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Handcuffed photographer wins £5,250 compensation

6 January 2010

A press photographer who was arrested, handcuffed and held for eight hours in a police cell for taking pictures of a traffic accident from behind a cordon, has won £5,250 in compensation.

Despite staying behind the cordon Andrew Handley, from Milton Keynes, was approached by a police sergeant who demanded the photos and his camera.

Handley was cautioned and his fingerprints and a DNA sample were taken. He claimed damages for unlawful imprisonment and assault.

Under the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (APCO) guidelines, police are not allowed to restrict or prevent photographs from being taken by journalists in a public place.

Buckinghamshire Police Authority apologised for the arrest, rescinded the caution and agreed to pay £5,250 in compensation.

Nick Taylor, solicitor at Thompsons in Manchester, acted for Handley, a member of the NUJ.

“Members of the media have a duty to take photographs and police officers have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what they record,” Taylor said.

“The ACPO guidelines on the press clearly state it is a matter for editors to decide what is published, not the police.”

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