I asked a fellow dog-walker to prevent their dog from snapping at mine. They became very irate but I just walked away from the situation. I may have said "Please keep your dog under control in future" as a parting shot.

I presumed this was the end of it but months later this person spotted me, called the police and told them I had committed hate speech.

I was told by the police that they wouldn't arrest me straight away but I must come to the police station for interview the following day.

In fact the police called me the next day and said the complaint had been withdrawn and there was no evidence of wrong doing. They even apologised.


This whole thing was completely unexpected but if I'd had the presence of mind to record the encounter on my mobile phone it would have proved I hadn't behaved badly.

Am I allowed to video such encounters under English Law?

Would such a video be admissible as evidence?

  • 1
    A lot will depend on where this took place: a park owned by the council, somebody's front garden, or a public street? Nov 21, 2018 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


You are within your rights to video record the encounter and such a recording would be admissible evidence in court.

  • However, it might be hard to prove that the encounter recorded was the one the other party referred to. Hate speech could have been used on some other occasion, in theory. Feb 20, 2019 at 0:23
  • 3
    It seems to me that the phrase "providing you aren't breaking the law by doing so" doesn't really belong in an answer to the question "Am I allowed to video such encounters under English Law?"
    – phoog
    Jun 20, 2019 at 4:20
  • That's a fair point, I have corrected myself to reflect it. :) Jan 11, 2021 at 0:40
  • Yes and even if the camera's timestamp overcame David Siegel's doubt, at what point might you have started recording? In the scenario described, the time to start would prolly have been just after the whole story ended… Dec 1, 2021 at 22:27

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