Police search photographer using anti-terrorism laws

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The Independent Online

Seven police officers used anti-terror legislation to stop and search an award-winning photographer who was wearing a badge that said: "I am not a terrorist".

Grant Smith, an architectural photographer who worked on the construction of The Gherkin and the Millennium Bridge, was stopped and searched under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act in central London.

It comes days after a memo was sent to all police forces in England and Wales warning officers to stop using terror laws to harass innocent photographers. The memo was sent after The Independent forced senior officers to admit the controversial legislation is being widely misused.

But yesterday's incident shows it is still ongoing. Mr Smith, 53, was taking pictures of Christ Church, in Newgate, when a security guard from nearby bank Merrill Lynch asked for identification. When he refused, the police were called.

Mr Smith said: "A Police Community Support Officer asked me what I was doing. I said it was obvious and he told me he had to question me otherwise he was not doing his job properly. The next thing I knew three police cars with their sirens blaring came round the corner. Again they asked what I was doing." Mr Smith gave the officers his name.

A spokesman from the City of London Police said: "When questioned by officers, the man declined to give any explanation. He was therefore informed that, in light of the concerns of security staff, and in the absence of an explanation, he would be searched under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000."