The Christian Institute

News Release

Wrongfully arrested and handcuffed: Innocent pastor successfully settles claim against police over ‘non-crime hate incident’

A former church pastor in Scotland has won compensation from Police Scotland after being wrongfully arrested whilst street preaching in Glasgow.


Angus Cameron (age 52), who was Pastor of Cumnock Baptist Church in Ayrshire at the time of his arrest, has received a payout from Police Scotland of £5,500 along with £9,400 in legal costs. Mr Cameron has donated all the compensation to The Christian Institute, which supported him throughout his ordeal.

Mr Cameron was preaching in Buchanan Street in the centre of Glasgow in 2022 when officers from Police Scotland approached him and ordered the father of two to stop immediately. Based on one unsubstantiated complaint, the evangelist was handcuffed, publicly searched in the presence of passers-by, then led to a police van where he sat for just over an hour.

Mr Cameron contacted The Christian Institute, a leading charity supporting Christian freedoms in the public square. It obtained disclosure of internal police documentation, which showed the police had no basis to suspect the preacher had committed any offence – necessary for a lawful arrest. The Christian Institute helped Mr Cameron commence legal action for damages for wrongful arrest, discrimination and breach of human rights.

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, said: “Mr Cameron was preaching in the street one afternoon in Glasgow city centre when he was approached by a police officer who said she had been told ‘homophobic language’ had been used, which Angus strenuously denied. The PC refused to provide any further information and refused to talk to other members of the public present who tried to offer testimony that Angus had not used homophobic language.

“The PC announced that he was under arrest for ‘breach of the peace with homophobic aggravation’. He was handcuffed – despite being entirely peaceful and compliant. Angus was searched in the roadway, in full view of passing traffic and pedestrians, before being put in the back of a police van for over an hour. He was finally released to be told the matter would be dealt with ‘in due course’.

 “Angus’s preaching was not targeting individuals; he did not use offensive language; he was not aggressive; he did not try to cause offence; he simply quoted the Bible. There was no criminality at all. The arresting officer mistakenly believed that because someone claimed to be ‘offended’ his preaching was therefore illegal. The arrest was wholly unnecessary and was carried out in a heavy-handed and inappropriate manner. It appeared to Angus that the officer disapproved of his religious beliefs.”

Two days later, Mr Cameron was telephoned by the arresting officer and told he would not be prosecuted for ‘breach of the peace’ after all. However, a record of the unsubstantiated complaint against him, known as a ‘non-crime hate incident report’, would be logged in police records against his name. Using a Data Subject Access Request, his lawyers obtained internal police papers confirming that, although Police Scotland admitted “there has been no criminality”, there was indeed a ‘shadow’ over the preacher’s good name in its records. The unsubstantiated complaint against him was still recorded, and would be linked to ‘hate crime’ accusations and prosecutions as part of Police Scotland’s ‘community intelligence’ gathering.

Mr Calvert said: “The police papers revealed clear errors in the handling and recording of this incident. Despite the police knowing full well that the complaint against him did not amount to a criminal offence, this innocent pastor was informed his good name was to be associated with ‘hatred’ and potential criminality in police records. 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 compensation and legal costs. In addition, we were able to get all reference to this unsubstantiated ‘non-crime‘ deleted from Police Scotland’s records. We thank God for this outcome.”

This is the latest successful case handled by The Christian Institute, which has run a Legal Defence Fund for protecting religious liberty since 2006. Under God, in addition to many successful out-of-court settlements, it has secured two UK Supreme Court wins, including the well-known Ashers Baking Co. case. The Institute has won every one of its street preacher cases.

The Christian Institute is approaching Police Scotland about how to better respond to vexatious complaints against innocent street preachers. It is also developing a “Street Preachers’ Charter” in an attempt to set out an agreed understanding between police and preachers over freedom of speech, and to encourage ‘best practice’ on both sides.

Simon Calvert added: “Over many years, our in-house lawyer, Sam Webster, has provided advice and training to street preachers, working alongside respected organisations such as the Open Air Mission. Through the Street Preachers’ Charter, we hope to appeal to those whom God has called to this public ministry, and to work with them to ensure they preach knowing their legal rights, and to help them as they witness on behalf of local churches.

 “If we can establish a solid and professional charter from the side of the evangelists, this will benefit our discussions with police and local authorities as we try to help them improve religious literacy and the quality of their training for staff in how to engage with street preachers.”

Street evangelists wishing to receive more information on the CI’s planned Charter, as well as invitations to free training events, should email

● To see video footage of Mr Cameron’s arrest, and his subsequent telephone discussion with the arresting officer, go to:


Picture Note:

Quality JPEG images of Mr Cameron being arrested can be accessed via

Editor’s Notes:

Police Scotland’s payout to Angus Cameron is thought to be the highest-ever rate of compensation per hour for wrongful arrest under public order laws over a ‘hate crime’ incident.

See below for comparable damages awarded to Christian street preachers unlawfully detained for manifesting their faith legally in the public square:

2023  Angus Cameron £5,500 plus costs for approx. 70 mins = £78.57 per minute (£4,714.28ph)

2010  Anthony Rollins £4,250 plus costs for just over 180 mins = £23.61 per minute (£1,416.66ph)

2010  Dale Mcalpine £7,000 plus costs for almost 480 mins = £14.58 per minute (£875ph)

2014  John Craven £13,000 for over 1140 mins (19 hours) = £11.40 per minute (£684.21ph)

2019  Dale Mcalpine £4,000 plus costs for 360 mins = £11.11 per minute (£666.66ph)

NB  Full details of the above cases are available from The Christian Institute.