A teenage photojournalist has claimed victory after being wrongfully ordered to stop taking pictures of a military parade by Metropolitan Police officers.
The incident, which took place in June 2010, was recorded by the young photographer and it was this evidence which proved decisive in forcing an apology and a payment of compensation from the police authorities.
Jules Mattsson, who was 15 at the time of the incident, was taking pictures of an Armed Forces Day parade in Romford, Essex on 26th June 2010. He was approached by a group of police officers who ordered him to stop taking pictures as it constituted "anti-social behaviour" and was a "public hazard".
When the teenager refused, the officers changed tack and tried to bully the youngster into putting down his camera, claiming that taking photographs was "silly, gay and stupid".
Mattsson recorded the entire incident with his camera and later posted the footage onto the internet, before instructing legal firm Bindmans to represent him in making a complaint.
"When Mr Mattsson protested the lawfulness of his behaviour, the inspector declared it was dangerous as he was likely to get trampled on by soldiers from the parade," said solicitor Chez Cotton, who heads the department at Bindmans responsible for bringing police misconduct claims.
"The treatment of our client by the police was shocking. The inspector's comments were designed to belittle him," she added.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "The Director of Legal services, on behalf of the Commissioner, has agreed an out-of-court settlement. As well as paying compensation and meeting the legal costs... An apology has been issued."
Under the present law the police have no legal power to prevent reportage photography unless there is a genuine need to protect the identity of undercover officers, or in circumstances where a police officer genuinely believes that a photographer is collecting data for terrorism purposes.
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