It took police in the United Kingdom just three days to go back on their word.
Last Friday, the Association of Chief Police Officers sent out a memo warning officers to stop harassing photographers under the guise of anti-terrorism laws.
On Monday, London police detained a photographer whom they say was taking pictures in a “hostile behavior” and searched him under anti-terrorism laws.
With flashing lights and sirens, three police cars and a police van pulled up to the Merrill Lynch building that architectural photographer Grant Smith was photographing because he had not been cooperating with security guards.
According to Amateur Photographer:
Smith, who is from Australia, said that he merely declined to provide identification to the security guards, telling them: ‘I am not obliged to show it to you. I am taking photographs. I am not doing anything wrong. I am in a public space.’
The photographer was told he was being searched because he was not co-operating. ‘Under the power we have we will physically search you unless you give us the details we need, such as your address,’ an officer told him.
It is obvious Smith was only guilty of contempt of cop.
‘He was the biggest policeman I have ever seen. I just gave them the information but I said “this is such a complete nonsense, basically just because I had failed the attitude test.”‘
The photographer said this is the fifth time he has been stopped under anti-terrorism laws, all as a result of initial contact with a security gaurd. ‘They are just bullies,’ he said.