Christian street preacher wins settlement with police after arrest in Scotland

Jan 14, 2024 - 20:40
Jan 15, 2024 - 14:46
Christian street preacher wins settlement with police after arrest in Scotland

Police Scotland are to pay thousands of pounds in damages to a street preacher who was arrested and detained in Glasgow in 2022. 

Angus Cameron, pastor of Cumnock Baptist Church, was told by the arresting officer that a complaint had been made about "homophobic language," a claim he strenuously denied. 

He was searched on the street in front of members of the public, handcuffed and told he was being arrested for "breach of the peace with homophobic aggregation."

He was then held in the back of a van for over an hour before being released and told that the matter would be dealt with "in due course," said The Christian Institute, which provided legal assistance to him. 

Cameron received a phone call from the arresting officer two days later telling him that he would not be prosecuted but that a 'non-crime hate incident report' had been logged against his name in the police database, despite no crime being committed.

He has now won £5,500 ($7,000) for his unlawful detention by Police Scotland, as well as £9,400 ($12,000) in legal costs, but has decided to donate the amount in full to The Christian Institute. 

The organization said that the logging of a 'non-crime hate incident report' amounted to a "shadow" over Cameron's good name in police records. 

The Institute's Deputy Director for Public Affairs Simon Calvert welcomed the settlement.

"His preaching was not targeting individuals; he did not use offensive language; he was not aggressive; he did not try to cause offense; he simply quoted the Bible. There was no criminality at all," he said. 

He continued, "We were pleased to be able to help Angus bring a legal action and we believe it was because of the strength of his legal claim that the police were forced to reach an out-of-court legal settlement and pay damages and legal costs."

"In addition, we were able to get all reference to this unsubstantiated 'non-crime' deleted from Police Scotland's records."

Police Scotland recently announced it was reviewing its policy on the controversial recording of non-crime hate incidents after figures released in December revealed that more than 3,800 had been recorded in a single year - more than the number of genuine hate crimes. 

Calvert welcomed the review and said that The Christian Institute hoped to contribute "constructively" to it. 

"We can act as a bridge between the police and street preachers in this vexed area," he said.