back to article We are 'heroes,' says police chief whose force frisked a photographer

The chief constable of Sussex Police has labelled his staff “everyday heroes” for using the UK's Terrorism Act to stop and search a photographer taking pictures of Hove Town Hall. Professional snapper Eddie Mitchell was detained for an hour by police in the south coast town on Thursday (May 4). A police employee who was not a …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fixed that for you

    Being a constable is what gives police extra legal powers that lets them freely do things members of parliament would commit a criminal offence by doing, such as abusing power.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Fixed that for you

      Well, you know you've reached the level of a police state when you have to answer questions from the local station's admin staff waving a fucking door pass at you.

  2. Fizzle
    Holmes

    Again?

    How fed up I am with these stories.

    The Police (at least the ones I have talked to) are generally helpful, friendly people.

    As an organisation they tend to be shite, as many media outlets report.

    And as for the plastic plods, don't get me started. I was once given a parking ticket by one for blocking my own driveway. It was I that put the "It is illegal to park here" notice. It wasn't but it helped deter some railway commuters! The plastic woman thought she should act though. I did enjoy the joke with the Town Parking supervisor over a beer later!

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Again?

      Technically speaking your "plastic plob" was correct. If you were obstructing the highway (which includes access to it) the fact that it was your own access you were obstructing is neither here nor there. There is limited public interest in prosecution but it does happen occasionally.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Again?

        Obstructing the highway is a very useful(?) catch-all. If you are parked anywhere on the highway you are obstructing it.

        I remember many years ago I was with someone who was given a ticket for obstructing, because cars couldn't get past. She pointed out that the other side of the street had been clear, with plenty of room to pass when she'd parked there. Another car had then come and parked on the other side, leaving no room to get past. She still had to pay the fine.

        And in fact, though not fair in that instance, it is probably necessary. A few years back I was driving along a narrow road behind Highgate school during their school run one evening. The road only had enough space to allow cars in one direction at a time, but there were a few spaces that drivers were using to give way to each other. The car ahead of me pulled in to one of these spaces, the oncoming car moved forward, expecting the driver to then carry on into the space behind him. It's what the previous pairs of cars had all done, slowly allowing all the cars to weave past one another. But this one didn't. Instead of moving forward into the space created she calmly got out of the car, locked it and walked off -leaving the entire road locked up. She should have been. There's never a copper when you need one.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Again?

          "I remember many years ago I was with someone who was given a ticket for obstructing, because cars couldn't get past. She pointed out that the other side of the street had been clear, with plenty of room to pass when she'd parked there. Another car had then come and parked on the other side, leaving no room to get past. She still had to pay the fine."

          I got two tickets for parking on the same bit of road in bolton once. The road is pretty much wide enough for one car but has a loading bay - I was taking kit into an office so I parked in the loading bay, came back to find a ticket for blocking the road despite being in a clearly marked bay. Next time I pulled up half in the bay and half on the pavement to allow cars to squeeze past - got a ticket for parking on the pavement when there was a bay available... Had to pay both tickets.

      2. Gordon861

        Re: Again?

        @ Adam52

        Technically you are totally wrong. The law relating to blocking of a dropped kerb makes a point of stating that the homeowner may park there, or anyone with permission of the homeowner (but not for reward).

        Of course, this is dependent on there being no other rules being broken like blocking the carriageway or yellow lines.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Again?

          "Technically you are totally wrong. The law relating to blocking of a dropped kerb makes a point of stating that the homeowner may park there"

          Oh no it doesn't.

          Construction and Use Regs say:

          "No person in charge of a motor vehicle or trailer shall cause or permit the vehicle to stand on a road so as to cause any unnecessary obstruction of the road"

          And Highways Act says:

          "If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale".

          There are various definitions about what constitutes obstruction by plants, but nothing about homeowners.

          You may be confused by the Traffic Management Act 2004 which relates to access to *footpaths* in designated areas and not highways in general.

          At the moment my downvote count for the original post is showing that uninformed but opinionated El Reg commentards outnumber the informed by 3:1.

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: Again?

            But your driveway isn't part of the highway. So, someone parking across it is stopping you accessing the highway, but is not stopping you having 'free passage along a highway'. That's why you can technically park across a driveway when it is empty, but not when there is a car parked there.

          2. Gordon861

            Re: Again?

            Traffic Management Act 2004 (c. 18)

            Part 6 — Civil enforcement of traffic contraventions

            86 Prohibition of parking at dropped footways etc.

            (1) In a special enforcement area a vehicle must not be parked on the carriageway adjacent to a footway, cycle track or verge where—

            (a) the footway, cycle track or verge has been lowered to meet the level of the carriageway for the purpose of—

            (i) assisting pedestrians crossing the carriageway,

            (ii) assisting cyclists entering or leaving the carriageway, or

            (iii) assisting vehicles entering or leaving the carriageway across the footway, cycle track or verge; or

            (b) the carriageway has, for a purpose within paragraph (a)(i) to (iii), been raised to meet the level of the footway, cycle track or verge.

            This is subject to the following exceptions.

            (2) The first exception is where the vehicle is parked wholly within a designated

            parking place or any other part of the carriageway where parking is specifically

            authorised.

            A “designated parking place” means a parking place designated by order under section 6, 9, 32(1)(b) or 45 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (c. 27).

            (3) The second exception is where the vehicle is parked outside residential premises by or with the consent (but not consent given for reward) of the occupier of the premises.

            This exception does not apply in the case of a shared driveway.

            (There are a bunch of other exceptions that all relate to emergency services or deliveries.)

            1. Adam 52 Silver badge

              Re: Again?

              For crying out loud, what happened to basic English comprehension skills.

              Prohibition of parking at dropped *footways* etc.

              It's nothing to do with obstruction of a highway, which is a criminal, not civil. Police/CPS deal with criminal matters. Prosecutions are for crimes. completely irrelevant legislation doesn't make your case.

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Again?

        "Technically speaking your "plastic plob" was correct. If you were obstructing the highway (which includes access to it) the fact that it was your own access you were obstructing is neither here nor there. There is limited public interest in prosecution but it does happen occasionally."

        No, no, no. Access to the highway is important, yes. So if someone is parked on a driveway and you drive behind them, without their permission, and block them in, you have committed a civil offence. (Although in Birmingham when this happened recently, the police didn't want to know.) If the driveway is unoccupied however, no offence has been committed, even if the property owner cannot enter their own driveway.

        I got done for this once, and paid the penalty because I was 17 and a dick for parking where I did. But I was technically innocent, and if I'd have known the law then I could have appealed.

        1. Martin
          Happy

          Re: Again?

          If the driveway is unoccupied however, no offence has been committed, even if the property owner cannot enter their own driveway.

          I discovered this once, when someone parked on my drive. The police happened to be passing, and I asked them what I could do. They told me that, strictly, there was nothing they could do. But they found the car wasn't properly locked, and helped me push the car off my drive and across the road onto a yellow line. Then they gave it a parking ticket.

          1. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: Again?

            "I discovered this once, when someone parked on my drive. The police happened to be passing, and I asked them what I could do. They told me that, strictly, there was nothing they could do. But they found the car wasn't properly locked, and helped me push the car off my drive and across the road onto a yellow line. Then they gave it a parking ticket."

            I'd have phoned a local builders merchant and ordered a few tonnes of hardcore to be delivered. Have it left at the end of the drive. When they come to pick up their car tell them that you are planning on landscaping your garden and should have it all moved within the month.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Again?

      I am wondering what race the photographer might be identified as and why the woman thought that waving a police ID card around was not impersonating an officer of the law.

      I am thinking either photographer was a bit dark or he was lippy, ether way not really justifying arrest or the waste of our money. IMHO until arrest under this regulation requires some form of justification in writing at the time of the arrest then abuses of this kind will remain common place.

      Arresting someone for "looking at me in a funny way" was supposed to be a joke but no one is laughing anymore

      1. The Axe

        Re: Again?

        I thinking you have a visual problem. You didn't look at Eddie picture in the tweet, nor read the story properly. Eddie is not dark (other than maybe a tan from living on the South Coast which gets more sun than the North). Eddie was not being lippy, he was not giving his name to someone who had no authority to ask for his name, in other words a civilian member of the police.

    3. streaky Silver badge

      Re: Again?

      The question is this - how many times are ACPO going to need to put out guidance on this before forces start paying attention.

  3. Adam 52 Silver badge

    "such as kicking down doors and arresting people, Tasering them, etc."

    None of those acts are specifically powers of a Constable. There is no legal authority for use of a Taser beyond that available to anyone else. You could have gone with possession of a firearm, speeding, driving without a seatbelt or arresting without warrant on suspicion.

    1. Alfie Noakes
      WTF?

      So are you saying that i can walk down the High Street with a Taser in my pocket (or utility belt) and not have any concern about being stopped, jumped on, handcuffed and arrested? Perish the thought that i might actually point it at someone!

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        No. Perhaps if you read what I wrote you might understand.

        1. moiety

          Pepper spray is probably a better example. If a copper sprays you it's all jolly fun and in the public interest; if you spray them back it's a firearms offence.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Pepper spray is a delicious example!

            Take about a cup(235ml) of good white or cider vinegar, put it in a blender with a dozen or so ripe habeneros (seeds & all ... ghost, scorpion, reaper, whatever), a teaspoon (5g) of sea salt (not that nasty, metallic tasting, iodine-infused "table salt"), and about a tablespoon each of honey(20g) & turbinado/demerara sugar(12g) (muscovado or piloncillo also work, if you can find 'em). A tablespoon of chipotle powder (10g) (or smoked cumin) adds a nice smoky note, but isn't required. Blend well. Add a little more vinegar or another habenero if needed, to get a Tabasco-ish consistency. It's usable immediately, but bottle it & stick it in the back of your fridge for a couple months and it just gets better ... A turkey baster with the plastic bit from an eye-dropper stuck on the end works well for re-filling old Tabasco[tm] bottles.

            You call it a force multiplier, I call it a delightful condiment. I wonder what Plod's take on the above recipe might be ...

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Pepper spray is a delicious example!

              Or, also on a cooking theme ... knives. Long, sharp, pointy ones.

              I spoke to a friend on the way to work the other day. He's a chef here in Sonoma, California. He routinely carries his knives back and forth from home to work. He walks. His skin is brown. What would his life expectancy be in Sussex?

              1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

                Re: Pepper spray is a delicious example!

                "He routinely carries his knives back and forth from home to work. He walks. His skin is brown. What would his life expectancy be in Sussex?"

                Longer than in California? For a start, beat officers in Sussex aren't usually armed. However, if he carries the knives with blades exposed, I'd expect an adverse reaction in most places. If he's carrying them packed in a bag and doesn't try to grab and unpack them when challenged (i.e., acts normally), then I'd expect very little effect on his life expectancy anywhere.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Pepper spray is a delicious example!

                  "If he's carrying them packed in a bag and doesn't try to grab and unpack them when challenged (i.e., acts normally), then I'd expect very little effect on his life expectancy anywhere."

                  Not affecting his life expectancy but this one is ridiculous: http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/man-caught-knife-said-needed-12992281

                  1. Haku

                    Re: Pepper spray is a delicious example!

                    re: http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/man-caught-knife-said-needed-12992281

                    "He must pay £625 prosecution costs plus £85 victim surcharge and the knife will be forfeited and destroyed."

                    The whole situation seems quite absurd, but to havve to pay a victim surcharge on top?

                    What the actual fuck?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Pepper spray is a delicious example!

                      A little scrote burgled our house a while back. He was picked up with some of our stuff not long afterwards, and in the end was charged with possession of stolen goods. He had several prior convictions so was never going to admit to breaking and entering, even though some evidence pointed that way if it'd ever gone to court.

                      But one of our things he'd nicked and was carrying around was a knife. And as a repeat and uncooperative offender he wasn't in Plod's good books. So they whacked a charge of possession of a concealed weapon (or whatever it is technically) onto the sheet as well, which didn't help him in sentencing. We got the knife back after it'd been held as evidence for a while; it wasn't destroyed because the police didn't care about the knife itself.

                      I don't know the details of the case in this thread, but "[t]hey arrested Azam on Wellfield Road" suggests he wasn't just a random bystander. They may have picked him up on something else, perhaps he was "known to police", perhaps they used the knife charge to strengthen another charge.

                      As in many dealings with the authorities, not being a dick about something helps a lot with making sure they won't go looking for other reasons to make your life difficult. Not saying that's right, but it's reality.

                  2. Kiwi

                    Re: Pepper spray is a delicious example!

                    Not affecting his life expectancy but this one is ridiculous: http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/man-caught-knife-said-needed-12992281

                    Yup, been there done that. And for those who question the use of such a knife in such circumstances, it's like this: Packaging on some furniture is fairly bulky and can be annoying to handle at times. You want a knife that is good quality for doing the cutting etc, but is comfortably small to drop into a pocket quickly when not in use, and unlike "box cutters" won't be annoying in itself when you try to bend (eg to get a proper grip on the item being moved).

                    As you say, that case is ridiculous.

                    1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Pepper spray is a delicious example!

                "What would his life expectancy be in Sussex?"

                Very long, providing he doesn't bring a camera with him.

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    So, Giles tries really hard to see his officers as everyday heroes? "Tries" really hard but really thinks that they are buffons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Meanwhile, a real "Terrorist®" would have secretly photographed and cased the Hove Shitty Hall properly, and have been more than friendly to the local madwoman pretending to be a police constable, while secretly placing a "device®" into her purse. "Threat Level" is how your government keeps the muggles in line and fearful of those nasty "Terrorists®" that are clearly hiding behind every corner, and bush. Beware, Muggles! Beware! Turn in your neighbor! See:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

      There is no lower limit to intelligence that would keep an officer of the law from assuming his/her duties. You can replace "officer of the law" with "Desktop Windows Administrator" if you prefer. It is known.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Beware, Muggles! Beware! Turn in your neighbor!

        -

        Betray your friends and family!

        Fabulous prizes to be won!

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Exactly my thoughts but I think the end of the sentence has been left out;

      "I totally support and am immensely proud of my officers and staff and I try really hard to recognise personally their ‘everyday heroism’. (” but it's bloody difficult when they act like complete twats.")

  5. albaleo

    Sorry Eddie, but some of us may be wondering how much you egged this along. Not saying you did, but my experience suggests there are as many dicks among photographers as among police officers. (i.e. most are not dicks) How do we judge?

    1. InfiniteApathy

      > How do we judge?

      Innocent until proven a twat is a useful yard stick

      1. albaleo

        Innocent until proven a twat is a useful yard stick

        Does that work for the police too?

        1. Red Bren

          @albaleo

          "Does that work for the police too?"

          Yes. The photographer was not breaking any law. The police employee had no legal grounds to detain him. I think that's proof of twattery.

          1. albaleo

            Re: @albaleo

            Sorry, but I don't think twattery has anything to do with the law. I'm not breaking any law if I refuse to answer my wife's questions, but something tells me I ought to.

            The article says Mitchell refused to answer an unsworn constable's questions. I've no idea about the circumstances or the questions. Perhaps the constable was a twat or perhaps he or she was new and nervous and/or Mitchell was behaving like an idiot and/or whatever. Not answering questions might seem a bit childish if the questions were reasonable and answering them would have made the police officer's life easier. (Then we wouldn't have to have this discussion.)

            I accept that perhaps he was treated wrongly. But as the article seems to be judging the police, doesn't the innocent until proven guilty argument lie with them?

            1. druck
              Mushroom

              Re: @albaleo

              There is no legal obligation to answer the questions of some junior paper pusher waving an I work in a police station badge in your face. If they can't show you a warrant card, they can fcuk right off.

              1. Adam 52 Silver badge

                Re: @albaleo

                Being a twat works both ways. Police Officers and staff are feeling a bit sensitive right now, because there are credible rumours that a bunch of nutters are running around trying to kill them. And one was successful quite recently. Yes, that's unlikely to be a photographer but when you pay police civilian pay rates you don't get very clever staff. On top of that they've got a Prime Minister who is hell bent on making them look bad so that she can privatise the Police.

                "Innocent until proven a twat is a useful yard stick

                Does that work for the police too?"

                On this point - not really. You might think that there's a cover up and conspiracy behind every corner but the reality is that forces will hang individuals out to dry on the slightest pretext so that they look good. And you've got an Inspector of Constabulary who knows nothing about policing but was appointed by Theresa May to shake things up. I know police officers who have been on notice of murder charges for 10 years now because they tried to arrest a drug dealer outside a school, but he died running away.

                In this case, the staff member's boss really should have taken them aside and said "don't be an idiot, he's clearly a f**king photographer" and that should be the end of it. As it is the Chief Constable feels obliged to defend or crucify, and has gone for defend.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: @albaleo

                  In this case, the staff member's boss really should have taken them aside and said "don't be an idiot, he's clearly a f**king photographer"

                  Not really. This would imply that the staff member was generally empowered to throw her weight about and act like a constable and that her only problem was her poor choice of occasion on which to do this. As far as I can tell from the various reports this was not the case. If she was a purely civilian staff member then what she was doing should have resulted in a caution from a police officer about impersonating a police officer; it should really go beyond line management.

                  It should be a nice opportunity for the local press to set up an interview with crime prevention about this sort of thing: http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/NEWS/14634633.SCAM_ALERT__Fraudsters_impersonate_police_officers_to_con_people_out_of_cash/ and then drop this incident on them, asking if it helps having their own civvies teaching people to accept dodgy identification.

                  I should add that I do understand the police about being targeted. Not only did I know a couple of police officers in N Ireland who were murdered, I could easily have been collateral damage when a booby-trapped item was brought in for examination. However it really does not help the police by their setting up "us and them" situations with the law-abiding public in this way.

                  1. Adam 52 Silver badge

                    Re: @albaleo

                    "Not really. This would imply that the staff member was generally empowered to throw her weight about and act like a constable and that her only problem was her poor choice of occasion on which to do this."

                    We can't really tell what happened from the reporting. The "acting like a Constable" bit could easily be inaccurate interpretation or exaggeration. In general though employees everywhere are encouraged to challenge people acting suspiciously at or near their place of work. This person was being stupid, but once they'd decided to escalate then the real Constables would have got in trouble if they'd ignored it. Do nothing and a real chance of internal disciplinary action or prosecution for misconduct in a public office or use perfectly legal powers granted by *parliament*.

                    "However it really does not help the police by their setting up "us and them" situations with the law-abiding public in this way."

                    This I fully agree with, but it's a situation we, the public, have created (*) by removing officer discretion and putting the police in a no-win situation. They act and are criticised, or they don't act and prosecuted.

                    (*) Mostly. There are self important people in all jobs, the Police try to weed them out during selection. Unfortunately those characteristics tend to get them promoted, just like any other company.

                2. tedleaf

                  Re: @albaleo

                  Which should be making people ask the embarrassing question that if the threat level is so high why was a copper in his own in such a sensitive position and why he was not,from what I can learn ,wearing the right equipment,the plod wtc were lucky this time that it wasn't a proper,well organised attack because he was of abdiolutely no use in stopping anybody and it seems to have taken better prepared police a while to react,if it had been a proper attack ,it stood a pretty good chance of succeeding..

                  These events happen in seconds,for such a supposed sensitive Ares,the police seem to have been caught flat footed,again..

                  There will one day be a properly organised attack carriers out by experienced,trained individuals,it stands a very high chance of success,specially if there are multiple co-ordinates groups and they use explosive devices during and after attacks,these are only coppers with very limited training,limited firearms use and very few are ex-troops with battle experience,if security is so important why leave it to amateurs,well meaning amatywrs but still amateurs..

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  @Adam 52

                  "a Prime Minister who is hell bent on making them look bad so that she can privatise the Police."

                  The main people who have been making the police look bad in recent years are the Police themselves. It goes back even before May was at the Home Office, where she (understandably) "shut down" ACPO Ltd. Though like a lot of what she said and did, and is saying and (not) doing, it was smoke and mirrors, and the ACPO was just rebranded (as the article rightly points out).

                  Strong and stable lunatics.

              2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: @albaleo

                There is no legal obligation to answer the questions of some junior paper pusher

                Got that once as a student, when on my motorbike..

                (Pulled away from the kerb, got screamed at by someone waving a Police ID who accused me of cutting up a cyclist [said cyclist had been about 30m away when I pulled out]. He demanded to see my license, I demanded to see his warrant card. He didn't produce one, so I rode away.)

                He might have been a real policeman but, judging my his attitude, was certainly not a motorbike copper. All of those I've met have had their heads screwed on right and are more concerned with reducing casualities, not meaningless enforement of petty trivialities.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @albaleo

                  (Pulled away from the kerb, got screamed at by someone waving a Police ID who accused me of cutting up a cyclist [said cyclist had been about 30m away when I pulled out]....)

                  If you had cut up a cyclist, wouldn't you be holding a bloody knife or sword or something?

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: @albaleo

              "The article says Mitchell refused to answer an unsworn constable's questions."

              What's an unsworn constable? A constable becomes that by swearing an oath of office - go back & read the bootnote.

              There's no indication from anything I've read that this woman was even a PCSO - had she been and been on duty she'd have been uniformed. She just tried to throw her weight about with an ID card which could have been knocked up with a printer and a laminating holder that can be bought off eBay for pennies. It's no evidence of anything except to her employer's staff. Outside police property it means nothing. In fact such things are regular props of scammers.

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: @albaleo

              "Not answering questions might seem a bit childish if the questions were reasonable "

              It might have been a feeble attempt at identity theft or simply a distraction while a confederate attempted the theft of of some likely very juicy photography equipment. She wasn't a uniformed officer and anyone can print out a badge. Be careful out there!

            4. Kiwi
              FAIL

              Re: @albaleo

              The article says Mitchell refused to answer an unsworn constable's questions.

              1) I believe the article makes it clear she wasn't a constable.

              2) I've had dicks challenge me when I'm legally photographing stuff. If it was in a children's park or in/very near a secure area or something maybe fair enough, if not then they can get stuffed and I will ignore them. I am withing my legal rights and they're busybodies sticking their nose in. Lots of these scum out there these days. And a few try the old "I have an ID card on a lanyard so I'm official!" shit. Someone who is a civilian should not be harassing someone else who is legally doing their job or enjoying their surroundings.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: @albaleo

            I think that's proof of twattery. getting close to misfeasance in public office. If they'd actually arrested him it would have got really interesting.

            The Chief Constable deserves an Oscar. That's the Oscar Munoz award for supporting his staff beyond all reason.

    2. uncommon_sense
      Childcatcher

      Devils TwoPiece sez..

      Maybe Eddie were dressed and acting like a Lefty, i.e. the terrorists best friends and supporters!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Devils TwoPiece sez..

        like a Lefty, i.e. the terrorists best friends and supporters!

        I didn't realise that Noo Yawk was such a hotbed of radical socialists - after all, they supported the IRA for years.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Devils TwoPiece sez..

          "Noo Yawk ... a hotbed of radical socialists - after all, they supported the IRA for years."

          Boston (MA) too.

          Freedom fighters? Terrists?

          Who gets to choose?

    3. David 45

      Twaddle

      There's always one isn't there? I have to say that smacks a little troll-ish. The man was just standing up for his rights. If it is not illegal to photograph in a public place, why should he be required to identify himself - especially as the original inquisitor (it appears) was not actually a police officer? I thought this harassing photographers under false pretences malarkey had died a death with better education in the force. I well remember a case from a few years back near me where someone was also arrested in Chatham under the pretence of the anti-terrorism act for taking innocuous pictures of shops and some demolition work. The original jobs-worth who wanted ID (which was refused - and quite rightly so) was, I believe, not a police officer but a jumped-up council official with no ID himself, who then called the police. The photographer was eventually "de-arrested" but not after having been thrown into the back of a police van. I myself had some aggravation from some army types, milling around a road accident that I was photographing. I was told in no uncertain terms (in front of witnesses) that if I had included any of them in the pictures, they would confiscate both camera and film. I stood my ground and stated the law, also inferring that I would sue the pants off them if they tried it, and the person concerned backed off. Unenlightened security guards are also quite often belligerent with a lack of knowledge of the law and there are numerous stories about them trying to stop photography in a public place with a heavy hand.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Troll?

      There always seems to be one commentator in cases like this who suggests that the victim stirred things up for himself. I would certainly be annoyed if it happened to me. In fact, it has - not with the police but some army jobsworth in charge of a group of squaddies who were directing traffic around an accident. The guy told me, in no uncertain terms, that if any of his "lads" were in the photographs I had been taking, he would have to confiscate either my camera or the film. I put him straight.

  6. Tikimon Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Typical...

    If you ever manage to force a cop to admit error, make sure you immortalize this glowing one-off event for history. Closely related to how they will close ranks to protect one of their number, not matter what heinous crime that officer has committed.

    Throw in some illegal spying and does anybody wonder why nobody much trusts the police anymore?

    1. Kiwi
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Typical...

      If you ever manage to force a cop to admit error, make sure you

      ...have plenty of voice and (and preferably video) recorders on your person, car, and liberally scattered around your home and workplace. Make sure you record every interaction with them from the moment you become aware they're going to "spend some quality time with you". Make sure your lawyer knows this. Make sure you're on first-name terms with a good lawyer. On, and get "litigation" insurance - for you may well need it.

      Some forces are OK. Some, well... Petty, vindictive and vengeful are NOT words that would describe many in the NZ police force - they're not strong enough. There are many older officers who are incredible people, and many more who are in a race to bring as much dis-repute to the badge as they can!

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    #EverydayHeroes

    In 2017, this means managing to exhibit the amazing intellectual power and daring of a ferret on crack, so I support this presumably queen-approved quality label.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: #EverydayHeroes

      Don't worry, mate. Sussex Police have nothing useful to do with their time, other than brushing serious crime under the carpet.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About time the photographers struck back

    It isn't illegal to photograph a public building from a public place. The CPS will just not risk setting precident by actually prosecuting someone for say photographing Hove town Hall from the road outside.

    Perhaps if 100 or 200 people turned up and all took photos of the place at the same time, they might get the message.

    Especially as a simple google search revealed

    http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/category_id__941.aspx

    Which has several pictures of the place ready for all the possible terrorists, sorry pople of the world to see without getting off their backsides.

    I even have a sheet of paper that details the limits to which the PLOD can go to when having an issue with a photographer in a public place. Ironically, it was issued by a Chief Constable circa 2010

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: About time the photographers struck back

      It isn't illegal to photograph a public building from a public place.

      I went on a tour of the old London Underground head office last year (55 Broadway). It's across the road from New Scotland Yard. Whilst we were on the roof, we were told we weren't allowed to take pictures of the building across the road.

      Guess what I made sure to take lots of pictures of...

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: About time the photographers struck back

        I've never been bounced by the police while engaging in photography or filming, even as part of a news crew (though they have on occasion politely pointed out that my vantage point was perhaps more exposed than they considered safe from known-to-be-armed suspects).

        I have however been bounced - quite properly, though for laughable reasons - by security guards. Most recently, from a large outdoor shopping area of some architectural interest, in which I was using a 4x5 camera on top of a seven foot tripod. Taking images with that equipment takes several minutes just to set up, and I had made half a dozen images from various locations within the site when the security chap came up, identified himself, and politely told me that the area was private property. As such, the owners had the right to forbid photography within it - so I moved. No issue - though he did not have an answer to the question of mobile phones and the cameras therein. Also no issue taking a very similar image from outside the boundary - unmarked, but only a couple of feet from where I was,

        Nice to meet a fellow in a sometimes tricky job doing it well and also properly briefed on the rules. As the article states: it is permissible to photograph anyone or anything visible from public land, with very few exceptions - in particular, if a building or area is covered by the official secrets act it is clearly marked 'thou shalt not photograph'.

        As others have pointed out - in this case, the police employee was strictly in the wrong. If she had concerns about the photographer's actions, she should have asked one of her police colleagues to deal; as it was she was throwing her weight about, and that's not acceptable.

        He was certainly in the right and in spite of the senior officer's later comment there was neither need nor requirement for him either to explain his actions, give his name, or accompany the employee anywhere. He might be considered a bit of a dick for standing on his rights but I don't blame him - I would have done the same and for a simple reason: if you don't stand on your rights, somehow they mysteriously disappear.

        I wonder how long the lady in question was bollocked for behind closed doors?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: About time the photographers struck back

          it is permissible to photograph anyone or anything visible from public land, with very few exceptions - in particular, if a building or area is covered by the official secrets act it is clearly marked 'thou shalt not photograph'.

          Well, there's also this mysterious "Section 44 designated area" which refers to an area that has been designated so special that police have stop & search powers without having to give a reason, and those areas are not actually indicated because not all of them are static. I think some railway stations are under it. However, the people who police those are generally a bit more experienced and less prone to the Hitler complex so you usually get a warning.

          With respect to deleting pictures, I had one idiot try that once.

          I told him that was not going to happen because:

          1 - he did not identify himself correctly as a policeman

          2 - he did not cite correct cause and legislation under which he would have those powers

          3 - if I was not being arrested, he had no business telling me what I could or could not make pictures of

          4 - if I was being arrested, he should not touch my camera either until forensics got here as it would be interfering with evidence and the chain of evidence, which would look rather bad on the arrest record.

          5 - in the case of an arrest, I would already like to thank him for the extra money as it would clearly be wrongful and would definitely be followed up.

          It is worth noting I had made sure I had witnesses, though.

          I have no problem with even just security guards who are just trying to do a job and politely ask me not to take pictures. I tend to even beat them to it by asking upfront if I feel there may be an issue as it's not my intention to make their live miserable and I like my privacy just like anyone else.

          However, anyone who storms at me like some wannabe Reichsführer will discover that I am not easily intimidated and that I have a spectacularly malevolent sense of humour that then comes out to play. Because they're worth it :)...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trip to the 'US of K' anyone?

    ..........Reg articles often focus on how unfriendly the US is becoming...

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/14/reg_guide_to_data_security_when_entering_us/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/21/campaign_against_digital_border_searches/

    ================

    ..........Who wants to to visit the UK after this story plus this other article today:

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/04/uk_bulk_surveillance_powers_draft/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trip to the 'US of K' anyone?

      "Who wants to to visit the UK after this story plus this other article today:"

      At least visitors have a choice.

      The BBC iPlayer currently has the Ken Clark series "Civilisation" from 1969. Expecting a visual treat of art and sculpture - it was amazing how many times he talked about, and illustrated, the carnage wrought by the general mob fired up by a demagogue.

  10. hellwig Silver badge

    Power tends to Corrupt...

    And we've given absolute power to some of the stupidest people out there.

    Under what law does this man have to acknowledge and un-badged civil servant more than any other citizen out there? If a Starbucks barista had approached him and asked what he was doing, would he have been any more/less responsible for answering? I love movies that portray CIA agents walking around waving their CIA credentials like it makes them special. The CIA isn't a law enforcement agency, they have no authority anywhere. If someone with no authority challenges you, you are in your right to blow them off, are you not?

    (speaking from a U.S. perspective)

    TSA agents are bad enough, with their week-long training seminar making them lords of our vacation and business travel. Flight Attendants? Do they even get that much training on how to handle passengers? But their word is law on the airplane (and they will "deplane" your ass in a heartbeat if you challenge them). Border guards taking it upon themselves to interpret the constitution and seize your personal property (EVEN if you are a citizen), ridiculous.

    I almost feel sorry for the terrorists (not really, just saying it as a gauge of how over it all I am). Think about how hard they have to work just to terrorize us more than our own governments these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Power tends to Corrupt...

      "Think about how hard they have to work just to terrorize us more than our own governments these days."

      The whole point of the tactic of terrorism is to provoke the government into restricting the freedom of the society they are targeting. We only pay lip service to that putative war time slogan "Keep Calm - and Carry On".

      The UK WWII identity card laws were only finally repealed in the 1950s after a scandal. IIRC A middle-class motorist was arrested for not showing his ID card to a policeman on demand.

      1. grizewald

        Re: Power tends to Corrupt...

        > The whole point of the tactic of terrorism is to provoke the government into restricting the freedom of the society they are targeting.

        Sorry, but you have that completely backwards.

        The whole point of continually exaggerating the risks of terrorism and lying about the causes of it is to give governments plausible justifications for restricting personal freedoms and dismantling personal privacy.

        We're already getting to the point where if you don't agree with having your personal life scrutinised in minute detail by civil servants you are by implication in league with "the terrorists".

        I wonder how much longer it will be before expressing an opinion that does not agree with the official line becomes a criminal matter.

        1. Vic

          Re: Power tends to Corrupt...

          Sorry, but you have that completely backwards

          No, the OP is correct.

          The whole point of continually exaggerating the risks of terrorism and lying about the causes of it is to give governments plausible justifications for restricting personal freedoms and dismantling personal privacy

          That's a different point - and also true. So we have the situation where authoritarian governments and terrorists feed each other's agenda.

          There's only one way that ends...

          Vic.

    2. uncommon_sense
      Unhappy

      Re: Power tends to Corrupt...

      >I almost feel sorry for the terrorists (not really, just saying it as a gauge of how over it all I am). Think about how hard they have to work just to terrorize us more than our own governments these days.<

      Yes, I imagine hearing OBL sniggering in his watery grave, while Certain Others are laughing all the way to the ATM.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Power tends to Corrupt...

      All good except for the part about flight attendants. By US law (and much of the first world) you are obliged to obey a flight crew's reasonable instructions. If you are battling them on whether you can have your fondleslab out, play your music without headphones or won't hang up the phone, you aren't in a good position. If you haven't read and understood the contract you agreed to when you purchased your ticket, don't bang on about "your rights"; you probably don't have many. If they asked you to peel down and dance in the aisles because the video player has a fault and they need some entertainment, you can decline. "Handling people" isn't done much better by sworn officers. TSA agents are people that haven't been able to get a job in fast food, so don't expect them to even be able to give concise directions to the loo. If they tell you to stop, it's best to obey them or they'll sit on you and you've seen the size of them. It could hurt.

      1. Vic

        Re: Power tends to Corrupt...

        By US law (and much of the first world) you are obliged to obey a flight crew's reasonable instructions

        *Technically*, you're obliged to follow the Captain's lawful instructions.

        But in practice, there's precious little difference.

        Vic.

    4. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Power tends to Corrupt...

      Again on flight attendants -- you have to obey them just as you would the crew members of s ship. And when the plane (or ship) is in trouble, they do their damnedst to save your life.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Nah, I totally respect the Cops..."

    Whatever happened to this country? People having respect for cops? We're getting too like America.

    He didn't even call them fascist pigs. Sad.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Christoph Silver badge

    adding that if Mitchell had “identified himself” to the woman employee, “the matter would have been resolved in minutes.”

    All you have to do to avoid being detained by the plod is to grovel subserviently to their slightest whim, and tug your forelock while doing it.

    There is no law that you are required to identify yourself to every puffed-up busybody who demands it.

    Are they really so incompetent that they seriously think that a terrorist would stand there prominently waving a camera in full visibility?

    They could wear a pocket video recorder (over 1,000 hits on an amazon search) and wander past getting a hi resolution stream of pictures from every angle, while showing no suspicious or unusual behaviour whatever.

    Then send a drone over for some aerial shots.

    Or just look at google maps, or search for existing photos on the web.

    What have Sussex plod been smoking?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      The Rats!

      @Christoph

      What have Sussex plod been smoking?

      Perhaps a spot inventory check on the evidence locker is called for.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-39814446

    2. silverfern

      @ Christoph:

      "There is no law that you are required to identify yourself to every puffed-up busybody who demands it."

      What about the police in general? Do you not have to give them your name, address & DOB if required to do so?

      Tangentally, you are required to identify yourself to the police here in Germany with an official picture ID (they will accept DLs unofficially.) If you refuse to cooperate, you can be taken down to the local police station where other methods, such as fingerprinting, can be employed to establish your identity. And if you refuse to hand over your fingerprints, force can be used. Charming. (They seem to have a thing about knowing who you are here.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        (They seem to have a thing about knowing who you are here.)

        AFAIK that's the exact reason why the whole ID thing is frowned upon in the UK..

      2. SolidSquid

        The rules are kind of... odd, since iirc it varies depending on why the police are stopping you (stop and account vs stop and search for example), but generally there's very little information you're legally required to provide unless you're under suspicion of a crime

      3. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
        Happy

        @silverfern ref Germany.

        "Don't give him your name Pike". PP

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      No need for pocket video recorder

      On a cycle, with video recording kit on helmet / bike as applicable.

      Not sure if it's yet reached the stage of majority of (non casual) cyclists going kitted out to always record their journeys, just in case of an incident, but an increasing number of people who regularly commute by cycle have helmet cam or bike mounted cam recording all their journey.

      Easy for someone of malicious intent, to use this type of "hidden in plain sight" method, essentially zero risk of capture (so long as dont do anything stupid (such as several successive laps of point of interest) that would stop any examined film from looking like legit journey recording)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      adding that if Mitchell had “identified himself” to the woman employee, “the matter would have been resolved in minutes.”

      As in "I am definitely not a terrorist" ?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It reminds me of the music hall "Gendarmes Duet" song from 1859

    We're public guardians bold, yet wary

    And of ourselves we take good care

    To risk our precious lives we're chary

    When anger looms, we're never there

    But when we meet a helpless woman

    Or little boys that do no harm

    We run them in, we run them in

    We run them in, we run them in

    We show them we're the bold gendarmes

    http://monologues.co.uk/musichall/Songs-G/Gendarmes-Duet.htm

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is that followup is now ESSENTIAL.

    The major problem I see here is not that the actions by the wannabe cops were quite frankly a wanton abuse of power and the anti-terror legislation, but that those errors were not acknowledged by Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell and thus no apology was given. Mistakes can happen by the lower ranks, but the Chief Superintendent has no excuse for not correcting the mishap, she is supposed to know the law she alleges to enforce and she should have been the one to say "mea culpa, people occasionally get a bit overzealous".

    Thus, events seem to suggest that either Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell does not know the law, or considers herself and her staff above them, using threat levels as a means to excuse their actions. That is unacceptable and requires immediate remediation, if not by her superior, then by court. The only thing that really should NOT happen is acceptance because there is no excuse (and worse, "getting away with it" will encourage a repeat).

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: The problem is that followup is now ESSENTIAL.

      Haven't well all met, at some point, the low self-esteem individual who craves some "authority" and looks for any opportunityto exercise it so they can feel better about themself.

      When these people inevitably show themselves they should lose their ID pass and the job that goes with it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem is that followup is now ESSENTIAL.

        When these people inevitably show themselves they should lose their ID pass and the job that goes with it.

        Nah, usually they get degraded to parking fines, which is why those people are quite often* of depraved character.

        * Not all, though, but good ones are rare because it's really about making money, not about enforcing correct sharing of a limited resource

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The problem is that followup is now ESSENTIAL.

          This is why Leeds city council moved away from bonuses for fines. And why it's only if you're taking the piss did you get a ticket (parking In disabled bays, double yellas or taking bays in a twatish manor for example) and after having seen the inside of a holding cell over a pen knife (locking blade at 3 inches long at a public place) and getting released with out charge (I had a reason for carrying it before I entered the public place and forgot it was in my bag) I know that they can see sense.

          That said. There's nothing like a pen pusher with a jumped up sense of authority the world over..

          Annon. Because the wife still doesn't know where the pen knife went

  16. Graybyrd
    Big Brother

    Grandma Isis

    Forget the quick 'walk-by snap' of the photographer. What of the hours-long detailed study & recording of the vulnerable Public Edifice by amateur artist Grandmother Iris Isis Weaverly-Smyth of Lower Upton-on-Estuary visiting family for a fortnight. She sets up her easel, sketch pad, pencils, paints & brushes and proceeds to study--in infinite detail--every feature, entrance, approach, hidden surveillance point, and traffic patterns. Obviously an ISIS advance scout!

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It would appear from these reports that a woman was impersonating a police officer. Has she been arrested for this offence?

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Sussex Police Training Video?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnlIWpZSPXU

    Clouseau: How can a blind man be a lookout?

    Dreyfus: How can an idiot be a policeman?

    Clouseau: It's very simple, you just enlist.

  20. tedleaf

    Kick the silly cows legs out from under her,sit on her,use the cameras straps etc to hog tie her,phone "real" police and tell them that you have just had to restrain a dangerous,deluded individual who is trying to impersonate a police officer..

    I found myself in a very similar situation just after the acpo 2010 clarification letter had been sent to every serving police officer in the country,I was photographing some of our local estate rats breaking into a car when one of its parents saw what I was doing and called the police,the first to arrive was our local plastic wannabe plod who tried to remove my camera from me,having pointed out that I was stood in the same position as when taking photos,which was a public place,the beats were in a public place and that they were commuting a criminal act and that he was not a proper police officer I told him politely to go breed with himself and that if he laid one finger on my camera or myself I would defend myself with force.

    Once the real coppers turned up and we had a lengthy "conversation" about the acpo letter and I showed them the snaps if the brats busting into the car,they decided after 90 minutes that I had acted in a perfectly legal manner,when I complained to our loical seniour officer and asked him what would have happened if I had defended myself and restrained the plastic wannabe what would have happened to me ,the answer I got two weeks later was that I would have been perfectly within my rights to have done so,that the plastic wannabe was just a member of the public with no more rights or powers than I or any other member of the public has/had and that although I MAY have faced a charge of common affray,in the circumstances the chances of the cps taking it forward varied t from none to me possibly being chief witness against the wannabe for impersonating a police officer..

    The entire event was witnessed by 20+ other estate residents,which was why I refused to enter my own flat when the real plod turned up,I wanted those witness as a check on police officers behaviour and our "conversation",the above took place in south Hertfordshire...

  21. DougS Silver badge

    Will they pull over Google Street View cars?

    Not only are they taking pictures, they're posting them on the internet where Al Qaeda and ISIS can download them! The horror!!

  22. Bloodbeastterror

    And so, as with every such incident of abuse of anti-terrorist legislation, the terrorists win again.

  23. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
    Holmes

    Scraping the bottom of the barrel

    It has been apparent for some time that police recruitment has been scraping the bottom of the barrel; now Sussex Police seem to be digging underneath it and not just for the newbies.

  24. alain williams Silver badge

    Legislation will never be abused ...

    we are always told. So why is anti terror legislation being used to terrorise photographers, I wonder what plans are being drawn up on who to abuse with the Investigatory Powers Regulations 2017 ?

  25. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Flame

    Engage self righteous mode

    AKA prick mode - not the photographer BTW.

  26. peter 45

    Questions about ID

    " if Mitchell had “identified himself” to the woman employee, “the matter would have been resolved "

    Um. How?

    If he had shown his ID, how would that have proven he was not a terrorist?

    Do only terrorists not carry ID then?

    Is there a master database that can be instantly accessed by police employees which shows who is a terrorist and who is not?

    How would they have known if the ID was fake?

    When I take a selfie with my phone, should I be carrying around my passport to prove I am not a terrorist then?

    Knobs.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple, demand to see a warrant card if they are PCSO and the advise that they only have 'citizens arrest' powers (look it up). Then demand that they call a REAL Police Officer or you will complain re assualt / false arrest.

    1. analyzer
      Trollface

      re: AC

      Simple, demand to see a warrant card

      This is the one thing that still distinguishes common scum and a beloved Police Officer.

      Common scum are not required to carry verifiable I.D. and as a result are not required to produce it upon request, unlike our venerated Police Officers.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every single one of these events happens because the photographer is a dick when approached by a copper. Fuck them. Answer the question, it takes a minute to say you are a professional photographer, here's my card and feel free to look at my photos.

    Tldr; don't be a dick or get a kicking

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Bollocks.

      The police should know better than to ask the question - the police should know the law.

      I am a photographer. I am not a professional photographer and neither am I a journalist, but nonetheless I have exactly the same rights as any other person in a public place. If the police are not trying to arrest me, or in hot pursuit, I don't even have to say hello to them - though politeness dictates I probably would.

      But there is exactly *no* reason why I should *ever* be required not to be a dick to avoid a kicking. My avoidance of dickness is for my own self respect, not because the police would give me said kicking.

      tl;dr: stand on your rights and make sure *your* public servants observe them

      p.s. want to see my images, officer? Certainly, they're be ready when I develop them. And no, you may not withdraw the dark slide.

    2. Kiwi
      FAIL

      Every single one of these events happens because the photographer is a dick when approached by a copper.

      Total FAIL. The person who was at fault was the member of the public who was trying to pretend that she was a "copper". She wasn't, and had no authority.

      Care to try again?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Total FAIL. "

        It's a real shame it took him two days to find the story and make such a ridiculous comment. If only he'd been the first commenter, he might have been in the running for the all time highest number of down votes.

    3. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Every single one of these events happens because the photographer is a dick when approached by a copper. Fuck them. Answer the question, it takes a minute to say you are a professional photographer, here's my card and feel free to look at my photos."

      This person wasn't a cop. So, what's your excuse now?

    4. Maty

      Umm... I can see why you chose 'anonymous coward' to post that comment.

      Make that 'anonymous coward with poor reading skills' as the photographer was not 'approached by a copper'. In this event, the photographer was approached by a member of the public who seemd to think she was a copper.

      You wouldn't be of that persuasion yourself perhaps?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sussex police are heavy handed lazy twats

    Lived in Brighton for a long time.

    When my house was broken into while i was in it... they couldn't be bothered to attend rather drawing out the call until i chased the intruder away. Then they asked me to come to the station to report the crime.

    My mate had 7 police smash his door down on a Sunday afternoon while he was out and just left it unsecured until he returned the next day. Also on a mistaken charge.

    As for the police knowing the law... I was busted with some weed at the time there was some changes in the law about weed. I asked the policeman what the law was... his reply "All you need to know sunshine is that you're in trouble".

    No surprise the boss is happy with them, this is exactly the attitude the whole force cultivates.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was once accosted by someone in plain clothes in the West End who identified themselves verbally as a police officer. They asked me if I was sober and to explain what I had been doing that night and I refused. He seemed surprised by this and as his partner turned up I explained that I wasn't going to do so to without him showing some ID. His partner instantly produced a warrant card apologised that I hadn't been shown one before.

    I had no problems then explaining that I was stone cold sober. I'd been working until 8pm been out for a bite to eat and was now heading home. Apparently they were looking for a bloke who was wearing a similar coat and trousers to mine who had been harassing members of the public for money. He was supposedly drunk and smelled awful to which I said I'd had a shower before leaving work. I said I hadn't seen anyone like that and was I needed further? Plod said no because they'd just spotted him across the road. He was wearing exactly the same jacket as me and was obviously hammered.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "His partner instantly produced a warrant card apologised that I hadn't been shown one before."

      That's why they send them out in pairs. Good cop, bad cop. (Or one can read, the other can write)

  31. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
    Trollface

    Time for an experiment.

    I'm going to head into town and take some pictures. Some of churches. Some of mosques. Some of police and police stations.

    Wonder how it'll go? I'll report back, if I can.

    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: Time for an experiment.

      So, I went off to photograph some things around town. Churches, a mosque, city council, police station, and I got stopped by an officer of the law!

      ....who wanted to know what kind of camera I used and we had a lovely chat about lenses.

      Yep, no issues at all. :)

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