Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Roof photo bishop 'hit' by police

Child reading on the roof
The bishop said his sons were wearing harnesses

A bishop who claims he was assaulted by police after photographing his two sons sitting on top of their south London home has threatened legal action.

Bishop Jonathan Blake, 52, pictured the boys, who he said were wearing harnesses, reading books on the roof in Welling as part of a school challenge.

He said he was punched and kicked after his arrest last month, before he was released by the Metropolitan Police.

The force said the allegations would be dealt with appropriately.

'Brutal policing'

The police spokesman also confirmed that the bishop was released after his arrest and that no further action would be taken.

"I was arrested without questioning and without any details being taken and without any ability to stop this waste of police resources," Bishop Blake said.

"This was a gratuitous example of unintelligent and brutal policing."

We are very conscious about safety. At no point were they in danger
Bishop Jonathan Blake

The Open Episcopal Church bishop claims one officer punched him in the back, injuring his shoulder, and kicked him as he was taken downstairs in handcuffs.

The clergyman has written to Metropolitan Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and the IPCC.

He is also considering taking legal action against the police, alleging false imprisonment and personal injury.

His arrest was triggered on 29 January after a member of the public reported a child left unattended on a roof.

The school challenge involved being pictured in the most unusual place reading a book.

Child reading on the roof
The children were challenged to read a book in an unusual place

After spending about 20 minutes photographing Nathan, seven, and Dominic, eight, Bishop Blake said seven police officers arrived at his home and arrested him.

But he insisted his children were completely safe.

"We are very conscious about safety. At no point were they in danger.

"There were lots of people who walked by and they didn't have any concerns because they could see the harnesses."

He added: "We are very hands-on parents. I walk the boys to school three times a week and we leave early so we've got an hour and a half walking and climbing in the park.

"We encourage them to do all the things that the nanny state does not want them to do."

The boys and their younger brother Gabriel, two, were "traumatised" by his arrest, Bishop Blake said.



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