Mansfield photographer's shock at arrest threat

Tom Maddick
Image caption Mr Maddick was taking photos as part of a project on his home town

A photographer has expressed his shock at being threatened with arrest after taking photos in the street.

Tom Maddick, 25, was taking pictures of his home town of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, when he was stopped by two police community support officers.

He said he was told taking the photos was illegal and to delete the images.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesperson said there had been a "training issue" and that the "officers concerned had been spoken to".

Mr Maddick said he had been taking photos of Stockwell Gate, in Mansfield, as part of a project documenting life in the town.

'Clear guidelines'

"I was walking along and took a photograph where they [PCSOs] were in frame, nothing was said until I was roughly 50 metres or so away when I heard someone shout," said Mr Maddick.

"The male PCSO then asked me what I was doing, so [I] explained, politely. The officer then went on to demand I delete the images.

"I was told by the female officer I should get permission of everyone I photograph in a public space. I then refused to delete the images I had captured."

Mr Maddick said he was told "it was illegal to take photographs in a public place".

In a statement, the force said: "Nottinghamshire Police has clear guidelines for dealing with photographers at incidents.

"We are looking to ensure all our officers and staff are aware of this guidance that prevents photos from being deleted or equipment from being seized - unless there are reasonable grounds that it contains evidence in relation to an offence and it is deemed necessary to prevent the evidence being concealed, lost, altered or destroyed.

"No-one - whether that be a member of the public or an officer - should have to be photographed and if a photographer repeatedly continues to ignore requests to refrain from doing so, it could be deemed to be causing harassment, alarm or distress."

Police said an arrest could be made if a photographer's actions were deemed to be causing harassment.

Earlier this month police agreed to return video footage of an arrest they seized from a student journalist who covered the Occupy Nottingham protest in the Old Market Square.

Lewis Stainer, who attends New College Nottingham, had said it was his "legal right" to film what was happening and the officer should not have taken his tape.

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