Police tried to stop man filming SNP motorhome

time:2023-06-02 17:10:08source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center8

Police Scotland is examining a video that appears to show two officers trying to stop a member of the public filming the seized SNP motorhome.

The vehicle was removed from outside the home of Nicola Sturgeon's mother-in-law two weeks ago as part of a probe into the party's finances.

It was spotted at a police depot in Glasgow by David Cardwell on Tuesday.

When he tried to film it on his phone, he was approached by two men in plain clothes who told him stop.

Mr Cardwell, who has given a video of his exchanges with the officers to BBC Scotland, says he was standing outside the facility's perimeter fence at the time.

Police generally do not have powers to stop people filming in public places unless they consider that some crime is being committed - for example if they are obstructing officers in the execution of their duties or if it is causing fear and alarm to other people.

One of the men told Mr Cardwell that the depot was a "restricted building and you can't take photographs here".

Mr Cardwell asked him where the signposts were identifying the facility as a restricted building and to show some identification.

The man responded by asking Mr Cardwell his own name - which he refused to do - and why he was there, before saying that was a police officer and briefly flashing a warrant card that he then tucked back into his jacket.

When Mr Cardwell asked for the officer's badge number, he replied: "I don't need to give you my badge number" and later also told him that he did not need to tell him his name.

The second officer, unlike the first, was clearly displaying his warrant card and showed it to Mr Cardwell, who was able to read his name.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "We are aware of the video and will assess its contents."

Mr Cardwell said he had been in the area with his friend Gary Barton as they were picking up some furniture from an auction house that is next to the large Meiklewood Road police compound.

They spotted the distinctive Niesmann and Bischoff vehicle, which can retail for more than £100,000, on the back of a recovery vehicle in the depot and recognised it from media reports as being the one linked to the SNP investigation.

Mr Cardwell told BBC Scotland he shouted across to the driver whether it was the same vehicle, and the driver responded by nodding and confirming that it was.

He started filming as the recovery truck started reversing into a large shed when the officers appeared and told him to stop.

He said he understood that people were unable to film or take photographs at some sensitive facilities for security reasons - but there were nothing at the compound to suggest it was a restricted building.

Mr Cardwell added: "It is totally open, there are no signs stating it's a Police Scotland restricted building - and from where we were, in the public domain on the side of the fence, I felt I was well within my rights to video.

"To my understanding, if you ask a police officer they need to give you their badge number or their name. He flashed it so briefly that I couldn't even make it out.

"He could have been the janitor for that building or compound for all I know."

The motorhome was seized by police on the same day that officers searched the home of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon and arrested her husband Peter Murrell, who was until recently the SNP's chief executive. He was later released without charge pending further investigation.

The Mail on Sunday reported that the vehicle had been sitting outside the Dunfermline home of Mr Murrell's 92-year-old mother since being delivered there in 2021.

The SNP has claimed that it was bought to potentially be used as a "campaign battle bus" ahead of the last Scottish Parliament election but was never used.

Ms Sturgeon's successor, Humza Yousaf, has previously said he was unaware that the party had bought the motorhome until he became party leader last month.

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