Thursday, 31 December 2009

Arrested photographer gets police pay-out

A photographer who was handcuffed, arrested, cautioned and detained for eight hours for trying to take pictures of a road accident has been awarded more than £5,000 after legal help from the NUJ, the union said today.
Andrew Handley, a photographer with 34 years experience, was trying to take photographs of a car accident while working for the local newspaper MKNews. The NUJ says that despite staying behind a police cordon, Handley was approached by a police sergeant who demanded he handed over the pictures and his camera.
He was arrested, handcuffed, had his finger prints and DNA taken, was held for eight hours at Milton Keynes central police station and cautioned.
Following his release he contacted the NUJ, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation for unlawful imprisonment and assault.
Buckinghamshire Police Authority rescinded the caution, apologised for the unlawful arrest and after proceedings were issued settled the claim for £5,250. Handley’s finger print and DNA records have been deleted.
Handley said:“It’s a great relief that I've been cleared. I was concerned that I’d have a criminal record and a caution hanging over my head when I knew perfectly well that I hadn’t broken the law.”
Roy Mincoff, legal officer at the NUJ, added: “Our member was perfectly entitled to carry out his work by taking photographs of the accident. It is a worrying scenario when the police restrict media freedoms in unlawful ways."

1 comment:

Mark Orr said...

One of the rules for getting a caution is that the person accepting it admits to whatever crime they are being accused of. Why did the photographer accept the caution if he didn't do the crime.

I speak from experience. Bedfordshire Police wrongfully arrested me and several times asked me to 'accept a caution and you can go home'. I refused and told them that I hadn't done anything so I couldn't accept a caution which would give me a criminal record.

Secondly, I wouldn't trust the Police to have let go of the finger prints or the DNA or to have deleted the record of the caution. They are a law unto themselves.

This is very sad for me because I was your average ordinary boring middle class person brought up to respect and trust the Police. Sadly, my upbringing was wrong. They are just working to fulfil figures and targets. One crime reported and then one caution accepted for that crime equals 100% clear up rate for that crime. How convenient is that?