Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Sunday, 3 January 2010

Police say it was wrong to hold royal-watchers' cameras

The Queen
Crowds gathered to see the Queen and her family when cameras were held

A security officer responsible for the Royal Family said police were wrong to confiscate cameras from members of the public gathered to see them.

People watched the royals go to and from the St Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham, Norfolk, last Sunday when police looked after their effects.

Ch Insp Stuart Offord said the "error" had been made in his absence.

The Queen's lawyers recently warned newspapers against publishing paparazzi photos of members of the Royal Family.

Sandringham Estate signs warn visitors that picture-taking is not allowed, but cameras have not been seized in the past.

Ch Insp Offord said it was the first time this step had been taken.

He said: "It has not been my policy while I have been here.

"It was an error. I was not here when the decision was made, nor was my deputy. The officer concerned decided the provision was a way to look at the new measures on photography."

He added that the matter was "addressed" as soon as he heard about it.

In addition to the warnings issued to newspapers over photographs, editors have been reminded of privacy obligations made under a press code of practice.

Ch Insp Offord said the media had been "extremely helpful and supportive by observing the house's wishes".

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