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City Police still using Terror Act to bother photographers

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Smith attempted to obtain further explanation from the police in respect of their actions. He claims: "The answer they gave was because of my obstructive and non-compliant attitude."

At the end of the search, the police departed, having failed to return Smith’s mobile phone to him. This, in ordinary circumstances, might be considered theft - although s.45(2) of the Terrorism Act does entitle a PC to seize any item which "he reasonably suspects is intended to be used in connection with terrorism".

The difficulty in this case is that if the PC genuinely believed Smith to be carrying the tools of terror on him, it was clearly perverse to leave him free to carry out the rest of his mission, photographing buildings around the City of London.

We asked the City of London Police to comment on this incident – specifically asking them for their views on the removal of the phone and whether it constituted theft. An official spokeswoman told us: "A man was spoken to by officers yesterday after police were called by security personnel. He was later searched under terrorism powers."

What about the phone? No comment.

What about suggestions that the City of London continues to abuse s44 powers long after other forces have learned their lesson? She added: "We continue to work to make sure the city remains a safe place to work and visit."

Unless, presumably, your work includes taking photographs, in which case the safety of neither yourself nor your property can be guaranteed. ®

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