Teenage Photographer Wins Settlement From London Police

16-year-old photographer Jules Mattsson has won a settlement from the London Metropolitan Police after being stopped and detained last year while photographing the Armed Forces Day parade. Here’s Mattsson’s account of what happened:

I was detained by Police in Romford after taking an image of a cadet unit who were about to march in a massive parade in front of thousands of people with cameras. I was told it was an offence to photograph a child, then an offence to photograph the military, then an offence to photograph the police then that I was a threat under the terrorism act. I was frog marched with my arm painfully twisted away from the public eye and any witnesses and pushed down a set of stairs. The police illegally tried to take my details on several occasions also. [#]

In addition to the financial settlement paid to Mattsson early last week, the police department has also apologized for its actions.

(via PressGazette via Pixiq)

  • Cochese

    Haha, that’s just wonderful. That’s a massive win for the photographer! Hopefully it sets a precedent.

  • John

    Man that kid has balls!  Good for him, I don’t think I would have been so brazen with the police, even if he was well within his rights.  Police by law made need a reason to detain you, but that pretty much doesn’t stop them from doing whatever they want, whenever they feel like it.

  • Dennis Marciniak

    You see loads of these videos and you think, “Yeah.. but the photographer was a bit aggressive maybe not completely within their legal right”. Leave it to a 16 year old to show photographers how to properly handle these situations.

  • Steven Blackwood

    Just don’t film in Illinois or face 15 years (unless maybe if you do it with the sound off).

  • Cmnhb

    Thanks Jules. 

  • xpirex

    Listen to that police officer just making it up as as he goes along… what a list of phoney accusations and charges.. and what a humiliation for them by a kid who knows his rights and the law. Imagine what they get away with with people that are not so well informed. Utter manipulation and misuse of justice and the powers bestowed upon then supposedly to serve the public not abuse them. pfft..

  • John

    Clearly the settlement needs to come directly out of the pockets of the offers involved.  That should cut down on this stupidity.

  • Seoras

    While the police were wrong (things have changed since the incident) I cannot help but think the 16yr old was a something of an obnoxious dick. If he had approached the situation differently (professionally ?), perhaps approaching the relevant authorities in the first instance he might not have had the hassle.

  • Igogosh

    They detained him for breaching/breaking peace. All he had to do was ask who was made violent by his actions (apart from the cops who made up low and made assumptions). Simply be reasonable and don’t waste your time with cops. Remind them they are public employees and are sworn to uphold the constitution. If they have no signed complaint and did not observe you commit a crime/break peace they can MOVE ALONG. Photographing children is not a crime and don’t need anybody’s consent, unless you decide to use the their likeness for COMMERCIAL purposes.

  • Retor

    Did I hear that right? The policeman called the kid “stupid and gay”?
    Outrageously unprofessional.

  • Retor

    Win for the police officer if you ask me. Kid gets paid off with the taxpayer’s money, and the policeman gets to laugh about it with his mates.

    Police officer should have been disciplined, had his wages docked, then been retrained in how to do his job properly.

  • Jwmcdowall

    Photographers 1 Police 0

  • Nat

    cannot help but think the police officer was a something of an obnoxious dick.
    If he had approached the situation differently (professionally ?),
    perhaps learning the relevant laws in the first instance he
    might not have caused the hassle.

  • Tomashakin

    Approach what authorities for what? Photographing a public event from a public street doesn’t need permission from anyone… According to the blog the kid wrote (not online anymore as he’s changed his site but was at he only started recording when things had already gotten aggressive, so I imagine he started calmly and got agitated as the cops got physical. Tbh it’s probably difficult not to sound like a dick standing up for your rights with the cops at such a young age, listen carefully and they know they’re being recorded so say one thing while doing another a lot, them saying he was in the way etc. was probably BS…

  • Tomashakin

    No constitution in the UK, but otherwise agree

  • RWright

    The Chief Constable wasted paper sending a message to all forces reminding them it is not an offence to photograph a police officer, then.
    These police, who make up law as they like, should be disciplined, but they won’t be.
    I recently had to stand my ground with a policeman who tried to move me on at a fascist march.  I stayed, he muttered..

  • Casper Milktoast

    Yes, and not only that, those fine officers of the law of their own making up (aka, liars) were concerned about terrorism too. Especially from a teenager who was being less than passively submissive and stood up for what he knew were his and everyone else’s rights. Cops making up nonsensical rules and laws as they go is not nearly as obnoxious. 

    Glad at least one person has the guts to stand up for the real victims here, the cops.

  • Richard Ford

    Agree.  Don’t sue the dept.  Sue the man as an individual as he has broken the law and is therefore not a policeman and not behind their thin blue line.

  • Vesco6

    P.S. The Brown Shirts would of love this.