The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Marcus Potter, who has submitted numerous other videos to the CopBlock Network, as well. It was shared via the CopBlock Submissions Page.
Date of Incident: August 27,2016
Officers Involved: Police Constable Lizzie Hopkins 759QK, PC Gemma Harrow 283QK, Chief Inspector Steven Wright
Department Involved: Metropolitan Police Service
Department Phone No.: +44 20 7230 1212
Department Email Address: [email protected]
I was videotaping police officers outside Wembley Stadium and saw a marked Metropolitan Police Service car driving towards me. I switched my camera on and recorded the car. Shortly after the car came to a stop in front of me.
A female police officer, who I now know to be PC Lizzie Hopkins 759QK, asked me, “are you alright? “and another female police officer, who I now know to be PC Gemma Harrow 283QK, asked me to put my video camera down. I refused to do so and PC Hopkins asked me, “Is there any particular reason why you’re filming?” I explained that “Now you’ve stopped me I’m filming for my safety” and she explained that she was “just wondering why” I was filming “that building” (Wembley Stadium).
I explained to PC Hopkins that “I have an interest in the police and I like to video record police officers”. PC Harrow said to me “Sir, can you just put that down a minute so I can talk to you? You’re outside a stadium and we need to make sure there’s a reason why you’re filming. So what’s the reason?” I explained again that “I have an interest in the police.” to which PC Harrow replied “But we weren’t driving up here before you were filming were you?” I refused to answer her question and explained to PC Harrow that “I don’t remember. It’s on my camera.” She said “OK. Well what I suggest is. What’s with the high vis jacket?” to which I replied “That’s because I’m meeting a friend possibly and I’ve told him that I’ll be wearing it.” to which HARROW replied “OK” and asked me “What are you doing in this area? Have you got tickets to the match?” I said “Thanks, bye.” and giggled slightly.
Harrow then spoke to Hopkins. Hopkins exited the car and introduced herself and Harrow to me using their first names. Hopkns explained “We are a little concerned as to why you’re here. It’s quite a sensitive area and there is an event going on in the stadium today. Obviously you’re standing here with your camera on and you’re filming people and you can’t really give us a real reason as to why you’re doing that.” I said to Hopkins, “correct.” and she asked me to repeat myself. I did so to which she replied, “I know you don’t have to give us a reason, but I feel that we wanna search you for anything that might be on you that we think’s inappropriate. Do you understand that?”
I confirmed that I did saying, “but I would like you give me all of GOWISELY (Grounds, Object, Warrant Card, Identification, Station, Entitlement, Legal power, You are detained) please”. Hopkins replied that “Of course you will get GOWISELY.” and explained that “We are going to search you under section 47A (3) (…) of the Terrorism Act. You have a large bag on you.” I am PC Hopkins from Wembley Police Station. This is PC…” to which Harrow said her surname. Hopkins repeated Harrow’s surname and provided her police station, Wembley. Hopkins explained that “I am searching you because you are in an area that is sensitive today. We’ve got a lot of people here, it’s a stadium. You can see my name” to which I replied “I can see your number, 759QK.” Hopkins then stated her collar number, 759QK and I pointed my camera at her colleague before reading her collar number, 283QK to the camera.
Hopkins said, “Yeah. At this moment in time you are detained for a search. Do you understand” to which I replied “Yes.”. Hopkins said “OK. So can (…) you pop that down for me for a second?” to which I replied “No. I can’t.” Hopkins replied “So you’re going to make this a little bit more difficult for us.” to which I replied “Yes.” Hopkins sarcastically replied “OK. Brilliant.” and said “OK. I’m going to take your bag off you” to which I replied that “I’ll take it off myself, if that’s OK.” Both officers thanked me and Hopkins said, “you do that.” She also asked me “Have you got any identification on you?” to which I replied “No comment.” and “Have you got anything that might harm me or my colleague while we do this?” I did not reply and Hopkins repeated her last question to which I replied, “Good question. Absolutely not.” Hopkins said “Wonderful, that’s always good.” and asked me “Do you live locally?” She also said “I’m not asking you for your details or anything like that because you’re obviously going to give me a no comment.” to which I replied “Yes, I guess I will.”
I giggled a bit whilst filming Harrow searching my bag and reading a document that I had with me explaining my right of liberty which contains part of Code C of the Police And Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice. PC Hopkins asked me “What’s so funny?” to which I replied that “your reasonable suspicion is a bit shaky” to which she replied “no, it’s not really. This is a really important bit of infrastructure here in Wembley. And you’ve not been able to give us enough of a reason as to why you’re randomly filming people. So it isn’t.” I said “We’ll have to agree to disagree, that is why I’m laughing.” PC Hopkins continued explaining “If we feel it’s a little bit you know. With what’s going on in the world these days.” I said “Suspicious.” to which Hopkins replied, “Did I use the word suspicious? I felt it was unusual.” I said “No that’s something I’ve inferred because you’re detaining me for a search, so you do require reasonable suspicion for that do you not?” to which she replied “Of course I do.” She continued saying “This is our stop and account. Obviously you’re gonna be allowed to have one of these should you so wish once we’ve finished doing this. This is the record of our account for stopping and searching you. OK. If you want it. It’s entirely up to you. Which I will fill out. Terrorism, 47, 3, A, Pedestrians. And that will be our reasoning for that.” I said “OK.” She said “It’s not section one. It’s not section 23. Or anything like that. It’s section 47.”
Hopkins explained “It’s section 47A 3.” and asked, “have you got that enough on camera?” to which I replied, “yeah, thank you.” Hopkins said, “you’re not in a vehicle, so its not two and you’re not an occupant in a vehicle, so it’s not two as well. Alright?” I said “Yes.” Hopkins said, “I’m gonna start filling this out whilst my colleague.” Harrow said, “There’s his details Lizzie” and Hopkins thanked her. Harrow asked me “Do you like trains Mark?” to which I answered, “no comment.” and she replied “OK.” I asked Hopkins “Are you gonna do a name check by the way?” to which replied that she “will do yeah.” I said that I didn’t blame her. Hopkins explained that “it’s just par for our course” and asked “isn’t it?”
I agreed and Hopkins asked if I had any sun tan lotion on as “it’s a bit hot today.” I refused to tell her whether I did or not and asked Hopkins if she had any on. Hopkins explained that she always puts it on before she goes out and said “I don’t wanna burn.” I said, “I’m sure you don’t” and asked Hopkins, “do you actually reasonably suspect I am a terrorist?” She at this point made a very surprising admission that “no, that’s not what we’re doing”.
As she did not reasonably suspect me of being a terrorist by her own admission, the search was unlawful as a search can only be carried out under the Terrorism Act 2000 either with a senior police officer’s authorization in the case of a search under section 47A (which was not in force at the time) or if the officer reasonably suspects that the person being stopped is a terrorist under section 43. I have since emailed Deputy Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey to ask which senior police officer authorized the use of the section 47A search power. I received a reply from the staff officer to Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, Chief Inspector Steven Wright explaining that I was not searched under section 47A of the Terrorism Act 2000, but in fact under section 43.
This reply said that “I have checked with the officer and she has confirmed that the search was conducted under Section 43 and not Section 47 of the Terrorism Act. She has admitted ticking the wrong box on the form given to you. The officer has apologized for any inconvenience that this may have caused but did state that your manner and intrusive filming probably contributed to the mistake.”
I said to Hopkins, “OK. Thanks for that.” and Harrow said, “you can make your own assumptions Mark.” to which I replied “yes, I can thank you.”. Harrow said, “you do that.” and I explained, “but that’s why I’m asking, because I’d rather not.” Harrow said that “as you’ve been detained for a search, I’m going to continue searching you, OK?” to which I rather foolishly replied “OK”. My right hand pocket was emptied by Harrow and she had a look at the contents which were my mobile phone, credit card, debit card and autism alert card. Harrow asked me, “is this your phone” and I confirmed that “it sure is.” Harrow explained that “I’m glad about that.” and explained that she would be putting some items back “in there” and asked “OK” to which I replied “yep” and asked, “are you going to search my phone, as well?” She explained that she was just checking to see if it turns on and that “we can do an IMEI check” to see if it’s stolen.
She then gave me my jacket and bag back. I said to both officers “expect to be YouTube stars by the way,” and then repeated myself after Harrow didn’t hear me. Hopkins said, “wonderful” to which I replied, “Really? You’d really like to be on YouTube would you?” Hopkins explained that she has been on YouTube a few times and it “doesn’t bother” her. I remarked that “usually when I get searched under the Terrorism Act it’s because you do have reasonable suspicion that I’m a terrorist.” Once again Hopkins explained that “No, I didn’t personally do that, no” to which I replied that “I just misunderstood there.” Hopkins asked me what part I misunderstood to which I replied, “the reasonable suspicion to conduct the search”.
She explained that “I’ve given you our reasons. You’re in a really sensitive area here and there’s thousands and thousands of people. I don’t and loads of people don’t either. You’re standing there with your video camera which you’re refusing to put down even for two seconds. You have your bag on the front. I don’t know why you have your bag on your front. You don’t have to have it on your back, you can carry it how you like obviously, but we don’t know what’s in your bag. We don’t have x-ray vision. There’s quite a bit of suspicion going on there.” I thanked her for her explanation and she asked “Do you understand” to which I explained that I did. Hopkins asked me how the search was conducted and whether I was happy with it. I rather foolishly said that yes I was “happy with it”.
She explained that she would continue filling her form out and asked me, “do you want a copy of it?” to which I replied that I did. Hopkins explained that if I didn’t want a copy I could go to a police station and collect it there within three months or six months. I explained that it is for three months and she confessed that “you can’t remember everything” and remarked that it used to be six months. Hopkins again asked me why I was wearing the high vis to which I replied that it was worn to “identify who I am to a friend.” She explained that she understood and asked if I am meeting someone. I confirmed that I was.
I stated that Harrow had my driving license and Hopkins explained that I would have it back. Harrow handed me my driving license, to which I thanked her. I asked if I was wanted, to which she said I was not. Hopkins said that she was pleased to hear that I said my experience was reasonable and advised me that “because of the location you’re in, thousands and thousands of people are in there. Someone may call us later if you’re filming again and we may have to come back later.” I asked what would happen to which Hopkins explained that “I don’t know” and clarified that someone might call the police later if they don’t know why I am filming. I clarified that I wanted to know what the police would do to which Hopkins said that she didn’t know as it might not be her.
Hopkins asked how I would define my self-defined ethnicity code to which I replied that I would not define it, as the Met are institutionally racist. She also asked me for my height which I refused to give. I giggled a bit. Hopkins asked if there was anything else I wanted her and Harrow to explain or do for me. I asked for the exact wording of the legislation to which Hopkins explained that she didn’t know it off the top of her head and that she like all police officers has to remember all sorts of things. She said that she explained her reason, gave me the section. I thanked her and said my farewell to both officers. I then began giggling a bit and continued filming the car until it drove out of sight, at which point I switched the camera off.
– Marcus Potter