Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/22/police_photos_restricted/

Police wrong to spy on peace campaigner

Met told to destroy pics

By John Oates

Posted in Law, 22nd May 2009 12:15 GMT

Photographs of a peace campaigner taken during a surveillance operation by the Metropolitan Police should be destroyed, because the images were a disproportionate infringement of his human rights.

The court of appeal ruled yesterday in favour of Andrew Wood, who had committed no offence, the Beeb reports. Wood lost his original casein June last year. He was a media spokesman for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

The Met will now have to destroy the pictures and review its wider retention policy, unless it appeals the ruling.

Lord Justice Dyson said: "The retention by the police of photographs taken of persons who have not committed an offence, and who are not even suspected of having committed an offence, is always a serious matter."

Wood attended Reed Elsevier's annual general meeting to object to it running the Spearhead arms fair. He bought a share in the firm in order to attend the meeting. Police photographed him leaving the meeting in 2005, questioned him and followed him to the tube station. Wood was not arrested.

The police routinely use Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) to take video and still images of protestors. This can continue, but officers will have to change the way they keep such images. ®