Photographer wins compensation from police


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The Independent Online

A photojournalist has won compensation and an apology from the Met Police after he was ordered to stop taking pictures of a military parade.

Jules Mattsson, a freelance photographer, was documenting a cadet march in Romford in June 2010 when he was ordered to put his camera away by police officers. Mr Mattsson, who was 15 years old at the time, recorded his ordeal on a video camera and captured a variety of false excuses police officers used to try and stop him taking photos. At one point an exasperated officer simply claimed that taking photos was "silly, gay and stupid".

The Independent was the first newspaper to break the story which came just months after the paper ran a high profile campaign highlighting police belligerence towards photographers. Under laws that guarantee the freedom of press in Britain, there is no restriction on photography of children, police or armed forces in a public space. There is new legislation to protect the identities of some police officers but only those working undercover or in instances where an officer genuinely believes a photographer is collecting data for terrorist purposes.

However professional and amateur photographers routinely complain that over zealous police and council officials often try to claim there are various restrictions of public photography.

Speaking to The Independent yesterday, Mr Mattsson, now 17, said: "It is important we hold the police to account on press and photography freedoms. If I hadn't recorded what had happened it would have been my word against five officers and I doubt I would have won."