Picture credit: Don Morley

Surrey Police last month defended an officer who urged photographers to delete their pictures amid concern – later proved unfounded – that they had captured indecent photos of a toddler on Guildford High Street.

Surrey Police chiefs denied that an off-duty officer overreacted when he asked acclaimed photographer Don Morley, 76, to remove the images from his digital camera.  

Police said uniformed officers were obliged to investigate after they were alerted by a woman who had seen Morley, and his 79-year-old friend Bernard Lockley, taking photos that included her grandson.

However, the photographers maintain that it was an off-duty officer who alerted the child’s family to the picture-taking in the first place.

Asked whether he is planning to lodge an official complaint, Morley told Amateur Photographer (AP): ‘Bernard has gone off to France on holiday, still very upset about it all, and we discussed it between ourselves again before he went.

‘I have been persuaded – somewhat against my own judgement – not to make an official complaint, basically because neither of us now trust the police not to target us in other ways if we do.’

Morley said that, until the incident on 27 June, he has always supported police officers and revealed that he earned a police commendation for bravery a few years ago after he ‘waded in to thwart an armed payroll theft’.

Morley said police have not issued an apology.

The drama – first reported in AP earlier this month – was last week picked up by reporters at BBC Radio Surrey.