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Gloucestershire police investigation after amateur photographer had camera seized

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 07, 2014

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An internal police investigation has been launched after a traffic officer allegedly seized an amateur photographer’s camera in Gloucester and threatened to make his day a “living hell”.

The 26-year-old had been taking pictures of a crash scene in Churchdown, where an 86-year-old pedestrian was fatally injured.

He was approached by an officer from Gloucestershire Police and recorded the subsequent conversation, which he later posted on YouTube.

During the conversation, the officer, who describes himself as a sergeant, allegedly threatens and verbally abuses the photographer.

The video recording captures the officer apparently telling the man: “We’ll nick you now and I’ll 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.

“Just to turn up and start taking pictures, you’re taking the piss aren’t you?”

The camera was later returned after the officer apparently approved the pictures after looking through them.

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, said he had called for the force to examine the incident “with the utmost urgency”.

“I have only seen the public facing evidence, but it appears the officer swore at a member of the public, follows that up by saying he was lucky not to have been assaulted by the police, is threatened with arrest, mistreatment and a remand in custody”, said Commissioner Martin Surl, who met Chief Constable Suzette Davenport to discuss the incident.

“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.

“It is the responsibility of the Chief Constable to manage complaints against police officers, my role is to hold the police to account. It appears the officer involved has fallen far short of the behaviour expected and required by the Constabulary.

“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”.

The man had been taking pictures near Tesco in Churchdown on November 19 last year. The pedestrian, who was treated at the scene, later died from her injuries.

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.”

The photographer, who asked not to be named, told the Gloucestershire Echo he had started taking pictures on his way to a local shop.

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

“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.”

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