Will Self angry over roadside questioning by police 'on suspicion of being a sexual predator'
Monday 19 August 2013
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."
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food