Gloucestershire police 'living hell' threat investigated

The police officer is now the subject of a misconduct investigation

Related Stories

A police officer who was captured on film apparently threatening to make an amateur photographer's day a "living hell" is being investigated.

In the footage posted on YouTube, the officer is heard telling the man "you're lucky I didn't knock you out" before threatening arrest.

The man had been taking photographs of a road in Churchdown, Gloucester, following a fatal collision.

Gloucestershire Police said a misconduct investigation was under way.

The photographer, who wants to remain anonymous, said he was "annoyed and worried" by the "scary" incident.

The photographer said he wanted to take the pictures to submit them to the local newspaper but added that he would not have taken pictures of anybody involved in the collision.

"I did capture the licence plate of the vehicle, however it would not have been shown in publication," he said.

"I understand why a police officer might approach me regarding this, but he handled it very poorly."

'Serve public' oath

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said the officer had not been suspended and remains on front-line duty.

Police photo guidance

  • Media should be given access and have duty to report
  • Members of the public can take pictures
  • Police should "acknowledge" the rise of citizen journalists
  • Police "need" to cooperate with media and amateur photographers
  • "Unnecessarily restricting photography" is "unacceptable"
  • Police can only seize cameras if they suspect it contains evidence of a crime

Source: Acpo media guidelines

Guidance supplied by the Association of Chief Police Officers to UK police forces says "officers and staff ... should not prevent anyone from taking photographs in public".

"This applies equally to members of the media and public seeking to record images, who do not need a permit to photograph or film in public places," the guidance adds.

"All police officers in Gloucestershire take an oath to 'serve the public with respect to all people'", the force added.

"Any officer found to breach this oath or any allegations or complaints made about officers are thoroughly and robustly investigated," said a spokesman.

The fatal crash involving an elderly pedestrian happened on 19 November, near the Tesco supermarket, shutting Cheltenham Road East for three hours while police carried out their investigations.

It was during this period the photographer got into an exchange with the police officer, secretly recording part of the conversation which he uploaded to a video sharing website.

'Officer swore'
Zebra crossing on Cheltenham Road East in Churchdown The elderly pedestrian died after colliding with the car at a zebra crossing in Churchdown

The anonymous photographer posted an accompanying message saying he had "no idea at the time" of the seriousness of the event and he did not take pictures of anything insensitive.

He added he had not moved past any police tape and had kept out of the way of the police investigation.

The BBC has asked for a comment from the photographer, who is yet to respond.

The county's Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, said: "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.

"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 appears the officer involved has fallen far short of the behaviour expected and required by the constabulary."

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has also defended the photographer, saying he had "committed no offence".

"It is clearly not the job of police officers to go around threatening members of the public whom they are supposed to protect," said Andrew Wiard, chairman of the NUJ Photographers' Council.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Gloucestershire

Weather

Gloucester

Min. Night 8 °C

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.