A VIDEO showing YouTuber Auditing Britain being questioned by street rangers in Basingstoke has been met with mixed reaction from members of the community.

The man, who wishes to be known as AB, said he was left feeling “profiled” after he was questioned for documenting empty shops in Basingstoke last week.

He said: “It was quite alarming really. It feels like there’s more and more accredited people that go around and invade people’s privacy and try and infringe on people’s rights.”

But Basingstoke Together, which manages the street rangers, defended their actions.

Chief executive Jane Stewart said that, despite “a number of polite enquiries”, AB “refused to cooperate” with the rangers and that, while filming in a public place is not against UK law, the current severe terrorism threat level in the country means the team have a responsibility to take precautions.

When the Gazette shared the story yesterday, it was met with mixed opinions from readers - with some siding with the rangers, and others thinking AB was within his rights.

Paul Richardson wrote: “That’s their job. If something doesn’t look normal. If there’s nothing to hide, there’s no problem.”

Trevor Hardy added: “If he’d provided ID it could have been sorted in minutes. If they ignored him and he was a bomber there would be uproar.”

Alison Jones agreed, saying: “He only has to explain what he’s doing. The rangers are quite within their responsibility to ask. If I’d seen him, I’d want to know what he was doing too.”

Zappia Riccardo added: “People like him need to know the law is there to protect everyone. He is a smug person and needs to realise he is not above the law.”

However, Adam Diggins replied: “Which law did he break? It is not against the law to film in a public space.”

Robin Scott also disagreed with the rangers’ actions, writing: “I find this truly appalling and if they’d said the same to me I would have phoned the police myself.”

And Andy Silver added: “Absolutely ridiculous. If the shops are empty I don’t see how this is going to affect safety. Overzealous staff that just want to be awkward.”

As confirmed by Basingstoke Together, filming in a public place is not against the law.

Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police - or rangers - have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel.

Rangers do, however, have a number of powers assigned to them by the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS). The powers determined appropriate to the ranger role, as stated on the Basingstoke Together website, are:

  • Power to require giving of name and address
  • Power to deal with begging
  • Power to require name and address for anti-social behaviour
  • Power to require persons aged under 18 to surrender alcohol
  • Power to seize tobacco from a person aged under 16

Also present was a Community Support Patrol Officer (CSPO) who, under Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 can require a person to provide their details.

The act states: "(1) If a constable in uniform has reason to believe that a person has been acting, or is acting, in an anti-social manner, they may require that person to give his name and address to the constable."

"Any person who

(a)fails to give his name and address when required to do so under subsection (1), or

(b)gives a false or inaccurate name or address in response to a requirement under that subsection,

is guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale."