A 6th form student from Stoke Newington School, was stopped from taking pictures at an Armed Forces Day parade in Romford, on Saturday.
Jules Mattsson who describes himself on his twitter page, as a photojournalist, libertarian socialist and Avid Reader, went into detail on his blog, saying: “I was told by the police I was breaching the terrorism act, public order act, various misc copyright and child protection laws and otherwise being an “Agitator”.
“The incident started when I took an image (not a very good one it seems) of a Police Cadet unit forming up to take part in an Armed Forces Day parade. I was quickly and aggressively stopped by one of their adult officers asking me who I worked for. I responded that I was a freelance and upon being told I needed parental permission to photograph them, I explained this was a public event in a public place and that I didn’t for editorial use.
“She then demanded my details and when I declined, I was quickly pulled aside by police officers.”
This is when Mattsson began recording the incident, but was soon prevented by an officer who demanded his details, which he declined to give.
He was told he was considered a threat, under the terrorism act, for photographing a police officer and had his camera snatched from around his neck, detained, frog marched away before he claims, he was pushed down some stairs and told they, [police] were concerned for his safety.
Eventually an arrest was prevented, by the intervention of an NUJ LPB welfare officer and was released, but not until after the parade he was attempting to cover was over.
Jules Mattsson maintains he is still in pain and spent several hours in hospital on Sunday, as a result of the incident, suffering ‘severe and debilitating’ back pain from being pushed down the steps by the police.
Jules Mattsson’s run in with the police, came 24 hours after Journalists, Marc Vallee and Jason Parkinson were awarded compensation by the Met police in an out of court settlement, after they were verbally assaulted and prevented from covering a demonstration.
A statement regarding Jules Mattssons incident, has since been released by the Met police:
It is clearly not the intention of the MPS to prevent people from taking photographs, although, as the public would expect, officers will remain vigilant, particularly in crowded public places.
Any allegations or complaints about police treatment of photographers are taken very seriously by the MPS. Anyone who is unhappy with the actions of individual police officers can make a formal complaint, which will be thoroughly investigated.
Although at this time we have not received a complaint about this incident and no allegations of crime have been made, we will investigate the circumstances.
Our officers do receive guidance around the issue of photography through briefings and internal communications and we continue to drive this work forward.