will you delete the photos. I am disappointed in you not deleting them. Yes, you have your concerns and now I'm asking you to delete the photos... and on and on...) I thought my behaviour was legal so I stood my ground despite their threatening behavior. The officers suggested, among other things, I might be seen as a paedophile. I am a 49 year old full time mother, wielding an old Canon Powershot, photographing a bunch of boys in broad daylight, in a public street, and they suggest I could be seen as a paedophile (my 7 year old daughter was there the whole time this happened).
Earlier this year I had someone shoot out my front door and a window with an air gun (whilst my daughter and I were in the house) and the police didn't even step over my doorway when I reported it. One officer turned up, made some noises and was gone within ten minutes. This time, two of them were in my house for around half an hour, and they used just about every verbal manipulation trick they could to try and 'make' me delete the photos. When they left I sat down and cried for an hour - the experience was horrendous and has changed entirely how I see police officers. They were bullies, plain and simple.
I now have a complaint in to the local police. Of course, they say the officers did nothing wrong despite them also (weeks later) admitting I had not broken any laws. I just wanted to alert you all to there being people like me (with very limited photography skills and no long range lense) who are being bullied by the police about public photography taken in defence. Furthermore, as the police investigate themselves (and my experience suggests the investigators aren't bias free) redress is unlikely unless the infringing of our rights involves witnesses on our part.
The defence I was given for their behaviour was "They *believed* they were doing the right thing" and the investigating officer concurred with them. So, it seems as long as police officers hold a belief they're in the right we're supposed to just take whatever unfairness they dish out to us. Be warned, never deal with them alone and pass this info on to anyone you want.
Oh yes, I will never let another police officer over my threshhold. They aren't to be trusted.
What force was this? They sound like right geniuses.