Street photographer versus cops: the unfortunate eternal struggle. Now the latest fight according to the Amateur Photographer involves the Brighton, East Sussex police stopping 81-year-old photographer Richard for taking pictures of some women dressed up for a hen party (essentially a bachelorette party). Two uniformed officers approached the Selby on West Street and threatened to arrest him if he did not identify himself
After threatening to arrest Richard, the officer called over a police sergeant. Surrounded by four police officers and fearing a weekend in a cell, Richard finally relinquished his identity. After the incident a police spokesperson explained the sergeant was in his right because Richard’s actions could have been considered as “antisocial.”
Digging into a little bit of legalese Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 requires citizens to give up their name and address if the office believes they have been “acting in an antisocial method.” As for what accounts for antisocial behavior, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 defines it as “acting in a ‘manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.”
“[Richard] was acting in an antisocial manner and in these circumstances a police officer may request a name and address to establish a person’s identity,” the police said in a statement published yesterday. “There is a power of arrest if this is refused.” In short the situation could set a precedence where photography may be considered as antisocial or harmful behavior to the public.
The police also defamed Richard’s actions alleging one of his photos may have been shot at an inappropriately low angle and clearly shows a teenager girl’s posterior. We’re not going to mince words here—the cops are accusing Richard of being an old pervert. Richard denies the claim, noting the dozen or so photos have any girls bending over or teenage girls. Moving forward Richard says he plans on taking his complaint up the chain to the local police commissioner and maybe even the Home Secretary.