Will Self angry over roadside questioning by police 'on suspicion of being a sexual predator'

 

The writer and journalist Will Self was stopped by police while out walking with his son because they suspected he was a paedophile, he has said.

The 51-year-old, who also regularly appears on television, was enjoying a long walk with his 11-year-old when a squad car and a police van stopped him on a Yorkshire roadside.

Self, author of Great Apes and The Book of Dave, was questioned about what he and the schoolboy were doing out walking together and his details were checked on the Police National Computer (PNC), he said.

Self, an enthusiastic rambler, and his son set off in July from London to Whitby, north Yorkshire, on their walking holiday.

"No Englishman enjoying a ramble with his son should face examination by police at the roadside on suspicion of being a sexual predator," Self wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

Wearing full rambling gear and with his son carrying a walking staff, they crossed the Humber Bridge after 11 days on foot and were aiming to reach a bed and breakfast in North Dalton.

To shave some time off their walk while in Bishop Burton near Beverley, Self asked a security guard at an agricultural college if they could cut through the establishment's grounds.

His answer was a firm no.

Self said: "The insinuation that I might pose some sort of threat to young people - in a word, that I might be a paedophile - was underscored by his eyes then sliding to my drooping son. He was being absurd and offensive."

The security guard, from Bishop Burton College, went on to report him to the police who drafted in a specialist female officer from 30 miles away "since there was a presumption that a child might have to be taken into custody", said Self.

The writer said the officer had already recognised him from the BBC comedy Shooting Stars but still phoned his details through to the PNC.

"He saw the absurdity of the idea that I would deliberately approach a security guard, in full walking equipment, while abducting a child...

"Far from acting as some sort of local hero, the guard had abused a child himself, in particular by exposing my son to the spectacle of his father - who was guilty of nothing - being grilled by the police on the roadside as if he were engaged in a perverse activity."

He added: "Can there be a more disturbing parable of the Britain we have become?"

The father-of-four said he did not want the security guard punished, but wanted an apology

None was forthcoming with the school saying the guard had a second encounter with Self and his son in which he overheard them talking about walking to North Dalton, so called the police out of "concern" knowing how far it was.

Self added: "Of course, whether or not this is true, it was contradicted by what the policeman had told me - and I know who I'm more inclined to believe."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
books
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'