Video: Police sergeant accused of threatening and swearing at bystander taking pictures of accident, with Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl urging a quick investigation

Stroud News and Journal: Police sergeant accused of threatening and swearing at accident bystander Police sergeant accused of threatening and swearing at accident bystander

A POLICE and Crime Commissioner has condemned a bully officer who threatened to lock up a man and make his life “a living hell” for photographing the scene of an accident.

The bystander was taking pictures of the aftermath of a road crash involving an elderly woman who had been removed from the scene when he was confronted.

A traffic officer, who identifies himself as Sergeant Tony Wallace, is recorded telling him: "We’ll nick you now and I will make your day a living hell, cause you'll be in that cell all day.

"What I'll probably do is I will ask for you to be remanded in custody and I will put you before the magistrate.... and they'll be like, what a tit you've been."

The Scottish officer can also be earlier heard telling the 26 year-old: "You're lucky that I didn't knock you out. I swore at you, yeah. It got your attention, though, didn't it?"

He also accuses the man of 'taking the piss' and says he was acting 'out of order' and obstructing him in his duty.

The officer seized the man's camera and orders him to delete the images on it and stands over him as he scrolls through them before agreeing he can keep them all.

The man, who has asked not to be named, was so stunned by the officer's behaviour he recorded the 12-minute confrontation on his mobile phone and posted it on YouTube.

The clip begins with the caption: "He takes the camera out of my hands, gets right in my face to the point where he's spitting at me, swears at me several times, says the camera is being seized and I am going to be arrested for obstructing a police officer.

"After about a minute or two of this confrontation I got my phone out but was afraid he would seize this too, however he didn't, and I began filiming in a subtle way."

The photographer insists he took no pictures of anyone who was injured at the scene in Churchdown, Gloucestershire.

Gloucestershire Police said the officer was now facing a misconduct probe.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said he had asked the force to investigate the matter 'with the utmost urgency'.

“It appears the officer involved has fallen far short of the behaviour expected and required by the constabulary,” he said.

"I have only seen the public-facing evidence, but it appears the officer swore at a member of the public, follows that up by saying he was lucky not to have been assaulted by the police, is threatened with arrest, mistreatment and a remand in custody.

"I appreciate the work of the police can be very challenging, but no matter what the situation they should deal with the public in a civil and responsible manner at all times.

"It is the responsibility of the Chief Constable to manage complaints against police officers, my role is to hold the police to account."

Mr Surl added: "I hope this incident will not cause the public to lose faith in the good work done every day by the majority of hard working, dedicated officers which is why I have asked for this issue to be dealt-with with the utmost urgency."

The amateur photographer posted the video just hours after the incident on November 19.

He said: "I turned up there and I started taking pictures.

"It’s round the corner from where I live and I was on the way to the shop. I usually take photos at the airport.

"I thought as I was local I might as well get some photos. I know I’m allowed to take pictures on public land.

"At the time there was no police tape cordoning off the road, the ambulance had gone, everyone had gone.

"He asked what news organisation I worked for and I declined to comment."

The 86 year-old woman who was knocked down was treated at the scene but died later at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.

Gloucestershire police said: "All police officers in Gloucestershire take an oath to ‘serve the public with respect to all people’.

"Any officer found to breach this oath or any allegations or complaints made about officers are thoroughly and robustly investigated.

"Regarding this particular incident, there is currently a misconduct investigation ongoing and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

Comments (7)

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5:27pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Dave the producer says...

This truly appalling behaviour on the part of the Police Officer. The harassment of photographers is a recurring problem and the ACPO Guidelines of 2007 have been disregarded in this instance.
"If someone who is distressed or bereaved asks for police to intervene to prevent members of the media filming or photographing them, we may pass on their request but we have no power to prevent or restrict media activity."

Certainly, the officer has over-stepped the mark by threatening the photographer. Will he now be charged with threatening behaviour? I bet the photographer would have faced such a charge if he had made the threats against the officer.

We can do without bullies like this in our police forces.
This truly appalling behaviour on the part of the Police Officer. The harassment of photographers is a recurring problem and the ACPO Guidelines of 2007 have been disregarded in this instance. "If someone who is distressed or bereaved asks for police to intervene to prevent members of the media filming or photographing them, we may pass on their request but we have no power to prevent or restrict media activity." Certainly, the officer has over-stepped the mark by threatening the photographer. Will he now be charged with threatening behaviour? I bet the photographer would have faced such a charge if he had made the threats against the officer. We can do without bullies like this in our police forces. Dave the producer
  • Score: 15

5:41pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Gloucestershire Ratepayer! says...

Having seen the video, the policeman was out of order and I hope he gets punished, lets see how transparent the internal review by his own force is, no doubt it will get swept under the carpet as usual, and we will hear no nore, that would make a mockery of being held accountable
Having seen the video, the policeman was out of order and I hope he gets punished, lets see how transparent the internal review by his own force is, no doubt it will get swept under the carpet as usual, and we will hear no nore, that would make a mockery of being held accountable Gloucestershire Ratepayer!
  • Score: 11

6:26pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Yawn.... says...

The press/public can take photos from OUTSIDE a cordon without restriction. Once they are inside the scene they are there only with the permission of the Senior Officer and are guided as to what they can photograph.
This person wasted at least 15 minutes of the officer's time and we do not know what was said prior to the recording.
Perhaps if he had shown the photos that were taken at the beginning none of this would have happened.
I have every sympathy for the poor Officer who had to put up with this argumentative person and the unidentified voice in the background was also agreeing with the officer. Perhaps this is indicative of the reality behind the situation.
If it had been my relative lying in the road dying, or the driver of the vehicle I would not want some idiot member of the public pointing his camera at me.
The press/public can take photos from OUTSIDE a cordon without restriction. Once they are inside the scene they are there only with the permission of the Senior Officer and are guided as to what they can photograph. This person wasted at least 15 minutes of the officer's time and we do not know what was said prior to the recording. Perhaps if he had shown the photos that were taken at the beginning none of this would have happened. I have every sympathy for the poor Officer who had to put up with this argumentative person and the unidentified voice in the background was also agreeing with the officer. Perhaps this is indicative of the reality behind the situation. If it had been my relative lying in the road dying, or the driver of the vehicle I would not want some idiot member of the public pointing his camera at me. Yawn....
  • Score: -21

7:07pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Micky Denne says...

POOR OFFICER INDEED!!!! WHAT ABOUT ALL HIS TRANING
LOVELY PENSIONS AT AT EARLY AGE
THEN STRAIGHT INTO WELL PAID SECURIITY JOBS WITH THE LADS
SERVING THE PUBLIC PASSED BY YEARS AGO,
GETTING SLOWLY WORSE, YEAR ON YEAR
PC PLOD DIED YEARS AGO
ALL THEY NEES IS DRIVING SHOES,
POOR OFFICER INDEED!!!! WHAT ABOUT ALL HIS TRANING LOVELY PENSIONS AT AT EARLY AGE THEN STRAIGHT INTO WELL PAID SECURIITY JOBS WITH THE LADS SERVING THE PUBLIC PASSED BY YEARS AGO, GETTING SLOWLY WORSE, YEAR ON YEAR PC PLOD DIED YEARS AGO ALL THEY NEES IS DRIVING SHOES, Micky Denne
  • Score: 4

7:15pm Tue 7 Jan 14

mazette says...

Yawn....

Are you a "retired" Police Officer? or is it that you just can't read or see properly?,

THERE WAS NO CORDON !!! check the video, and anyway perhaps the "poor" Police Sergent (God help us if this is Sergent quality) could have asked to check the pictures first instead of threatening to "Knock him out" etc and "him" wasting 15 minutes of tax payers money so he could break the law himself and pretend to be clever!!.

This "Poor Police Officer?" broke the "LAW" on several different counts and there is enough evidence of that in the video to convict him, and that is what should be done.

This is almost certainly happening every day around Britain, don't' condone it, because that is "indicative" of an idiot supporting at best an law ignorant copper, or at worst one that is willing to break the law to suit himself!, as opposed to a law abiding "Citizen" lawfully (and responsibly) taking photographs.

Yes the Police by and large do a good job, and that is why these bad apples need rooting out so the barrel is not contaminated.
Yawn.... Are you a "retired" Police Officer? or is it that you just can't read or see properly?, THERE WAS NO CORDON !!! check the video, and anyway perhaps the "poor" Police Sergent (God help us if this is Sergent quality) could have asked to check the pictures first instead of threatening to "Knock him out" etc and "him" wasting 15 minutes of tax payers money so he could break the law himself and pretend to be clever!!. This "Poor Police Officer?" broke the "LAW" on several different counts and there is enough evidence of that in the video to convict him, and that is what should be done. This is almost certainly happening every day around Britain, don't' condone it, because that is "indicative" of an idiot supporting at best an law ignorant copper, or at worst one that is willing to break the law to suit himself!, as opposed to a law abiding "Citizen" lawfully (and responsibly) taking photographs. Yes the Police by and large do a good job, and that is why these bad apples need rooting out so the barrel is not contaminated. mazette
  • Score: 13

9:28pm Tue 7 Jan 14

A Stroud Worm says...

The policeman mentioned the Echo and the Citizen - but not the SNJ.

Definitely his training must be reviewed.
The policeman mentioned the Echo and the Citizen - but not the SNJ. Definitely his training must be reviewed. A Stroud Worm
  • Score: 3

12:29pm Wed 8 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

This type of arrogant/condescendi
ng behaviour is becoming endemic in our police.
I was riding home one evening when an accident forced the police to close the road, an officer was positioned at a roundabout to redirect traffic back the way they came, my home happens to be in the no through road served by the roundabout, at which point the officer demanded I stop and remove my helmet and subjected me to, inappropriate questioning, with an aggressive, arrogant and condescending manner; just one of a few encounters of such a nature, which far outweighs the positive ones.
I’m increasingly of the opinion ‘the act of applying to become a police officer should automatically disallow the aplicant’.
This type of arrogant/condescendi ng behaviour is becoming endemic in our police. I was riding home one evening when an accident forced the police to close the road, an officer was positioned at a roundabout to redirect traffic back the way they came, my home happens to be in the no through road served by the roundabout, at which point the officer demanded I stop and remove my helmet and subjected me to, inappropriate questioning, with an aggressive, arrogant and condescending manner; just one of a few encounters of such a nature, which far outweighs the positive ones. I’m increasingly of the opinion ‘the act of applying to become a police officer should automatically disallow the aplicant’. dimreepr
  • Score: 2

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