I have been suffering harassment from a neighbour recently. I decided to invest in a camera so that I could collect evidence of harassment and bullying that I have been the victim of.
The neighbour approached me when I was in my back garden the other day. Before they could even get a chance to speak, I immediately took out my camera and started recording them. The neighbour told me to "put that off right now or I will phone the police". I continued recording the conversation with the neighbour, informing them that it was my right to record anyone in public. I was standing in my own back garden at the time that I recorded the footage, with the camera pointed towards them standing at their back door. After arguing with them for some time, they said to me "don't be ********ing cheeky with me". I told them that swearing at me could be considered a breach of the peace. They slammed the door on me.
The next day, the police arrived at my door to speak to me. They told me that I was not being charged, but that they were just wanted to speak to me regarding a complaint from a neighbour. The police were friendly enough with me, but told me that the had to inform me of the laws on recording people.I told the police that I believed that it was my right to record anyone in public, even without their consent as they have no expectation of privacy. The officer told me that my information was wrong.The officer told me that I am not allowed to record people, even in public without their consent. I asked "under what law ?". He replied that it was human rights and also breach of the peace as the neighbour claimed that they had felt "threatened" by my use of the camera.
The officer told me to delete the footage that I had taken as it would be illegal for me to keep the data. He said that if the video ended showing up somewhere - e.g. online - that the neighbour could "take it all the way". I complied with the officer and deleted the footage; however, I had thought that only a court could order me to delete the video.
I was sure that I had the right to record anyone in public (even the police themselves). If you are in public you have no "expectation of privacy" and therefore it would not be a violation of human rights as you have not invaded their privacy in the first place.The officer has told me not to record people again or I could be charged.
The officer did try to be helpful and has provided me with the phone number of the local community officer. I have been told that in future, I should contact this community officer if there is a confrontation with the neighbours.
Are the police correct regarding the law on recording in public ?The reason I ask is that I believe that the officer may be misinformed.I do not mean to sound arrogant, but even the police *can* be wrong sometimes, even in instances regarding law.
It is of great concern to me as my camera is the last line of defence against harassment from the neighbour and my only way to collect evidence should the neighbour start on me when no other witnesses are present.