In an interview with Amateur Photographer, police today refused to elaborate on why they regard as ?antisocial? the taking of photographs in a public street.

Lancashire Police has stoutly defended its officers after it emerged that an amateur photographer was arrested after refusing to give his personal details to police who quizzed him under anti-terrorism legislation.

Bob Patefield and a fellow enthusiast were approached in Accrington, Lancashire and quizzed under the Terrorism Act before Christmas.

Under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act a person is not legally obliged to supply their details when asked.

However, Patefield was later told he would be required to provide his details under the ‘Police Reform Act’ and that his photography of people in the street was deemed to be ?antisocial?.

Patefeld had the presence of mind to film the whole incident, including his arrest. This can be viewed on the Guardian website here.

?I consider myself to be a very law-abiding man,? Patefield said afterwards. ?I was taking photos of everyday street goings-on. There was a Father Christmas, a piped-band and people in fancy dress.?

He said he was not aware of any complaints from members of the public.

Lancashire Police said it does not routinely stop people taking photographs in a public place but ?clearly felt that the manner in which he was positioning his [Leica] camera and the way it was making some members of the public feel, could be construed as anti-social or indecent?.

A spokeswoman added: ?The gentleman refused to co-operate on three occasions and so officers felt they had no choice but to make an arrest in order to make further enquiries into his actions.?

The spokeswoman later told us: ‘Some members of the public did speak with us and raise some concerns.’

Police released Patefield without charge. He had been held for eight hours, according to reports.


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