AN 80-YEAR-OLD photographer has complained about “humiliating” police tactics after he was threatened with arrest while taking pictures of hen parties.
Richard Selby was taking photographs at 11pm on Friday night in West Street, Brighton, but ended up arguing with four police officers who demanded his name following a complaint.
Mr Selby, who put down his camera and went home “embarrassed”, said: “They should have apologised for stopping me and allowed me to go on about my lawful business.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said police could arrest someone who refused to give their name if they believed they may be acting in an “antisocial” way.
Mr Selby, of Mayflower Crescent, Brighton, said he was approached at first by two police community support officers who asked to see his photographs, saying there had been a complaint.
He said he showed them the pictures and they agreed there was nothing inappropriate, but asked for his name so they could run checks.
When he refused on the grounds he had done nothing wrong, the PCSOs called in an officer with powers of arrest who, in turn, called his sergeant “to decide whether I should be arrested”.
Mr Selby said: “When the sergeant arrived he threatened to arrest me if I did not give him my name because these two unnamed men, whom I had not photographed, had made unfounded allegations, which he knew to be unfounded.
“Eventually, under threat of arrest, I agreed to go home, having been embarrassed and humiliated before a multitude of people for an unnecessarily long time and prevented from pursuing my lawful profession.
“I do not know if it is police policy to stop people taking photographs of the absolutely appalling behaviour of people on the streets of Brighton.”
A police spokesman said the officer involved on Friday, July 25, was not on duty to comment.
The spokesman said: “It appears that an elderly man was stopped late at night after complaints from the public about him taking photographs of women dressed for hen nights.
“If we believe someone may be acting in an antisocial way, we can require a name and address to establish who they are. There is a power of arrest if this is refused.”