London

Metropolitan Police compensate parade-ban photographer

  • 12 December 2011
  • From the section London

A teenager who was wrongly barred by police from taking photographs of a military parade in Romford, east London, has been compensated.

Lawyers acting for Jules Mattsson - then aged 15 - said a police inspector had described taking photographs in public as "anti-social behaviour".

Solicitor Chez Cotton said the police's treatment of Jules was "shocking".

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said an out-of-court settlement had been paid and an apology issued.

A spokesman for law firm Bindmans said Jules, who was targeted on 26 June, 2010, was taking photographs of the Armed Forces Day parade in Romford town centre.

"The inspector told [Jules] he was a public hazard and said that photographing in public was 'anti-social behaviour'," he said.

"He described the act of taking photographs as 'silly' and 'gay' and 'stupid'," said the spokesman.

"When [Jules] continued to state the lawfulness of his behaviour, the inspector declared it was 'dangerous' as he was 'likely to be trampled on by soldiers' from the parade."

Ms Cotton, head of the police misconduct department at the law firm, said: "The treatment of the police towards our client, a 15-year-old, was shocking. The inspector's comments were designed to belittle."

'No legal power'

The solicitor said Jules had "politely" maintained that the police were not entitled to interfere with his right to report, however in response, the inspector told him: "I consider you a threat under the Terrorism Act young man. I've had enough'."

"The police have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what journalists record," she added.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said an out-of-court settlement had been reached with the force paying out compensation and legal fees.

The spokesman added an apology had been issued.

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