CAMPAIGNERS have criticised police for taking their photos at Southend Airport.
Greenpeace Southend members were invited to talk with Liberal Democrat transport spokesman, MP Norman Baker, about the site plans in the airport’s cafe, which is open to the public.
Lewes MP Mr Baker visited the site and met local members of Greenpeace and the anti-airport [extension] group, Stop Airport Expansion [Extension] Now.
Plans to extend the airport are up for consultation and the politician wanted to hear views from protest groups.
Greenpeace member Sheena Walker explained how police officers with cameras had made her feel uncomfortable.
She said: “This was neither a protest or demonstration. This was a meeting we were invited to.
“The situation was not very nice. It was intimidating and unpleasant.”
Rochford chief inspector Andy Prophet claimed he had gained information prior to the meeting on Wednesday, July 8, that suggested people might disrupt the airport.
He added: “On the basis of this information, I took the decision to allow officers to use cameras.
“Clearly this tactic is intrusive and must be considered on a case by case basis.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I am able to report that the protest was a perfectly peaceful event and as such, I would like to assure anyone involved in the protest that all images obtained have been destroyed.”
The taking of images is a tactic employed by Essex Police in a variety of situations to prevent crime and disorder.
Both the taking of images and any subsequent retention of those images must be justified.