A remarkable and disquieting piece of footage over at the Oxford Times site. Stephen Russell, in his late 50s, was on a trip to buy fish and chips in Kidlington High Street when he spotted police swarming around. He had his camera with him and took four photos because it was unusual to see so much action in the village.
An officer wrongly demanded the ex-RAF engineer delete the photos. Mr Russell rightly refused – it is not illegal to photograph police in a public place.
He was then searched using powers under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act,.
He recorded the incident. Go and watch the footage. It's simply astonishing. Amongst other things, the fool of a bullying, overbearing policeman said, to a law-abiding member of the public who had done nothing wrong
You are a stranger in Kidlington – tell me who you are – what is your reason for being here
On what possible basis was any of that asked? We don't live in a country in which the police can demand our papers, to state our business. Moreover, just look at the way this oaf treats a palpably honest and reasonable member of the public. The domineering "I'm in charge, you justify yourself to me" attitude is typical of the way that the police are working very hard to lose the confidence of the law-abiding majority, who no longer feel that they're on our side.
Moreover, what absurd bit of self-serving sophistry – total dishonesty, really – to use Terrorism Act powers to search this man. He was very, very obviously not a terrorist. It is behaviour like this that undermines belief in the government's terror agenda and shows that powers such as these can't be given to officers, because they abuse them. The officer should now be required to justify his use of Terrorism Act powers in this case and if he can't, then he should be disciplined.
Let me say this loud and clear, so that there's no mistaking it:
PC Steve Burchett, you are a disgrace.
1) how fortunate that Mr Russell was able to record this incident. Given the footage, the police should take is seriously – if he had not, it would no doubt have been a "one person's word against another" damp squib.
2) cases like this make me think, more and more, that there needs to be a right to photograph police officers enshrined in law. What do you think about that..?
By Alex Deane