Congratulations to Romford Police

Police Bully 15 Year Old Photographer With Fake Laws

No doubt you’ve all seen and heard the audio recordings of 15 year old photographer Jules Mattsson being harassed by the Police. What was the young photographer doing? He was photographing Police Cadets (probably older than him) at the Armed Forces Day Parade; a day during which we are supposed to support the brave men and women of the armed forces. As a photojournalist in the making, Jules decided to photograph the event. The Police decided that this was illegal and continued to make up laws to stop the young photographer working and as a result publicising the event. Please have a listen to the the recording which Jules had the foresight to make during his ordeal:

Tonight I was invited to speak at the NUJ London Photographers’ Branch. During my talk, as I looked through the crowd, I saw a young face. Someone who didn’t belong as he was far too young; I’d even go as far as saying almost child like – it was Jules Mattson. I was already upset by what I had heard but to see who Jules is, absolutely made me disgusted in the behaviour of the Police officers involved in bullying him. They should all be ashamed and I for one hope they will be disciplined for their cowardice. I have several friends in various Police forces around the country and I absolutely respect the job that is done; any officer who has come in contact with me will vouch for this. However, this bullying of a 16 year old boy is absolutely disgraceful.

I took a photograph of Jules today; he asked me not to publish it as he does not want the Police to target him. What a sad state of affairs; I do hope the officers in question read this.

Further Reading

Young photojournalist detained for army cadet pics (BJP)

Officers claim they don’t need law to stop photographer taking pictures (The Independent)

Read Police officers talking about the incident on the Police Specials forum; makes very interesting reading.

22 responses to “Congratulations to Romford Police

  1. I’m disgusted by this, and appalled by the fact that the police officer doesn’t appear to be able to conjure up a law to stitch him up with!

    If we are to lose 35,000 police, then lets hope this ill-informed idiot is one of the first to go!

    • It would be a tragedy to loose such a number of officers, but indeed if it has to be done, I hope everyone involved in this bullying incident of a 16 year old photographer is made to leave the force.

  2. Respect to Jules… he held his ground in a very dignified manner. The only way this sort of behaviour is ever going to end is when police who behave in this manner actually start getting prosecuted – assuming their own actions have broken laws, which in many of these cases it seems is the case.
    While the apology and compensation given recently to Vallee & Parkinson are positive, these type of “apologies” are hardly likely to act as a deterrent to other officers overstepping the law, as at the end of the day there are still zero negative consequences on the actual individuals involved.

  3. It’s also interesting that Jules had the presence of mind to record the entire conversation: it comes to something when photographers have to adopt such measures, although I must admit that I always carry a digital voice recorder now for the same reason..

  4. I would love to know who the offices on the street are been instructed by, I have a lot of sympathy for the police, they seem to have to do a difficult job with their hands tied behind their back, but this seems to be a situations were one officer got it wrong and the whole thing snowballed. The ONLY way this country will reduce any real crime is with the help of the general public but with incidents like this is help really going to be forthcoming?

    • I agree; the Police need to be educated and trained better. It’s occasions like this that highlights just how little some officers know about the law and their rights. It’s every citizen’s right (naturally I include photojournalists in this statement) to know their rights and stand up for them. The Police, nor anybody else, has the right to erode our freedoms.

  5. Some very interesting, and somewhat refreshing, conversation on that Police Specials forum…. clear that a few people there also have misconceptions of the law, but also that many police are genuinely concerned at this type of behaviour by their colleagues.

  6. Thanks Edmond and all our colleagues in the NUJ LPB and everybody else for supporting my son through this.

    • Absolute pleasure. It was great to meet Jules in person and I for one commend his cool approach and maturity during the entire incident. Also the fact that he recorded the incident means that hopefully the Police will discipline those in question and also re-train them.

  7. Absolutely. It makes you think where are things going if we have to carry a recorder with us on the job. I’ve never done it, don’t feel its in my job description if you know what I mean? I think my clapped out mobile phone does have a recording facility but don’t have a clue how to use it!

  8. How many officers were involved? And were they ‘proper’ police or community support? I seemed to hear several voices. I can imagine that those arriving later would have considered Jules to be bolshy and half-hysterical (not realising that it was their colleagues that had made him that way). There’s a grim inevitability about how these situations develop.
    I think Jules showed incredible confidence, presence of mind, and determination. In a world full of ‘sheep’ who would have meekly obeyed any instructions, he’s a credit to his (oft-maligned) age group.
    As for the police, well its easy to despair. On a positive note I suppose its a sign that no human can be expected to know all the thousands of laws and regulations brought in under Labour. But if they have given up and resorted to just ‘do it coz I say so’, then we are on a steep downward slope.

    • I think young Jules did a sterling job of keeping cool and polite and sticking up for his rights. As far as the Police, it would be unfair to think they would know all the laws, but making stuff up and bullying just isn’t on.

  9. “I don’t have to have any law to take your details.”!!!!! Wow.. congratulations to Jules for handling that so calmly… I certainly wouldn’t have had that piece of mind when i was 16… very very well done. I’m disgusted but can sadly report that this behaviour from police is also common in NZ.

  10. Pingback: Police Bullying Victim « Photo This & That

  11. I was there

    This young idiot gives a very one sided view of events and ironically does’t post onto youtube the beginning of the conversation, where he deliberatley provokes the police officer taking pictures inches from his face.
    The facts are, the narrow area where the parade was forming up was being congested and all members of the public where being kept out of the form up area, not just this boy. My parents tried to reach me in this area and was told the area was cordened off for safety and security reasons. Mainly I suspect as there were armed soldiers about to parade from the Royal Anglian Regiment and young cadets and bands there and it was becoming very congested.
    My parent tried to reach me in the cordened area (i was in uniform with my youth group) but were prevented by officers and rightly so. Being law abiding people they moved back and didn’t make a scene.
    The boy was an irritant to all concerned and the police officer was firm, but courteous.
    I would hapily give evidence against this obvious agitator and felt that the officer was at all time professional.

    • Phil,
      Thanks for your comment; as I wasn’t there, naturally i can’t comment on anything to do with what happened; i can however listen to the recording and see how the officers conducted themselves. It is not up to the Police service to make up the law as it pleases them and I would suggest that in this instance, the officers who can be heard, were not really conducting themselves as officers of the law should. If you haven’t already read it, have a look at the link to the Police Specials forum where the majority of the officers there agree that the few involved in this incident conducted themselves wrongly.
      I’d just like to add that healthy debate is a wonderful thing but perhaps starting a sentence with “young idiot” may not be the best intro.

  12. In response to this, if the area was indeed cordoned off how was I able to just walk into it?

    There were several bystanders in the area, not being asked to leave. I am aware that AFTER I was detained the police decided to prevent entry to the area; I an aware of this because two other journalists who tried to come to help, but they had to go around to get there.

    Alas, if the police wanted me to leave a closed area, why did the incident start with them telling me that taking photos was illegal rather than asking me to leave?

    As for the beginning, that’s actually false. I didn’t start recording or photographing the police until they became very aggressive towards me. As for distance, if they’re grabbing me and pulling me very close, I can’t help the distance. I tried to step a bit back and was again grabbed.

    Furthermore, the area was not particularly congested, as evidenced by the images.

    Now, I really shouldn’t be saying too much about the incident for legal reasons, but I believe I am just repeating what i’m already wrote public-ally on my blog so nothing new here. Phil, I would strongly suggest you read some of the excellent analysis of the events online.

    If you claim to have been there, you will have seen me being pulled aside and told to give my details, then aggressively pulled aside by police before I actually raised the camera to my eye to record the police doing this; at no point before the police stopped me did I photograph them, so the idea that I somehow provoked this by photographing the police is clearly nonsensical. The image that started it, of the cadet unit, is clearly visible in the slideshow and I had hardly taken any at this point.

    Oh, and it was hardly ‘narrow’ now was it?

  13. Well done Jules!
    I wish I was as mature when I was 16..
    Some good photos too!

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