12:52pm Tuesday 7th January 2014
By Gazette reporter
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."
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