A police inspector had no choice but to leave a man being detained under the Mental Health Act because of a neighbour filming the incident less than a metre away from them.
The senior uniformed officer was forced to leave his colleagues to deal with the visibly distressed patient while he tried to stop the passerby recording the medical episode on his mobile phone.
Emergency services had initially been called a welfare concern to an address in Swindon, Wilts, at around 8.30pm last night and were forced to break down the front door to save the man’s life.
The officers ended up in the street, being forced to section the man for his own safety. While they worked at the scene, a man – who claims to be the patient’s neighbour – came close to the officers and began filming.
When asked to stop, he continued to film the incident. The Wiltshire Police inspector then threatened to seize the man’s phone for evidence purposes. At this point, he walked away and stopped filming a short time later.
Following the incident, the footage recorded by the man was posted on social media. He even chose to name the patient being dealt with by officers.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said:
“We were called to reports of the concern for the safety and wellbeing of man. Officers and ambulance attended and the man was taken to a place of safety.
“While it is not illegal for members of the public to film others in a public space, there are occasions where police officers will ask people not to.
“In this particular case, the man being filmed was vulnerable and there was concern for his welfare, so officers were trying to protect his privacy and any potential investigation which may have followed.
We always urge people to be mindful of the circumstances they might be filming and any upset or distress which could be caused by their behaviour.”
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