Accrington police arrest photographer…

Saturday, February 27 2010

deem taking photos constitutes ‘anti-social behaviour’.

The PCSO who stopped amateur photographer Bob Patefield. Still from Guardian video.

According to the Home Office website the role of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) is to

support the work of your local police force and provide a visible and reassuring presence on the streets. It is a paid role, although you won’t have the same powers as a regular officer.

Police Community Support Officers particularly work to reassure the public and to tackle the social menace of anti-social behaviour.

When amateur photographer Bob Patefield was stopped by a PCSO in Accrington and asked for his name and address under section 44 of the Terrorism Act he refused and was permitted to leave. A few moments later he was then stopped by the police and asked for his details again. He refused. Finally, he was stopped a third time, and this time when he refused to give his details he was told that his photography constituted ‘ant-social behaviour’. He was then arrested, held for 8 hours and then released without charge.

The Guardian published a full report, which includes Mr Patefield’s own video of his three confrontations. Highly recommended reading and viewing for anyone who contemplates taking photographs in a public place.




  1. Police Community Support Officers – for those who are not good enough even to join the Transport Police!!

    AND they get the backing of their superiors!! Do they not live in the real world??

    We seem to be living in a police state where they are not accountable to anyone no matter how stupid their actions!

  2. This just runs and runs. However much the higher up people say it is OK to take photos, the message doesn’t filter down to the jobsworths on the ground. Matters weren’t helped when Gordon Brown gave such a mealy mouthed response to a petition on this issue; this really needs a straight answer to be given loud and clear.

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